Should you duplicate prepositions when using conjunctions?

Example sentence:

  • I swam across the river to exercise and to relax.

Grammatically, I believe it makes equal sense as the following sentence:

  • I swam across the river to exercise and relax.

However, is it preferable to remove the preposition after the first?

And is there a style guide rule someone can provide that mentions this scenario?

  • 1
    Were there two purposes, or a single combined purpose?
    – Peter
    Oct 26, 2022 at 4:58
  • Hello, p-c. The to's used here are not prepositions, but infinitive markers. Oct 26, 2022 at 14:30
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Enumerating with Prepositions: ''To'' Oct 26, 2022 at 14:32
  • More precisely, they are subordinators functioning as markers.
    – BillJ
    Oct 26, 2022 at 15:51
  • And they're entirely at the speaker's (or writer's) discretion. Sometimes you just want an extra syllable. Or not. Oct 26, 2022 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


We use multiple infinitives [to + verb] to state a series of activities.

If exercise and relax happen simultaneously with swimming, you better remove the second to.

However, if your swimming in the lake is your exercise [or maybe not] and your relaxing are different activities, then it's better to use multiple infinitives.

"I swam across the river to exercise and to relax."

Here is a reference on how to use infinitives. Take notice of one example in the linked article:

“Today, I plan to run three miles, to clean my room, and to update my budget.”

  • 2
    +1 , Check "to meet & greet" & "to have & to hold" Etc
    – Prem
    Oct 26, 2022 at 5:45
  • What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. [Leisure; William Henry Davies] (obviously simultaneous, so no second 'and'). // 'To be, or not to be.' (alternatives; can't both occur simultaneously). Oct 26, 2022 at 14:37

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