Well, I have been struggling with this for a while now. My friend wrote a piece of documentation for his software, in which he included this sentence:

This repository contains [software name] API documentation. If you need help or having trouble please contact us at [...].

According to me, the second sentence is not correct grammatically. I said that he should change it to "If you need help or you are having trouble [...]", but he keeps arguing with me about it and clearly does not want to change it.

Hence my question - which form is correct (or are both of them correct, or even none of them are correct)?

2 Answers 2


I think the correct form is:

If you need help or are having trouble...

Think of it this way. Break the two things into separate sentences:

If you need help...
If you are having trouble...

The part that stays the same is "If you", so that goes at the beginning. Then the two options following it ("need help" and "are having trouble") just need to be separated by "or". (I'm sure there are official sentence structure terms for this, but I've never been good with labels.)

  • 2
    I think the relevant label is parallel structure. Within which you can "delete" repeat occurrences of words (such as you in this case), but you can't delete the word are because it's not present in the preceding "parallel" clause. Jun 27, 2018 at 14:38
  • You omitted pronoun "you", can't it be informal?
    – Ahmed
    Jun 27, 2018 at 14:40
  • Such "deletion" doesn't really have anything to do with formal/informal registers. It's just a natural feature of English. Jun 27, 2018 at 14:41
  • @Iqbal Ahmed Siyal 'Informal' is not sufficiently pejorative here. You'd lose a mark in a Junior School in Great Britain. Jun 27, 2018 at 14:42
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    @EdwinAshworth: Dunno about "not sufficiently pejorative". To my mind it's totally irrelevant. Omitting the second you is just normal English, but omitting are isn't even "informal" - it's just "badly-educated" (and almost certainly from a non-native speaker; it's just not the sort of thing native sactually say, no matter how poor their language skills). Jun 27, 2018 at 14:45

Why not use "if you need help or have trouble"? The structure is parallel in that way

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