2

Consider a sentence such as the following:

The new software was designed to increase programmer productivity as well as reducing the company's total invested cost.

Note the two separate tenses: to increase and reducing.

Is this a correct form? Is this more correct?

The new software was designed to increase programmer productivity as well as to reduce the company's total invested cost

Neither sounds optimal to me.

  • 4
    ‘As well as’ is basically unnecessary here—there’s nothing wrong with the much simpler and unproblematic, “The new software was designed to increase programmer productivity and reduce the company’s total invested cost”. If you must use ‘as well as’, though, I would prefer the second option, with or without the second ‘to’. The first one, with the gerund, makes it seem (to me) like ‘reducing’ ought to be parallel with ‘was designed’ rather than ‘increase’, which doesn’t make sense. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 23 '13 at 8:39
  • @ Janus Baths Jacquet : Your comment should be an answer actually... – Sweet72 Sep 23 '13 at 14:05
  • 1
    (1) to increase and reducing are *not tenses. They are untensed complement verb phrases. One is an infinitive and the other is a gerund. (2) if you use as well as, you should put a comma before it, because it's set off by intonation. (3) as well as softens the requirements for parallelism required by conjunction reduction with and, so either the infinitive or the gerund will work in the second clause; with and you'd need another infinitive. – John Lawler Sep 23 '13 at 16:38
1

I agree with Janus' and John's comments on this. It would be simple and clean to omit "as well as" and use "and", though some small shade of meaning/intention might be altered by this change. The phrase "as well as" implies that the second listed item was the primary intention, and the first item was an added bonus or additional benefit of the action. I would choose to keep the "as well as" phrase and omit the second word "to" in the sentence. "...to increase programmer productivity, as well as reduce the company's total invested cost." If the verbs phrases agree, the sentence has a much more polished air, even if the first sentence is not technically incorrect. Use of double infinitives here is probably not strictly required, but in this sentence confusion can be avoided by keeping the phrases in agreement. I remember being corrected for a similar lack of verb phrase agreement on an exam many years ago by a grammar teacher at the college level.

| improve this answer | |
0

"designed to increase programmer productivity as well as reducing ...": "reducing" should be "to reduce"; the two items here require the same form as they both follow from "designed to".

"As well as" is used with closely related items plus an additional item that requires different phrasing, eg, "He wanted to look smart and successful, as well as get Jenny's attention."

This is technically wrong: "He wanted to look smart, successful, and get Jenny's attention" (although you may see it used informally).

"The new software was designed to increase programmer productivity and reduce the company's total invested cost" is best, although I believe you could quite correctly say

"The new software was designed to increase programmer productivity, as well as to reduce the company's total invested cost..."

Here you are giving more emphasis to the first item: increasing productivity is the priority, but reducing cost is also a goal.

| improve this answer | |
0

This is a matter of whether one regards "as well as" as a prepositional phrase or a conjunction. If it's a prepositional phrase, it takes the gerund:

The new software was designed to increase programmer productivity as well as reducing the company's total invested cost.

If it's a conjunction, it takes the infinitive:

The new software was designed to increase programmer productivity as well as to reduce the company's total invested cost.

or the bare infinitive:

The new software was designed to increase programmer productivity as well as reduce the company's total invested cost.

It seems fairly clear that, in this example, "as well as" is a conjunction. Replacing "as well as" with "and" leads to a grammatically parallel sentence:

The new software was designed to increase programmer productivity and reduce the company's total invested cost.

Longer explanation here: http://thelanguagelady.blogspot.com/2008/05/being-and-not-being-gerund.html

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.