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I saw on the bottom of an email:

To change your email preferences or unsubscribe from certain messages, click here.

Is that correct or should it be:

To change your email preferences or to unsubscribe from certain messages, click here.

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3 Answers 3

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Either is grammatically correct: eliding the to would be called ellipsis, and it is normal in English. The second to is redundant when considering the previously supplied grammatical context. Consider the following ellipsis:

Original: To change your preferences or to change your subscription list, click here.

Ellipsis: To change your preferences or your subscription list, click here.

Here, the second to change is redundant, and can grammatically be removed. You could also omit the second your:

Ellipsis: To change your preferences or subscription list, click here.

While either will (almost always) be acceptable, ellipsis is generally preferred because of efficiency.

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  • Thanks! Is one preferred over the other? Is one more formal or used more often in different regions? or are they both always acceptable?
    – Adam
    Dec 16, 2011 at 1:27
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    Neither will be condemned (unless the world happens to be much worse than I'd noticed), but ellipsis is usually better, unless you are trying to be very clear. It's not a predominantly formal phenomenon, nor is it predominantly informal. Also, as far as I know, there isn't much consistent dialectical difference as to ellipsis.
    – Daniel
    Dec 16, 2011 at 1:33
  • You can even cut one more word in most contexts. You can say, "To do this or that". Dec 16, 2011 at 3:25
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    Ellipsis is really only frowned upon in cases where it could create ambiguity, IMHO. Dec 16, 2011 at 9:54
  • @Karl: 'is'or should be'? Jan 10, 2012 at 13:59
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Disambiguation. Please repeat the to; after all saving two alphabets does not count for efficiency.

Let the user not be taxed with a grammatical ellipsis. (I had a mind to say 'Let not the user...'), but why not make it simpler.

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I guess it should be "to do this or to do that". This goes more with the flow and sounds proper.

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