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Which one is correct?

  1. Our mission is not to prevent you from seeking a lawyer, but to educate you on your rights.

  2. Our mission is not to prevent you from seeking a lawyer, but educate you on your rights.

3 Answers 3

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Our mission is not to prevent you from seeking a lawyer, BUT TO educate you on your rights.

This sounds more natural to me, as the second part of the sentence flows in place of the original subject.

I.e.

Our mission is:

not to prevent you from seeking a lawyer

BUT

to educate you on your rights.

... and for context

Our mission is not ethical, but quite sinister.

3
  • I agree with this usage. Omitting the "to" in the second half sounds ungrammatical.
    – user32753
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 5:27
  • The ellipsis of one or more words (especially in parallel construction) is permitted, provided the omitted material can be easily understood.
    – Davo
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 20:02
  • Everything is permitted, not everything is useful. Form my point of view, the purpose is to provide clarity, not to minimize the number of letters / sounds,
    – virolino
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 7:31
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This sentence is an example of a parallel structure, where the first part of the sentence is applied in the same way to two separate phrases.

Our mission is ... to prevent you from seeking a lawyer
Our mission is ... to educate you on your rights

This only works properly if the the two phrases both match the first part of the sentence and are grammatically identical. This is true with the two phrases above, but would not be true with the two phrases below:

Our mission is ... to prevent you from seeking a lawyer
Our mission is ... educate you on your rights

This pair of phrases does not work because the second phrase does not match the first part of the sentence (and does not match the first phrase).

Of the two example sentences in your question, only the first one is correct:

  1. Our mission is not to prevent you from seeking a lawyer, but to educate you on your rights
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  • I recommend this as the correct answer to the question - expressed my own thoughts with better words. I would have called this symmetry.
    – virolino
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 7:32
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I think this could go either way, and is just a matter of opinion. Both seem correct, and I would just say it the way you think sounds best.

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  • sentences must have some symmetry, to is needed here for sure - if correct English is desired
    – virolino
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 7:29

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