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I'm confused with list creation. If I want to make a list where each item starts with a verb, should I use "to" before each list item? For example,

"You can visit this cafe:

  • to chat with friends
  • to drink coffee
  • to taste new dishes
  • to work with a laptop."

Or is it better to say:

"You can visit this cafe to:

  • chat with friends
  • drink coffee
  • taste new dishes
  • work with a laptop."

2 Answers 2

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English is all about the {head{body}} pattern, nested or distributed. The to X in an infitive is such a "head", like articles.

So {to{drink,chat,taste,work}} is equivalent to {to drink, to chat, to taste, to work} and frequently preferred unless many of those items have a long list of complements/modifiers that make a person forget where they are at, or if adverbs ruin the party since their ability to modify goes all over the place.

This doesn't apply to your list.

Your second form is preferred. Reasons:

A) Your list doesn't have items other than infinitives

B) There is no danger an infinitive could be confused with a noun.

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Generally speaking in English, the less repetition of forms there is, the better the style is (<-- repeating "is" there, is bad style). This applies to your situation, so your second version is preferred.

Also, lists that all start with the same words that could have been removed from the list, can cause confusion in the reader. If an English speaker sees a list item that starts with "to...", they expect there might be items in the list that don't start with "to...". In your first example, this might mean phrases like, "with friends" or "in the summer". They'll keep these options open in their minds while reading. When no such item appears, it's confusing, so the reader might go back to verify that they didn't miss an item that's different.

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