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Parallelism in Infinitives eg.to cook, to serve, and to buy.

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Parallelism in Infinitives eg.to cook, to serve, and to buy. [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2010, 01:42
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Question Stats:

54% (00:57) correct 46% (00:59) wrong based on 114 sessions

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Here is a question:
In Xena College, a rule has been passed that permits students to cook and serve their food, as well as to buy it.

A. Same
B. permits students to cook, serve, and to buy their food.
C. permits students to cook, to serve, and buy food.
D. will permit the student to cook, serve, as well as to buy food.
E. will permit food to be cooked, served, as well as bought by students.

My understanding is-
B is wrong because it should have been "to serve" as followed by to cook and comma.
C is wrong because it should have been "to buy food" as followed by "...to serve,(comma) and ..."
D is wordy and awkward- "will permit..." and it should have been "to serve".....
E is wordy and awkward- "will permit..." and passive "by students".
A is the best option as it starts with subject-verb agreement: "permits", also infinitives are parallel-
to cook (no comma) and serve their food, .....to buy...

Since, there is no comma after the to cook and followed by and it doesn't require "to" serve and is parallel.

I want to confirm whether my understanding is correct.

Also, one another doubt I have is-
But two infinitives + noun is NOT okay
Ex: He liked to sail, to swim and girls.
I feel this is correct but not sure why is it wrong. Please clarify.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Parallelism in Infinitives eg.to cook, to serve, and to buy. [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2010, 03:31
B. permits students to cook, serve, and to buy their food.
It breaks the parallelism. Whenever we are dealing with infinitives in parallelism, it has to be
To X, Y and Z or To X, To Y, and To Z.
Only these 2 forms are acceptable. B option is like
To X, B, and To Y.

C. permits students to cook, to serve, and buy food.
Here the reasoning goes like
To X, To Y, and Z. Incorrect.

D. will permit the student to cook, serve, as well as to buy food.
This option is dicey. First there is no need to use Future tense here because the rule is effective from present. Moreover, using a singular" Student" instead of "Students" interferes with the meaning.
One more flaw in the option is omission of "and".
The last part "as well as" is an additional information. In this case there must be "and" between cook, and serve.

E. will permit food to be cooked, served, as well as bought by students.
This option is needlessly passive. Moreover, the "and" problem is still applicable in this option.
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Re: Parallelism in Infinitives eg.to cook, to serve, and to buy. [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2010, 04:02
praveenism wrote:
B. permits students to cook, serve, and to buy their food.
It breaks the parallelism. Whenever we are dealing with infinitives in parallelism, it has to be
To X, Y and Z or To X, To Y, and To Z.
Only these 2 forms are acceptable. B option is like
To X, B, and To Y.

C. permits students to cook, to serve, and buy food.
Here the reasoning goes like
To X, To Y, and Z. Incorrect.

D. will permit the student to cook, serve, as well as to buy food.
This option is dicey. First there is no need to use Future tense here because the rule is effective from present. Moreover, using a singular" Student" instead of "Students" interferes with the meaning.
One more flaw in the option is omission of "and".
The last part "as well as" is an additional information. In this case there must be "and" between cook, and serve.

E. will permit food to be cooked, served, as well as bought by students.
This option is needlessly passive. Moreover, the "and" problem is still applicable in this option.


Could you please explain A as well.

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Re: Parallelism in Infinitives eg.to cook, to serve, and to buy. [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2010, 10:34
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The first thing to remember when we are dealing with series parallelism is to determine how many arms are there in the series. In this issue, it is erroneous to think that there are three arms: 1. to cook, 2.to serve and 3.to buy. There are only two arms in this i.e. 1. to cook and serve and 2. to buy. I repeat -cook and serve - is one unit and -to serve - is part of -to cook.

Since cook and serve is one unit, you need to join them with the conjunction –and – which is what A does rightly. A comma after -to cook and before and – is not critical to the issue

You will see none of the choices other than A uses -and - after serve. That is the reason they are all wrong.

Let us go a little deeper into these choices. Let us convert B as - to cook, to serve and to buy their food. This may be grammatically correct but not logically as the original text considers - to cook and to serve - as one unit.
Let us change C as - to cook, to serve, and to buy food. This also suffers the same logical flaw of altered intent.

D. Let us change D as -to cook, to serve, as well as to buy food. This is grammatically incorrect since -as well as - is usable only when two choices are considered. When you consider - to serve - as another arm of the series, then the arms become three.

E is of course not worth discussing.


A real three- arm infinitive parallelism will be as follows: In Xena College, a rule has been passed that permits students to bring food from outside, to cook in their rooms and to buy from the college canteen.

Is it of some help?
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Re: Parallelism in Infinitives eg.to cook, to serve, and to buy. [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2015, 18:52
Request you not to write your queries/answers/opinions in question window. It prevents ppl from analysing the question. The whole purpose of GMAT Club forum goes wasted by doing so.

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Re: Parallelism in Infinitives eg.to cook, to serve, and to buy. [#permalink]

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New post 03 Sep 2017, 06:15
daagh wrote:

Since cook and serve is one unit, you need to join them with the conjunction –and – which is what A does rightly.



Daagh, can you please clarify WHY we should be so certain that cook and serve should be considered as one unit? I mean, just because option A does so, it doesn't mean it's right. I think it makes sense to say "cook, serve and buy food" - no reason to be convinced that the first to elements must be grouped.

I think your explanation is an afterthought that only makes sense because we know the answer - it wouldn't hold up in a live situation on the exam.

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Re: Parallelism in Infinitives eg.to cook, to serve, and to buy.   [#permalink] 03 Sep 2017, 06:15
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