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Which one is correct?

He needs to be more outgoing, maybe not a big night out with everybody everyday, but at least able to form small talks.

He needs to be more outgoing, maybe not a big night out with everybody everyday, but at least be able to form small talks.

He needs to be more outgoing, maybe not a big night out with everybody everyday, but at least being able to form small talks.

Intuitively I wrote the first one first since it conveys the meaning pretty well (at least to me), but after thinking a bit, I wrote the second one since "able" is an adjective and needs a verb.

But later, I feel since there's already a "be" previously in "He needs to be more outgoing", maybe it could be omitted later?

But it's still confusing, if "be" could be omitted, that means it is attached to the first sentence "He needs to be...", but "but at least" indicates it's related to the second sentence "maybe not a big night out with everybody everyday", so we couldn't entail the grammar structure from the first?

After thinking for a while, maybe it should be being since regarded as an independent sentence, the subject "he" is omitted?

How should I write this sentence exactly?

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    Form small talks is not idiomatic English - I think what you mean is make small talk (carry on an informal conversation). Sep 14, 2020 at 14:28

1 Answer 1

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  1. He needs to be more outgoing, maybe not a big night out with everybody everyday, but at least able to form small talks.
  1. He needs to be more outgoing, maybe not a big night out with everybody everyday, but at least be able to form small talks.
  1. He needs to be more outgoing, maybe not a big night out with everybody everyday, but at least being able to form small talks.

I bracket the phrases in different ways to suit your last phrase. The bracketed phrases need to be parallel and subordinated to the main heading. I add 'having' and 'have' as shown. My suggestions for the 3 scenarios are as follows:

  1. He needs to be [more outgoing], maybe not ['having' a big night out with everybody everyday], but at least [able to form small talks].

  2. He needs to [be more outgoing], maybe not ['have' a big night out with everybody everyday], but at least [be able to form small talks].

  3. He needs [to be more outgoing], maybe not [a big night out with everybody everyday], but at least [being able to form small talks].

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  • Why is 3 not "to be able to" if it needs to be parallel to "to be more outgoing"?
    – CYC
    Sep 14, 2020 at 16:51
  • @CYC, 'being' is the author's preference in 3 and is fine as it is grammatical. What you have suggested is fine too. Sep 14, 2020 at 22:45
  • Are original three sentences all grammatically correct?
    – CYC
    Sep 15, 2020 at 4:20
  • Lack of parallelism was the issue as can be seen after my bracketing. Sep 15, 2020 at 5:04

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