Reply to "elliptical usage"

Freeguy posted:
Which of the following interpretation is right?

1) ....., they could travel farther from the landing site to investigate more of the lunar environment and (could) collect a wider range of soil and rock sample.

2) ....., they could travel farther from the landing site to investigate more of the lunar environment and (to) collect a wider range of soil and rock sample.

Hi, Freeguy,

Syntactically, either interpretation is possible, and ellipsis is not involved:

1) They could [travel farther from the landing site to investigate more of the lunar environment] and [collect a wider range of soil and rock sample].

2) The could travel farther from the landing site to [investigate more of the  lunar environment] and [collect a wider range of soil and rock sample].

In (1), two verb phrases are coordinated as complements of the modal "could": the verb phrases are "travel farther  from the landing site to investigate more of the lunar environment"  and "collect a wider range of soil and rock sample."

In (2), two verb phrases are coordinated at a lower level in the syntactic tree. The verb phrases are complements of "to" (the infinitive stem): "investigate more of the lunar environment" and "collect a wider range of soil and rock sample."

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