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    #1

    Parallel construction

    Could someone kindly explain "others, that..." in the following sentence? When can one omit the verb and put a comma instead? Does this construction have a name so that I can look it up online?

    "Some specialists maintain that language is essential to formulating certain thoughts; others, that even the most complex thoughts are independent of words."

    Thanks for your help.

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Parallel construction

    I'd say it's an example of ellipsis, that is when words are left out of a sentence. As far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't use a comma in there.

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    #3

    Re: Parallel construction

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    I'd say it's an example of ellipsis, that is when words are left out of a sentence. As far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't use a comma in there.
    Thanks for your reply. The sentence comes from an SAT multiple-choice question. The answer key says that the sentence with the comma is correct without giving explanation. Can someone shed light on the comma?

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    #4

    Re: Parallel construction

    A comma is sometimes used in text to indicate a pause in your speech, so this could be one of the explanations, I guess.

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    #5

    Re: Parallel construction

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    A comma is sometimes used in text to indicate a pause in your speech, so this could be one of the explanations, I guess.
    I think I found an answer. Based on the terms your provided, "ellipsis" and "comma", I googled by using these: "ellipsis with comma omit verb", and found that it is called a gapping comma construction, which "...simply shows that one or more words have been omitted to avoid repetition." This quotation comes from http://www.emwa.org/PastTWS/CommasElliston.pdf, pp. 59-60.

    It even provides an example, the construction of which is similar to the one that puzzled me:

    "Some of the patients showed signs of distress; others showed signs of nausea."

    "Some of the patients showed signs of distress; others, signs of nausea."

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