I have gone through several threads here but haven't found an answer to my question.

In my paper, there are two theorists and each has a theory. Theorist A has theory 1 and theorist B has theory 2.

Can I use both example 1 and example 2 and express this fact?

1) A's and B's theory are worthwhile considering. 2) A's and B's theories are worthwhile considering.

I reckon that 1) is a form of ellipsis standing for A's (theory) and B's theory... Does 2) imply that both A and B have EACH devised more than one theory or that I include A's theory and B's theory to form the plural "theories"?

And on a similar note, Bohr has written one book on a subject and Gitman has written one book:

3) The Bohr and the Gitman volume are worthwhile considering. 4) The Bohr and the Gitman volumes are worthwhile considering.

Which one is correct?

  • @Edwin Ashworth I know the genetive rule but that is not my question (I think) I am intersted in the noun that comes after the genetive. Why is it not possible to read 3 as an ellipsis: The Bohr (volume) and the Gitman volumen are worthwhile considering... – Sarah K Dec 3 '16 at 10:24
  • If one can decide where ellipses are allowable, we will end up with 'A and B was there.' Yes, deletions have to be considered acceptable in certain registers, and complicate analysis, but dropping words in a D-I-Y way is not acceptable. Your suggested deletions are not acceptable. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 3 '16 at 10:32
  • Ok, so I think that is exactly my question. Are there rules for ellipsis? Is this a matter of style? Is example 1 then bad style? I also have to stress that these sentences are embedded in context, in a paper where it is clear that A has theory 1 and B has theory 2 – Sarah K Dec 3 '16 at 10:34
  • "A's theory and B's theory" is not the same as "A and B's theory". The former refers to two theories, the latter to a theory jointly 'owned' by A and B. The verb-form required corresponds to the number of theories. And "A's and B's theory" is non-standard. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 3 '16 at 10:39
  • Absolutely this is why my question was about 'A's and B's theory'. So is it an acceptable/not uncommon form of ellipsis to have 'A's and B's theory' instead of 'A's theory and B's theory'? Thank you for taking the time!!! Edit: Sorry you already answered, it's nonstandard. Ok thanks! – Sarah K Dec 3 '16 at 10:42

I'd say that

1) yes, this refers to the single theory of A and B (though I would write A and B's theory is ...)

2) refers to the multiple theories that each of A and B has devised

3/4) if you are referring to a single book by Bohr and Gitman use 3 but it should be 'is' rather than 'are' (the Bohr and Gitman volume is...), but use 4 if they are two separate volumnes.

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  • Hello, SJR. (3) is incorrect ... you have corrected to (3'). Likewise (1). But please check for duplicates before answering. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 3 '16 at 10:23
  • Edwin Ashworth - indeed, thanks I missed that, amended now. – SJR Dec 3 '16 at 10:28
  • @SJR Hi! Thank you for your answers. But I don't want to change the meaning of my sentences: As I wrote "Bohr has written one book on a subject and Gitman has written one book" Can 3 be read as an ellipsis to express exactly this fact? – Sarah K Dec 3 '16 at 10:30
  • Sarah - no, use 4 instead of 3. The only difference is a single letter but it makes all the difference! – SJR Dec 3 '16 at 10:37

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