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I wrote the following sentences:

Eyed closed, he imagined the moment disintegrating, returning to the stars, and continue existing there for eternity.

Eyed closed, he imagined the moment disintegrating, and returning to the stars to continue existing there for eternity.

Now, I'm not sure if I should say continue existing there or continuing existing there.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted
  1. You've mistyped "eyes" :)

  2. In the first sentence, "continuing" is correct (for parallelism with "disintegrating" and "returning"), but you cannot write "continuing existing"; you need an infinitive to describe the action that is "continuing".

  3. In the second sentence, "to continue existing" is fine; we no longer want or need parallelism, since "to continue" is no longer part of the list. However, our list now has only two items, so a comma before "and" makes no sense. Instead, we should put a comma after the list, to finish the "he imagined " clause.

Thus:

Eyes closed, he imagined the moment disintegrating, returning to the stars, and continuing to exist there for eternity.

and:

Eyes closed, he imagined the moment disintegrating and returning to the stars, to continue existing there for eternity.

Choosing between these is a matter of preference. The first way makes "continuing to exist" simply another thing that "the moment" does. The second way makes "to continue existing" the logical consequence of "the moment disintegrating and returning to the stars".

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Damn, how come I made "eyes" past tense. –  janoChen Apr 12 '12 at 2:20
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