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Which one should I use gerund or infinitive while asking a questin like below?

Which one costs more, to repair it or to buy a new one?

Which one costs more, repairing it or buying a new one?

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  • [[correction of grammar: What costs more: A or B, not which one does it cost more]]
    – Lambie
    Apr 9, 2020 at 21:12

3 Answers 3

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Both sentences need rephrasing. Using the infinitive:

Does it cost more to repair it or to buy a new one ?

Without the infinitive:

Which costs more, repairing it or buying a new one?

Both sentences were missing an article too.

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Which one does it cost more , to repair it or to buy new one ?

Which one does cost more ,repairing it or buying new one?

This is supposed to be the subject question, so you don't need the auxiliary "do" (does) in it.

As for using either the infinitive or the gerund--to me, both sound okay, at least not ungrammatical.

At the same time "What costs more" sounds a little bit off to me, but it seems to be just a matter of personal preference, so I'd I put it

"What's more expensive/costly--to repair it/to have it repaired or to buy a new one?"

"What's more expensive/costly--repairing it/having it repaired or buying a new one?"

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Both versions in the question as edited sound correct to me, but gerunds are used more often than infinitives in questions like this. The most common way to say this would be something like:

Which costs more, repairing it or buying a new one?

Some real examples that I found in a quick search:

  • “Which costs more, being single or married?”
  • “Turning AC On and Off vs Leaving It On: Which Costs More?”
  • “Does turning your AC on and off cost more?”
  • “Heating or cooling: which costs you more?”

“Which one costs more” is fine, but I would leave out the word “one” as unnecessary more often than not.

You could use an infinitive instead. The most famous example is surely this one, from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (where I put the parallel structure in bold):

To be, or not to be: that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them?

Whichever one you do, though, make sure to use parallel gerunds or parallel infinitives. Don’t mix and match.

The original versions had errors, which you went back and corrected. “*Which one does it cost more” is incorrect, because “Which one” and “it” are both trying to be the subject of the sentence, and you need to pick one or the other. “Which one does cost more?” is not appropriate here, unless you have a lot of doubt that a previous answer is correct, or another situation where you are really emphasizing your uncertainty. This is different from “Does it cost more?” because “which” or “which one” as the subject already marks the sentence as a question, so you do not also need “does.”

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