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Which one is correct?

  1. The test is established in order to promote the development of Business English major and to strengthen the competitiveness of Business English graduates in the job market.

  2. The test is established in order to promote the development of Business English major and strengthen the competitiveness of Business English graduates in the job market.

Should I plus to in front of the strengthen or not? And why? Thanks!

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Consider:

  • I went to town in order to buy a new laptop and visit the Picasso exhibition.

the two verbs are in close proximity so repeating to is unnecessary. Now:

  • I went to town in order to buy a new laptop for my daughter who will be starting college in a few weeks and visit the Picasso exhibition.

Here the two verbs are much further apart, in which case it is preferable to repeat the word to to avoid any possibility of momentary ambiguity. Repeating to signals to the reader that the first verb phrase is over and a second one is starting.

In the next sentence the two verbs are not very far apart but the first verb phrase is a coordinate with and:

  • I went to town in order to buy a new laptop and a pack of DVDs and visit the Picasso exhibition.

In this case, too, it is preferable to repeat to in order to signal the start of the second verb phrase.

As to the OP's second sentence, the verbs are neither very far apart, nor is the first verb phrase coordinated, so there is little likelihood of ambiguity. But repeating to serves, in my opinion, to slightly emphasise that there are two purposes and to differentiate them (which is what I just did!)

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It makes sense. BTW, what does OP in 'as to the OP's second sentence' stand for? –  LouA Mar 24 '12 at 8:27
    
@LouA, OP means original poster (in this case, you) or original post. –  Shoe Mar 24 '12 at 8:37
    
Thanks very much –  LouA Mar 24 '12 at 8:44
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I'm not sure if the second one is actually WRONG, but the first one certainly sounds better to me.

It's because "strengthen" is in the infinitive mood, and verbs in the infinitive mood generally have a "to" nearby. It's not always wrong to split an infinitive, but the "to" in the second sentence is a bit too far away from "strengthen" to sound right.

Note that my dialect of English is not the most common one, so "sounds better to David" isn't necessarily the same as "is more grammatical".

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A word that serves the same role in two or more clauses often can be left out of the second one. Either way is fine. For me personally, the first one flows better. But there's nothing wrong with the second one.

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