Do I need to make sure the gerunds match in the following sentence:

There is not much attention paid to really examining what constitutes this notion, much less scrutinizing the received criteria for it.

  • The sentence is clunky...my opinion. Commented May 22, 2023 at 17:44
  • By "match", do you mean have the same number? Why do you think they might have to "match"? Commented May 22, 2023 at 18:16
  • 2
    If you mean by "match" the inclusion of "to" before "scrutinizing", then I agree with you.
    – Shoe
    Commented May 22, 2023 at 18:23
  • @Cascabel_StandWithUkraine_ Yeah I have this issue a lot, especially when I'm trying to write transition sentences/paragraphs.
    – daci
    Commented May 22, 2023 at 18:37
  • @Shoe I wasn't sure if I should write "scrutinize," "to scrutinize," "to scrutinizing," or "scrutinizing" after "much less." Also not sure whether what follows "much less" always agrees with the rest of the sentence, based on these examples I found online: (i) I'm not used to having a phone in the house, much less carrying a cell phone. (ii) Dean only had a brief glance at the rider, not enough to even tell if the helmeted figure was a man or a woman, much less recognize the person. (iii) It wasn't her intent to solicit sympathy from anyone, much less her paying guests.
    – daci
    Commented May 22, 2023 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


It would not be inappropriate to delete the second preposition 'to' with a second ing-clause with the same object:

  • There has not been much attention paid to reading, much less [Ø] really getting to understand, the document.

But with different objects, omitting the second 'to' sounds at best unnatural:

  • ?/?? There has not been much attention paid to reading the document, much less really getting to understand the complex recommendations it makes.

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