Parallel verbs



Which of these sentences is correct:

(a) They began to write and to read

(b) They began to write and read

I wonder if sentence (b) is right.  If not, why not?  Is there another way of saying sentence (a)?



Both sentence (a) and sentence (b) are correct. You probably hear more sentences like sentence (b) than sentence (a). Sentence (b) is very frequent in conversation.

When two verbs with the same subject are connected by and, we say that the verbs are parallel. It is not necessary to repeat the infinitive marker to with these parallel verbs.

It's also not necessary to repeat an auxiliary when the subject of both verbs is the same, and the verbs are connected by and. These sentences are parallel, too:


Barbara is driving her car and (is) talking on her cell phone at the same time.


We'll go to Colorado and (will) visit my parents.

(e) I'm planning to go to the mall and (to) find some new jeans.

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