You’ll often see lists of infinitives on the GMAT. These are the “to ___” verbs (to walk, to talk, to eat, to chat, to drink…). With infinitives, a very simple rule applies: the word “to” must either go either only before the first verb in the list, or before every verb in the list.
Correct: He likes to swim, to sail, and to dance.
Correct: He likes to swim, sail, and dance.
Incorrect: He likes to swim, sail, and to dance.
The first two sentences are equally acceptable variations. The third sentence is incorrect because it lacks consistency; the verb changes from to swim to sail, and then back to to dance. This violates the rules we’ve laid out.
List of infinitives: Options
To __________, __________, and __________.
To __________, to __________, and to __________.
The principle governing lists of infinitives applies to any words that might come before each item in a series: prepositions (in, on, by, with), articles (the, a, an), helping verbs (had, has, would) and possessives (his, her, our). Either repeat the word before every element in a series or include it only before the first item. Anything else violates the rules of parallelism.