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Girls and boys learn to live and work together from an early age and are consequently not emotionally underdeveloped in their relations with the opposite sex. They are also able to learn from each other, and to experience different types of skill and talent than might be evident in a single gender school.

Are any words omitted from the the last sentence? What might be evident?

2 Answers 2

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The author of the quoted extract seems to be tiptoeing around the fundamental claim that he or she is making with regard to mixed-gender schools—and the all that caution makes the author's meaning unduly difficult to grasp. However, I think that the underlying problem isn't omission of words, but mealy-mouthed word choice. Specifically, the sentence

They are also able to learn from each other, and to experience different types of skill and talent than might be evident in a single gender school.

breaks out into these component statements:

They are also able to learn from each other.

and

They are also able to experience different types of skill and talent than might be evident in a single gender school.

The first component statement is straightforward; the second is not. The phrase

They are also able to experience different types of skill and talent

amounts to saying

In addition, they are exposed to different skills and talents

and the phrase

than might be evident in a single gender school.

amounts to saying

than they would be likely to encounter in a school in which all students were of their gender.

In other words,

Boys and girls can learn from one another; and in addition, boys are exposed to skills and talents that girls tend to display but boys tend not to, and girls are exposed to skills and talents that boys tend to display but girls tend not to.

The author seems to have chosen the word "evident" in the second sentence to avoid implying that children tend to possess different skills and talents because of their gender. Instead, the implication seems to be that students at single-gender schools tend to display the skills and talents that are more commonly seen among children of that gender, while leaving the skills and talents that are more commonly seen among children of the opposite gender unexpressed or latent. The students at single-gender schools may possess the skills and talents that students of the other gender are more likely to display, but the fact that they possess those skills and talents won't be evident because the culture of the single-gender school discourages the students from expressing them.

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It's not well written, but I don't think anything is left out. The point is that, in a co-ed school, children will be exposed to a wider range of skills and talents—those of both their own and the opposite sex—than in a single gender school.

A better phrasing of the last sentence might be:

They also learn from each other, being exposed to a wider range of skills and talents than they would be in a single gender school.

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