2
  1. I worked on my paper, and my brother on a project.

  2. The width was 3 meters, and the length 4 meters.

These are omitted version of those sentences below, grammatically correct, and make perfect sense.

  1. I worked on my paper, and my brother (worked) on a project.

  2. The width was 3 meters, and length (was) 4 meters.

But when only the subject of the second clause is different from the first clause, it does not seem to be working.

  1. The Germans were attacking, and the French (were attacking).

This does not sound very good, and I am not so sure if it is grammatically correct, which lead me to adding "too" at the end.

  1. The Germans were attacking, and the French, too.

So, why doesn't "The Germans" sentence work like "I worked on paper" sentence? Is fifth sentence, "the Germans were attacking, and the French", considered grammatically correct? If so, why don't we use it very often?

11
  • The biggest issue here is we don't say "Frenches" in English; we say "The French". If you change your sentence to read "The Germans were attacking, and the French", it's much better. But you must use the twice. It's no good to say "The Germans were attacking, and French" without the second the.
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 31, 2015 at 1:50
  • You were being attacked by salad dressing?
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 31, 2015 at 1:50
  • "The Germans were attacking, and the French" . So does this sentence not sound off to you? It's just that I am not a native speaker and have seen too many sentences with the same structure ending in "too" like this: The Germans were attacking, and the French, too. Or like this: The Germans were attacking, and so were the French.
    – omission
    Aug 31, 2015 at 1:54
  • The versions with the things left out are as “grammatically” “correct” as the other versions.
    – tchrist
    Aug 31, 2015 at 2:02
  • Are all of them correct? Because deadrat just said the last one is not and needs some more words.
    – omission
    Aug 31, 2015 at 2:05

3 Answers 3

1

The military forces of France are filled with Frenchmen, but collectively they would be called "the French."

You must give your reader enough parallel constructions to make it easy to supply the missing words.

In

I worked on my paper, and my brother on a project.

You have

I <-> my brother
my paper <-> a project

This enables your reader to fill in the missing word:

worked <-> ?????

But with

The Germans were attacking, and the French, too.

there's too much left out. Could it be one of these:

The Germans were attacking, and the French were retreating
The Germans were attacking the Belgians, and the French as well.

If it's the second, are the Germans attacking the Belgians and the French, or are the Germans and the French attacking the Belgians?

You need to supply more framework on which to hang the grammar:

The Germans were attacking, and the French were too.

2
  • What if I just say: The Germans were attacking, and the French were. According to the theory, it should be fine, but it sounds off without "too".
    – omission
    Aug 31, 2015 at 2:06
  • @omission I'm not sure I'd call it a theory, but there are too many ways to finish the sentence without some reference to attacking, which is what the the "too" does. "The Germans were attacking, and the French were ... retreating, sleeping, negotiating, ...." The ellipsis sounds OK if there's only one obvious way to fill in the missing word.
    – deadrat
    Aug 31, 2015 at 2:46
0

Here's the problem:

"The Germans were attacking, and the French" (Sent.1) and "The width was 3 meters, and the length 4 meters" (Sent.2) are not analogous of one another. To illustrate:

Germans is to width as French is to length; crucially however, 4 meters has no such counterpart because nothing follows French. To see why this matters:

Imagine Sent.2 -- now truncated, and thus analogous to Sent.1 -- read "The width was 3 meters, and the length." Grammatically, this does not assign length a quality (i.e. 3 meters). Rather, it renders length an item of a list. (What was the width? - It was "3 meters, and the length.") Correspondingly:

In Sent.1, French does not co-opt the quality of its antecedent, Germany (i.e. attacking); instead, it is an item of a list. (What were the Germans? - They were "fighting, and the French.")

Hope this helps.

PS. Technically, in Sent.2, I think there should be a was between length and 3 meters.

0

The Germans were attacking, and the French.--Why on earth did the French attack when there were thousand and one other tasks to do? Who would say us no if we say:

*The Germans were attacking, not the French(an example of "Not Stripping")--the sentence is all right in all respects.

The disputed post is, in reality, an example of STRIPPING ELLIPSIS which elides everything from a clause except one constituent occurring in a coordinate structure.

Here let us be clear about one aspect of omission.The elided materials often fail to qualify in a straightforward manner. In such a situation, there occurs the additive particle " TOO".

There is a need for resemblance between the antecedents and and the things left out so that the reader/listner becomes aware of writers / speakers intention. "Too" is that presupposition trigger= material present to provide the antecedents. Otherwise, for God's sake, we would not let the French fight.

For the sake of brevity, we don't provide many such examples to show how important "TOO" is.

We should keep in mind that in a construction as in the post:-

*trigger like TOO/AS WELL/ALSO are needed

*appearances of coordinators AND/OR must.

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