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This question already has an answer here:

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?

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Mitch, tchrist Dec 3 '16 at 21:09

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  • @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
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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.

  • 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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