Data points: non-parallelism 3/19/11

From a news bulletin on NPR yesterday, a report on crowds gathering in Sana, Yemen

for Friday prayers and to continue to press their demands

This has a coordination of  unlike syntactic categories, a PP in for (for Friday prayers) and an infinitival VP (to continue to press their demands), so would count as a failure of parallelism according to most of the handbooks. But both conjuncts are functioning as purpose adverbials — for Friday prayers is a brief alternative to something like to say Friday prayers — and this parallelism in function and content frequently trumps the non-parallelism in form.

The coordination of purposive PP in for with purposive VPinf — in either order, though the PP-first order seems to be more frequent, presumably because the PP is usually shorter and lighter than the VPinf — is in fact so common (even outside of informal writing and speech) that it should simply be judged to be standard.

I took up this case briefly in one section of my 2006 “Coordination of unlikes” posting on Language Log, giving four examples:

VPinf + PP: These [recommendations] include the proposals to enlist the help of Iraq’s neighbors and for bolder peacemaking in Palestine. (leader in the Economist, 12/9/06, p. 11)

PP + VPinf: … fighting for prisoners’ rights and to change the system. (Mary Ambrose, announcing her “Your Call” radio program on KALW, 6/7/06)

PP + VPinf: Her only visits to the hospital had been for a variety of broken bones and to deliver her two children. (“Diagnosis” column in the NYT Magazine, 4/25/05, p. 36)

PP + VPinf: … designed for closeness, comfort, and to clean itself automatically (Remington shaver commercial, heard 21/21/04) [this one also has Multiple-Level Coordination in it]

Here are two more from my files:

VPinf + PP: … edited to fit the screen and for content [announcement before movies]

PP + VPinf: I don’t see beauty in [cereal boxes with text in multiple languages]. I see cereal boxes with less room for games and color cartoons and to keep the kids quiet while you eat. (Linguist and lexicographer Jonathan Lighter on ADS-L, 2/26/07)

And then there’s what’s become something of a fixed formula,

for more information or to VP ‘to get/obtain/find/… more information or (to) VP’

which can be found in vast numbers on the web. Here are some googled up this morning — these just from the first page of a great many:

For more information or to request a Foam Encapsulation Certification Permit form contact: … (link)

For more information or to order films, visit our website at … (link)

For more information or to invest in justice today, visit the CBF website. (link)

For More Information or To Enroll Please Call Toll-Free … (link)

For more information or to register for any of the following classes, please call … (link)

3 Responses to “Data points: non-parallelism 3/19/11”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Related posting here.

  2. The Ridger Says:

    My first thought about Jonathan Lighter’s comment was that most kids get through the box the first day anyway…

    I’d certainly call this standard.

  3. Ben Gazzara « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] that-clause. I’ve posted on this blog about non-parallelism in purpose adjuncts (here and here), but I seem to have only one other example in my files with an oblique object together with […]

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