"Organisation should apologise to and reinstate the waitress and ask her to apologise for her breach of customer privacy and post both (apology for the mistake and she being reinstated again) on social media." This sentence is a part of a case study. I am not posting the case study as I want answerer to answer it without any prejudice - in pure grammatical context.( Use of "and" here).

By "independent" I meant a general apology to (say customers or viewers), not the waitress.

Following is the snapshot of case study. copyright of XATONLINE© enter image description here P.S. Please Ignore red ellipses.

  • 1
    I do not understand your title. What is an "independent apology"? The sentence is an imperative construction. Someone is being addressed and told what to do (apologise, reinstate, ask). Notice the difference in spelling: apologise (verb) and apologies (plural of the noun "apology").
    – TimR
    Dec 7, 2018 at 11:13
  • The situation this describes is strange. It would normally be described as asking two people to apologize to each other. Also, asking her to apologize after being rehired (or whatever is happening) is not a normal sequence of events. (And the sentence should be rewritten to avoid the awkwardness of post both at the end.) Dec 7, 2018 at 14:17
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo By "independent" I meant a general apology to (say customers or viewers), not waitress.
    – kung_foo
    Dec 7, 2018 at 14:42
  • @JasonBassford editing to make the sentence a bit less ambiguous.
    – kung_foo
    Dec 7, 2018 at 14:44
  • 1
    @kung_foo I requested a change to the title to match better with what I think you were trying to ask. If and when it goes through, feel free to rollback if I was mistaken!
    – Mr Lister
    Dec 7, 2018 at 17:54

2 Answers 2


The example could use some more context, but it's an imperative verb, not a noun.

So it means

Organisation should apologise to the waitress, and also reinstate her, and also ask her to apologise ...

With "to" after "apologise", it means to say sorry to a specified person, which in this case can mean only "the waitress", since there is nobody else in the sentence.
If there was no "to", you could be right and the sentence could mean apologise in general.

  • Can this sentence mean.... (someone) apologising to other people (say customers, not the waitress), reinstate her, and ask her to apologise to everyone. ?
    – kung_foo
    Dec 7, 2018 at 14:40
  • +1. No, kung_foo, it could not mean that. Sing to and comfort the baby. = Sing to the baby + comfort the baby.
    – TimR
    Dec 7, 2018 at 14:46
  • I added some more explanation to the answer; hope this helps!
    – Mr Lister
    Dec 7, 2018 at 17:49

The organization should apologize to and1 reinstate the waitress and2 ask her to apologize for her breach of customer privacy and3 post both on social media.

Please note that I've removed the parenthetical from the model.

There are three instances of the conjunction "and".  They are not all equal. 

The first conjunction pairs "apologize to" with "reinstate".  This joined pair takes "the waitress" as its object.  So far, we have one potential apology, and it's from the organization to the waitress.  Also, the waitress potentially gets her job back. 

The second and third conjunctions do seem equal.  They combine three different things that are all governed by the verb "should": the phrasing that starts with "apologize to and reinstate", the phrasing that starts with "ask", and the phrasing that starts with "post". 

In effect, and1 is smaller.  It's found inside one of the things that and2 and and3 join together. 

            A) apologize to the waitress (and1 reinstate her)
            B) ask her to apologize (for her breach of customer privacy)
            C) post both on social media

At this point, we now have two potential apologies: one from the organization to the waitress, and another from the waitress to -- well, it doesn't say.  Probably just to the specific customer or customers affected by the breach, since that's what the apology is for. 

I'm making a couple of educated guesses.  I've guessed that the wording in parentheses in your post is your own editorial commentary, and that it doesn't appear in the original case study.  I've also guessed that you're mistaken. 

Given the layout presented above, this "both" on line C) should relate to both lines A) and B).

The organization should apologize to the waitress.  The organization should ask the waitress to apologize to any affected customers.  The organization should post both apologies to social media. 

The first potential apology is an apology from the organization to the waitress, not from the organization to the public in general.  However, once posted, the general public can view it.  It is not to everyone, but it is (at least in part) for everyone.  The same can be said of the apology from the waitress to whoever was affected by her breach of customer privacy.

If you did not add the wording "(apology for the mistake and she being reinstated again)" on your own, then my analysis is probably flawed and you should ignore it.

  • Yes, I added wording inside parentheses. May you please elaborate the reason of removing the parenthesis, as it's difficult for me to comprehend the role played by later and2_&_and3. And... yes I think I was mistaken, but I asked the question because it became a bit difficult to comprehend from the case study paragraph to to come to this conclusion. I am also adding the paragraph to remove ambiguity from question.
    – kung_foo
    Dec 10, 2018 at 13:26
  • I guessed, and it was a good guess. I had three reasons. One is that your addition didn't seem to make sense along with the A) B) C) parallel structure. Another is the way you used so many other parenthetical comments in your original post. The last is that you included your own grammatical error: "her being reinstated" is the phrasing that would fit. Dec 11, 2018 at 22:03
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    And, to help you understand why the answer key says B, remember that the restaurant fired the waitress for doing exactly the same thing that the restaurant itself did two weeks earlier: posting a customer receipt publicly. If it was wrong for the waitress to do, why wasn't it wrong for the restaurant to do? Dec 11, 2018 at 22:16
  • Botnovocan Thank you! I wanted to focus only on the grammatical aspect so that I could understand how grammar played role in that sentence. I am also struggling with sentence structures formation in english. And my original edited question did not have any parentheses, It was after some comments that I felt people needed extra information and added parentheses(and of course sentences inside.) And If you may help, please explain why do we use "she" in place of "her". You may just provide the link(s) to helpful pages to save your time.Also, I now fully understand why the answer key said "B".
    – kung_foo
    Dec 12, 2018 at 13:04
  • According to traditional analysis, in the example of him being restated the preposition "of" takes the objective "him" as its simple object, with "being reinstated" as a modifier. In the case of his being reinstated, "being" forms the simple object with the genitive "his" as a modifier. Even when we can't tell the difference between a genitive "her" and an objective "her", we can see that a subjective "she" (much like "he") doesn't fit the phrase. There's no finite verb to use this "she" as its subject. Dec 12, 2018 at 14:33

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