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I came across a sentence: Rural hospitals across the US face financial losses and, as a result, have struggled to stay open.

My inclination is that this sentence is not quite correct because of the lack of parallelism between "face" and "have struggled". But does the phrase "as a result" somehow make the change of tense acceptable?

Thanks!

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    Good spot. Adding 'padding' often makes iffy sentences sound more acceptable. This happens here, but I'd still prefer 'Rural hospitals across the US face / are facing financial losses and, as a result, will struggle / are struggling to stay open.' Mar 1, 2021 at 15:30
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    As @EdwinAshworth shows by example, the problem is the logical sequence more than parallelism. If struggling to stay open is a result, it comes second. Maybe they faced losses and then they have struggled. Mar 1, 2021 at 15:33
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    Rural hospitals across the US have struggled to stay open in the face of financial losses. Face can certainly be used as a bare infinitive like in the original, but the transition from infinitive to finite is hopelessly clunky. And we have this lovely idiom that can point out a systemic problem.
    – Phil Sweet
    Mar 31, 2021 at 19:42
  • IMO, the as a result creates the clunky coordination.
    – Phil Sweet
    Mar 31, 2021 at 19:47
  • @PhilSweet Double tick. :)
    – Lambie
    Mar 31, 2021 at 19:54

1 Answer 1

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Parallelism or a lack of it is often a matter of style rather than grammar. In particular, coordination of verb phrases whose tenses are different is not rare in published literature. Your sentence

[1] Rural hospitals across the US face financial losses and have struggled to stay open.

would generally be judged as acceptable by native speakers.

So would be

[2] Rural hospitals across the US have struggled to stay open and face financial losses.

Whether [1] and/or [2] are lacking in stylistic merit is a separate question. To my ear, they are actually fine. But that is a matter of personal opinion and taste, not English grammar.

Here are some examples from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA)

The Predators don't have terrific center depth and have struggled scoring this season.

The 4,000 strong regional protection force adds to the more than 12,000 peacekeepers who are already in South Sudan and have struggled to protect civilians.

Several of the middle schools there are less than 60 percent full and have struggled to meet state standards.

And here are some related examples from the British National Corpus (BNC)

Most of the twenty or so men and women in the Cabinet are well known to one another and have worked together over some years.

I am pleased to accept the appointment and have taken note of the terms laid down in your letter.

Many LEAs deliberately try to avoid invoking the formal legal procedures unless absolutely necessary and have developed procedures which enable individual truancy cases to be examined 'in the round'.

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  • @EdwinAshworth Here I used the term acceptability in the way linguists use it: An acceptable utterance is one that has been, or might be, produced by a native speaker in some appropriate context and is, or would be, accepted by other native speakers as belonging to the language in question. See here. Nov 29, 2021 at 0:17
  • @EdwinAshworth I have changed acceptability to linguistic acceptability. I hope this will make it clearer what sense of acceptability I have in mind. Nov 29, 2021 at 0:20
  • @EdwinAshworth Since I happen to believe that the distinction between grammatically and acceptability-in-the-sense-used-by-linguists is too subtle to matter for this answer, I have removed all mention of acceptability. But the distinction between these two terms—if any—is detectable only under rather extreme (linguistic) conditions. This article discusses the present understanding in detail. (And I'm not convinced that this article's main claimed example of an acceptable but ungrammatical sentence truly is acceptable.) Nov 29, 2021 at 16:11
  • The only point worth discussing here is that parallelism is a matter of style, not grammar.
    – Lambie
    Nov 29, 2021 at 16:25

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