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I read the following sentence from the NYT and am having trouble understanding parallelism applied here:

Mr. Zuckerberg is for free trade, more open immigration and for a certain controversial brand of education reform.

Why does only "more open immigration" go without "for" and how does it work grammatically?

Please help. Thank you in advance!

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    I think that possibly the last "for" should be omitted, or the middle one should have a "for" added. The former would be better I think. I would say that this is a matter of writing style rather than grammar. – Max Williams May 13 '16 at 7:56
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    If this is speech, it may simply be reflecting thought processes (and ignoring well thought-out attempts at felicitous parallelism). It could, however, be an attempt to give more prominence to the last policy by introducing it with an unexpected, and slightly jarring, moderate incongruity. As Max says, it would be over-prescriptive to label this 'ungrammatical'. – Edwin Ashworth May 13 '16 at 8:53
  • @MaxWilliams Thank you for the replies. I agree. It would be more of style matter. – Luxembourg May 13 '16 at 14:48
  • @EdwinAshworth Thank you! Yes, I guess the writer tried to add some flavor to it. – Luxembourg May 13 '16 at 14:48
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Apart from the initial one, the prepositions in parallel structures are optional in English. In some languages I think they are mandatory (I think they are mandatory in French), but in English they are optional.

This is grammatically correct English:

  1. Mr. Zuckerberg is for free trade, more open immigration and a certain controversial brand of education reform.

"For a, b, and c" is understood to simply mean "for a, for b, and for c." We could also write it like this:

  1. Mr. Zuckerberg is for free trade, for more open immigration and for a certain controversial brand of education reform.

Either way is fine, grammatically speaking. How you write it is up to you. It's just a matter of style.

I would say that #1 is lighter in tone than #2 is, which is good, but it's lacking in clarity because the grammatical structure is less clear.

It looks like the author added back one of the for's to add back some clarity.

  • Thank you for the explanation! "It looks like the author added back one of the for's to add back some clarity," this makes sense! – Luxembourg May 13 '16 at 14:50

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