0

I wrote:

We implemented the proposed system as a visual tool. It is a Windows application using an embedded web browser to render the web page to provide the user with the visual identification of the page elements.

Here, I used the pattern "use A .... to do X"; however, I used two "to do", is it a correct usage of this pattern? I mean if I can add extra "to do" as complements of "use" or not? (My question is not about repeating of "to", I don't care it here)

  • 4
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers: I believe the first is not a dupe; it's about repeating words in a list. – Nathan Tuggy Sep 19 '15 at 17:54
  • @FumbleFingers That is about repeating "to", however it is not my question, my question is if I can add extra "to do" or not. – Ahmad Sep 19 '15 at 18:04
  • @FumbleFingers I updated my question to say my actual concern. – Ahmad Sep 19 '15 at 18:07
  • 1
    @Ahmad: Grammatically, you can certainly ask questions on ELL to improve your English to get a better job to make something of your life, for example. It might become a bit clumsy, so you could often replace one or more instances of to by and, but that's a matter of style, not syntactic correctness. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Sep 21 '15 at 12:10
1

. . . using an embedded web browser to render the web page to provide the user with the visual identification of the page elements.

What you have actually said is that

  1. the browser is used in order to render the web page
  2. the web page is rendered in order to provide the user visual identification of the page elements

That is, there is a chain of purposes: A accomplishes B and B accomplishes C. Syntactically, the render infinitival is dependent on the using clause and the provide infinitival is dependent on the render clause:

...
[ using an embedded web browser
    [ to render the web page
        [ to provide the user &c ]
    ]
]

However, if what you want to say is that the browser is used for two distinct purposes—if rendering the page and providing the identification are both directly effected by using the browser—then you want a different syntax, one in which both clauses are dependent on the using clause. The simplest solution is to 'conjoin' the two infinitivals:

[ using an embedded web browser
    [ to [ render the web page]
          and
          [ provide the user &c]
    ]

In this particular case I suspect that it makes little difference; but in other circumstances it may be important to distinguish between an action's direct and indirect effects.

  • Take I need to earn some money to pay off my debts to avoid being declared bankrupt, for example. If the second and/or third to were replaced by and, I kinda doubt anyone would perceive this as affecting the meaning of the statement. I think it's a stylistic choice rather than a matter of semantics in most contexts. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Sep 21 '15 at 12:17
2

Your sentence is perfectly acceptable as is. However, the repeated use of "do A to do B to do C" quickly develops a singsong cadence which can be distracting. I'd suggest something like "...using an embedded web browser to render the web page in order to provide the user...".

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.