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  1. BrunaBC's Avatar
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    #1

    omitting the subject

    Hi,

    I believe it's possible to mention the subject only once and then just conjugate the verbs, like in the example below:

    - He studies English twice a week, practices soccer three times a week and has dance classes on Fridays.

    My question is, can I do it when the first verb is to be? I believe not because the first sentence (in blue) is complete, and in the next I should repeat the subject. Consider the example:

    - He is good at sports, and plays in the school team. (should it be: and he plays...)

    Thank you.
    Last edited by BrunaBC; 04-Jun-2012 at 12:51. Reason: capitalized words
    Not a teacher.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: omitting the subject

    Yes, you can do it with any verb.
    Don't use the comma.
    Note that "Fridays" should have been capitalized.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: omitting the subject

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Note that "Fridays" should have been capitalized.
    As should "English".

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    #4

    Re: omitting the subject

    Quote Originally Posted by BrunaBC View Post
    Hi,





    - He is good at sports, and plays in the school team.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Bruna:

    Your question has really interested me.

    1. Look at this sentence from College Handbook of Composition by Woolley, Scott, and Bracher (I used it in college during the 1950's!):

    "He was tall and slim and wore a black coat." (The authors say this sentence is acceptable. So apparently there is no

    rule against mixing "to be" with other verbs.)

    *****

    Now look at this sentence from An American Rhetoric by William W. Watt (which was also one of my books):

    "He is honest, hard-working, patriotic, and has a firm nature."

    * The authors do not like that sentence. It requires parallelism. (That is, the parts should be balanced.) It

    has three adjectives and a clause. Professor Watt suggests this revision:

    "He is honest, hard-working, patriotic, and firm."

    Now it is parallel (four adjectives).

    *****

    Let's look at your sentence "He is good at sports and plays on the school soccer team."

    (a) The first book seems to say that your sentence is acceptable.

    (b) The second book seems to say "No way!"

    *****

    If we accept the second book's advice (and I do), we will have to get that sentence into balance.

    You say "He is good at sports." Let's change that to a verb, such as "excel" (to be good at something).

    What do you think about:

    "He excels at sports and plays on the school soccer team."

    Now -- according to the second book -- the parts of the sentence are parallel:

    You have two verbs ("excels" and "plays").

    Each verb is followed by a prepositional phrase ("at sports" and "on the school soccer team").


    HAVE A NICE DAY!

  4. BrunaBC's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: omitting the subject

    Thanks The Parser! It's quite more intricate than what I imagined.
    So would you go for the first or the second book?
    Not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: omitting the subject

    I'd go with the first.

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    #7

    Re: omitting the subject

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Bruna:

    Thank you for your note.

    1. I would go for the second book.

    2. Regarding parallelism, here is what A Dictonary of Modern American Usage (by Bryan A. Garner) says:

    "The matching of sentence parts for logical balance ... helps satisfy every reader's innate craving for order and

    rhythm
    ." (My emphasis)

    a. I wish to make clear, however, that he did NOT discuss sentences such as yours. So I have no idea as to his

    opinion.

    b. But the second book, I guess, would be upset by your having an adjective ("He is good at sports" and switching to

    a clause ("[he] plays on the school soccer team").

    c. As Tdol's answer shows, many native speakers would have NO problem with your sentence. (And remember, too, that

    Barb is a professional writer.)

    d. Maybe it is just a matter of style.

    e. When you get time, you may wish to google "parallelism/ sentence balance." You will probably find much

    helpful advice.

    3. I thank you for having posted this question, for I learned so much while doing research for the answer.


    HAVE A NICE DAY!

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    #8

    Re: omitting the subject

    Parallelism, dangling participles and run-on sentences seem to be less of a bother to many BrE speakers.

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: omitting the subject

    I care quite a bit about parallelism, but I don't find "He is good at sports and plays in the school team" to lack it.

    "He is good at sports and the star forward on the team" lacks parallelism, because you have an adjective and a noun both linked to "is."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #10

    Re: omitting the subject

    Regarding the example from An American Rhetoric by William W. Watt:


    • He is honest, hard-working, patriotic, and has a firm nature.
    • = He is honest, he is hard-working, he is patriotic, and he is has a firm nature


    I believe its faulty parallelism could be corrected simply by adding "and" before "patriotic":


    • He is honest, hard-working, and patriotic, and has a firm nature.
    • = He is honest, he is hard-working, and he is patriotic, and he has a firm nature.

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