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  1. #1
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
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    Default Question about omission (I don't know if it's even called omission)

    1. You have a much better command of English than I do of Japanese.

    2. you have a much better command of English than I have of Japanese.
    Are they both correct, both wrong, or is only no.2 correct?

    I was writing an E-mail to a friend of mine. I used the first sentence at first but realized it sounded a bit off so I switched to no.2 instead. The problem is, I don't know why the first sentence sounds off, when 'do' in the second half of the sentence serves to replace 'have a command' and I see nothing wrong with its usage. Is it grammatically correct, and if so, does it sound off? if it does, can anyone explain why?

  2. #2
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Question about omission (I don't know if it's even called omission)

    1. You have a much better command of English than I do of Japanese.

    2. you have a much better command of English than I have of Japanese.
    With some gross overvaluation, I am going to call my comments 'tuppence 'orth of' and present them below, if I may:

    One fundamental feature of English grammar is providing the means of referring back to an expression without repeating it. This is achieved by means of pro-forms. In #1, 'have a command' is substituted by the pro-form 'do'. 'have' carries stative sense. With stative senses of 'have', as is the case in your sentences, 'have' may be handled as an operator in formal style in BrE, which means the pro-form 'have' is used. In informal style, the pro-form 'do' is preferred.
    To recap, both your sentences are fine; #2 is more formal. AmE prefers #1.


  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Question about omission (I don't know if it's even called omission)

    Quote Originally Posted by HaraKiriBlade View Post
    Are they both correct, both wrong, or is only no.2 correct?

    I was writing an E-mail to a friend of mine. I used the first sentence at first but realized it sounded a bit off so I switched to no.2 instead. The problem is, I don't know why the first sentence sounds off, when 'do' in the second half of the sentence serves to replace 'have a command' and I see nothing wrong with its usage. Is it grammatically correct, and if so, does it sound off? if it does, can anyone explain why?
    They are both right.

  4. #4
    greegorush is offline Member
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    Default Re: Question about omission (I don't know if it's even called omission)

    I've got a counter question - What is "sound off" used for in you case?

    PS I've checked up in my phrasal verbs dictionary but found quite another explanation.

  5. #5
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Question about omission (I don't know if it's even called omission)

    ...And to answer the OP's implied question, it's called 'ellipsis' - with the plural 'ellipses' (with the final syllable pronounced /si:z/).

    b

  6. #6
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    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Question about omission (I don't know if it's even called omission)

    My friends are right. The use of "do" in such a case seems just a hair more likely in BrE and AusE, while the repeating of "have" seems, as Svartnik says, slightly more likely in AmE.

    Do is very common and a regular auxiliary verb in English, so no one should really say it sounds "off."
    Last edited by konungursvia; 29-Oct-2009 at 12:59.

  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about omission (I don't know if it's even called omission)

    Quote Originally Posted by greegorush View Post
    I've got a counter question - What is "sound off" used for in you case?

    PS I've checked up in my phrasal verbs dictionary but found quite another explanation.
    It's not a phrasal verb; HKB is saying 'it sounds... well, not exactly wrong but certainly not right'; or maybe just 'wrong'. 'Off' is a fairly flexible word in this (range of) sense(s); if fish is 'off' don't eat it, but if I say 'I feel a bit off' I don't mean I'm ill.

    b

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