My question is about this sentence:

1) correct: "The beauty of the desert lies not in its lushness, but in its isolation."

2) wrong: "The beauty of the desert lies not in its lushness, but its isolation."

Is sentence #2 wrong? Why? I know the standard answer about parallelism of correlative conjunctions — but what about sentences like the one below, in which gapping allows for certain omissions. Can gapping legitimate the omission of the preposition in #2.

3) "Fred tries to treat his parents well, and they, him." (From this link about gapping: http://dickhudson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/gapping.pdf.)

  • 2
    (1) and (2) are not gapping, but just conjunction reduction; they're both perfectly grammatical. (3) is gapping, and not conjunction reduction. – John Lawler Sep 30 '16 at 22:32
  • ... Although the prosody in (1) sounds more pleasing to my ear. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 30 '16 at 22:55

I would not have thought that #2 was grammatical. In fact I'd say it verges on being an anacoluthon, due partly to the comma and partly to the omission of the preposition, which together create an impression that a new clause is about to begin.

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