Is it grammatically correct to omit "is" in the following sentence? Is it correct in formal speech?

The Soviet Union is the largest land power, China the greatest land-sea compound country and the United States the biggest sea power.

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is grammatical. It is a form of ellipsis called gapping.

  • Doesn't gapping require the omitted word to be used once, at least.
    – Urbycoz
    Dec 23, 2014 at 10:05
  • In this case it is, no? "The Soviet Union is the largest land power..."
    – ajd
    Dec 23, 2014 at 10:06
  • 1
    Sorry, I misunderstood the question. I thought the OP was asking if that "is" could be removed too. And the answer would be no.
    – Urbycoz
    Dec 23, 2014 at 10:08
  • 1
    @Urbycoz An excellent illustration of the inverse correlation between deletion and clarity. Dec 23, 2014 at 10:16
  • Ah, your interpretation may well be correct.
    – ajd
    Dec 23, 2014 at 10:47

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