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    #1

    do verbs need to match

    A question about a sentence that had grammar edit to one sentence in a book we are working on.

    People are too busy building a new bar than to drink at the one they have.

    I felt the correction detracted from the emphasis placed on the irony of the sentence. I wanted to change it to put the emphasis back in, but my wife and I couldn't agree on the modified versions.

    The two sentences below are the sentences in question. Because build is a gerund, does drink need to be a gerund to?

    People are too busy building a new bar rather than drink at the one they have.

    People are too busy building a new bar rather than drinking at the one they have.

    Do all the verbs in a sentence need to match the same style. Like building is present continuous. therefor the next verb must be present continuous?

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: do verbs need to match

    Your original sentence could have left the "than" and dropped the "to".
    Your two alternatives are good.

    Not all the verbs in a sentence have to match.

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    #3

    Re: do verbs need to match

    You should listen to your wife.

    The first sentence is better as corrected: People are too busy building a new bar to drink at the one they have.

    Your next one should be: (Some) People would rather build a new bar than drink at the one they have.

    OR perhaps: Some people would build a new bar rather than drink at the one they have.

    Number three could be: People are busy building a new bar rather than drinking at the one they have.

    I have kept your 'to drink', 'than drink', 'than drinking' pairs intact.


    Mike- Surely you don't mean this: People are too busy building a new bar than drink at the one they have?

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: do verbs need to match

    No, That is not a great sentence.

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    #5

    Re: do verbs need to match

    It would actually be the grammarian's recommendation I would be listening to. As someone who learned to write according to his feeling, I have a lot of bad habits to break. Last night, the first example felt strange, but it feels normal this evening for some reason. Perhaps, I am too stubborn to think clearly at times.

    I see you deliberately kept the verbs pairs intact. Is doing so considered better or safer practice when writing?

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    #6

    Re: do verbs need to match

    "I see you deliberately kept the verbs pairs intact. Is doing so considered better or safer practice when writing?"

    That's not the point I was trying to make. I just wanted to use as much as possible what you had written and be consistent- correct the grammar by making the smallest changes.

    Depending on the broader context, I suspect none of your examples are quite ideal- even as corrected- because they seem to deal with only a single occurrence. If this is some kind of trend you have noticed, it would be better to say, "People are too busy building new bars to drink at the ones they have."

    Even that is problematic. 'Building new' generally means to build a new building (for whatever purpose). Most bars are in established areas and older buildings, so building new isn't necessarily descriptive or a good business plan. A more general statement like, "People are too busy opening new bars to drink at the ones they have." makes me happiest, but I'm guessing at the situation.

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