Consider the following two phrases:
It's better to be <X> than <Y>. Why be <X> when you can be <Y>?
I recently got in an argument with a friend about if (and why) there shouldn't be a "to" before the first "be" in the second one; it strikes me as odd and unsound to place a "to" in that position, but I'm unable to pinpoint the specific reason why it shouldn't be used.
- Is it correct to not use "to be" in the second phrase?
- How are these two phrases broken down and classified, and what are the grammatical rules governing them?
N.B. We are both non-native English speakers, and in our language (Italian) both phrases would use the same infinitive verb ("essere"), although they are logically different; hence the doubts about the proper English equivalent.