2

Which one is better? Should I use "for" twice or once?

  1. Cycling to work is a healthy habit. However, my city is not built for people but for cars.
  2. Cycling to work is a healthy habit. However, my city is not built for people but cars.
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  • 2
    I vote for (1) - sounds better to me - but I don't think (2) is wrong.
    – cruthers
    Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 14:12
  • There both fine! Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 0:00

2 Answers 2

1

As both comments so far suggest, neither is wrong. However, I'll add that both can be improved.

  • "However, my city is not built for people but for cars." Using "for" twice here, in this particular way, does start to become a bit "wordy", which is probably exactly the reason you came here to ask this question.
  • "However, my city is not built for people but cars." This is not grammatically unacceptable, but "people but cars" sounds unusual.

A better sentence in my view, would be: "However, my city is not built for people, it's built for cars".

0

There are at least two issues here.

One is that of phrasing the sentence so that the reader understands it. Where X, Y and Z represent sequences of words, if you write "X not Y but Z", then the reader expects X to fit Y and also X to fit Z. Sometimes there are two or more ways to say what you mean; sometimes you can choose to put a word at the end of X or to repeat it at the starts of Y and Z.

  1. However, my city is not built for people but built for cars. (very similar to Nike Dattani's suggestion.)

  2. However, my city is built not for people but for cars.

I recommend version 2. What I've said above would also allow

  1. However, my city is built for not people but cars.

However, that would be inappropriate for the original writer's purpose. They were contrasting not two sets of things (people and cars) but two purposes (for people and for cars). A "not Y but Z" construct can work as a noun phrase -- I used one in the previous sentence -- but not here. In another context you might say "Today, in the street where I live, there are not cars but people having a street party."

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