Consider the following two sentences which use Parallelism:

(A) "He manages to get in and arranges the books"

(B) "He manages to get in and arrange the books"

I feel both are correct and the Parallelism may be as follows:

(A1) "He manages to get in" & (A2) "He arranges the books"

(B1) "He manages to get in" & (B2) "He manages to arrange the books"

(1) Are both sentences grammatically "correct" ?

(2) If yes, then how to indicate what is the common part ? In (A), only "He" is common in (A1) & (A2), whereas in (B), "He manages to" is common in (B1) and (B2). Are there ways to punctuate the sentences to show the common part ? I ask this because, in some cases, there may be many ways to parse sentences and get Different Parallelism Structures, probably with Different Meanings.

  • 1
    The answer to the first question is yes, and your rewrites are correct. The other part of the total question is too broad. Ambiguities are fairly common in English, and need to be rephrased where context etc fails to disambiguate. Punctuation is, in some cases, used to disambiguate. Feb 6 '17 at 19:19
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    Punctuation is available only in that secondary channel called written language. But in primary (ie spoken) language we have many prosodic devices.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 6 '17 at 22:06
  • @EdwinAshworth , I think your comment is the answer here.
    – Prem
    Feb 7 '17 at 3:40
  • @ColinFine , yes, while spoken, there will be tone, pause, etc, which may be the "Indicators".
    – Prem
    Feb 7 '17 at 8:12
  • But my comment includes 'too broad'. Close-voting may well be more appropriate. Feb 7 '17 at 10:16

Your own distinction between arrange and arranges shows the reader where the sentence forks. So manages and arranges forms one parallel. Get in and arrange form another parallel. That single letter 's' at the end of arrange/arranges is the signal.

  • Yes, the "s" is the signal here, but in other cases, there may be many possible ways to fork the sentence ; that is where I am looking for "Indicators". I think @Edwin is correct : "...Ambiguities are fairly common in English, and need to be rephrased where context etc fails to disambiguate..."
    – Prem
    Feb 7 '17 at 3:34

He manages to get in and arranges the books implies that whereas he had some difficulty getting in, arranging the books was not difficult or was a separate event. He manages to get in and to arrange the books implies that both actions are part of the same process.

  • Yes, there are Differences in meanings. In many cases where it is possible to fork in multiple ways, some "Indicators" may be required to avoid ambiguities.
    – Prem
    Feb 7 '17 at 3:35

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