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Is my grammar in the following sentence correct?

  1. It should also be noted that the bigger the measured distances, the smaller the variability and the greater the accuracy.

Or should it be instead be written this way, with “extra” verbs:

  1. It should also be noted that the bigger the measured distances are, the smaller the variability is and the greater the accuracy is.

closed as off-topic by Mick, curiousdannii, Nigel J, Skooba, jimm101 Nov 22 '17 at 11:40

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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  • 1
    I think it's fine, I might use "the further the distance" or "longer" instead of "bigger" but I don't know exactly what is being measured here. – Mari-Lou A Nov 19 '17 at 11:35
  • @Mari-LouA I actually think it is about grammar not about writing, which is why I've provided a grammatical answer not an orthographic one. If I’ve misunderstood the question, I hope the asker enlightens me as to how. – tchrist Nov 19 '17 at 18:23
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Your original sentence is perfectly grammatical. It is nearly a textbook example of an embedded nominal sentence. A nominal sentence is one lacking a finite verb but possessing a subject and a non-verbal predicate where the implied copular verb be is omitted. We call this an instance of a zero copula. It’s still a copula, just an invisible one.

All languages have nominal sentences, some more than others (for example, Latin was quite fond of the zero copula). Your particular case is furthermore a comparative correlative, one of the few places that standard English allows for a non-embedded nominal sentence. It’s just like this one:

  1. The bigger the dog, the deeper the growl.

Like your own example, that one is a perfectly valid English sentence. Not only is there no need to replace the zero copula with an overt one, doing so produces a sentence which is, if not indefensibly clunkier, certainly less elegant than the original.

  1. The bigger that the dog is, the deeper that the growl is.

The simpler version might also be considered to use a type of rhetorical device known as grammatical syllepsis, the kind of thing you see in examples like this one:

  1. I took off my hat, and she her gloves.

All these are perfectly grammatical as is. They require no plodding repetition of the obvious bit, whether that’s a lexical verb or a purely functional copular one.

While it may be in a more elevated, or at least polished, style to employ such devices, no one well ever accuse you of high oratory merely for writing

  1. The bigger, the better.

It’s perfectly normal. And so is your original:

  1. The bigger the measured distances, the smaller the variability and the greater the accuracy.

Certainly your original sounds better than replacing the zero copula with a written one sounds.

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I would have maybe written: "It should also be noted that the farther the measured distances, the smaller the variability and the greater the accuracy are." Note that farther is for physical distances, further for metaphorical or figurative distances (e.g. "nothing could be further from the truth").

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