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How could one combine succinctly two verbs with the same two objects with different prepositions? For example, if I can either add gifts to a box and remove gifts from the box, what would be the most natural way of saying that I can do both?

If I would only talk about the gifts, I could say "I can add and remove gifts;" if I would only talk about the box, I could say "I can add to and remove from the box." Now, how can I say both things at once?

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    Conjunction Reduction deletes repeated material, so it will get you as far as I can both add gifts to the box and remove them (from it). The second preposition phrase is optional because it contains no information not already provided by remove. But there's no verb that means both give and receive, unless you simply want to use transfer, and then you'd have to use the preposition phrase. – John Lawler Jan 24 '14 at 20:23
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"I can add gifts to the box and remove them." That you'd be removing them from the box is implicitly clear. (Nobody prevents you from clarifying by appending a "from there", of course, but you are specifically asking for succinctness.)

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  • To me, that sentence needs the additional two words "from it" (or "from there"). It doesn't matter that they have no additional semantic content; the sentence isn't complete without them. – Peter Shor Jan 24 '14 at 21:34

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