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I want to know how I should use "Either/Or" when the clauses are of different grammatical forms. For example, in:

The click is either followed by no further clicks for 30 seconds or the last click in the session.

As I know, in a simple sentence, we must use it as follows:

"I eat either apple or banana."

But here the two clauses are grammatically different. One is "followed by no further clicks for 30 seconds" and one is "the last click in the session". In the former "is" is combined with "followed" to form a passive verb, and in the latter, "is" is the verb per se. Is this sentence correct? How should I correct it?

  • It would be better to insert it is after or, and drop the word either. – Lawrence Apr 30 '16 at 11:49
  • Grouping the clauses helps readability: "...the click is followed, either by no further clicks for 30 seconds , or by the last click in the session. – Kris Apr 30 '16 at 12:14
  • Judging from the first two comments, this sentence is currently ambiguous, and clearly needs to be changed. – Peter Shor Apr 30 '16 at 14:21
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If I said:

*John Doe is trying to assassinate the president and the most wanted man in America.

people probably wouldn't read it as a combination of the sentences

John Doe is trying to assassinate the president.

and

John Doe is the most wanted man in America.

This is why, if you are trying to combine two sentences where a form of to be or to have is used as a main verb in one of them, and an auxiliary verb in the other, you need to repeat the verb:

John Doe is trying to assassinate the president and is the most wanted man in America.

The click either is followed by no further clicks for 30 seconds or is the last click in the session.

You need to move either before is in the last sentence to make it precede both verbs. If it's in the middle of one verb and before the other, that's unacceptable parallel structure, even though it would still be understood.

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