In the statement:

Exports are a virtue and imports are a vice

Would it be okay to omit the second "are"? Thus becoming:

Exports are a virtue and imports a vice

If it was grammatically incorrect, I wonder if it is still appropriate to omit the verb in a formal setting. I feel like the latter way of phrasing the sentence rolls off the tongue better.

  • Actually, it's the main (linking or copulative) verb. – Gustavson Mar 19 at 9:53
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    "... if it is still appropriate to omit the verb in a formal setting" -- yes, and preferable. If still unconvinced, include a comma after imports for clarity. HTH. – Kris Mar 19 at 10:34
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    Yes, you can omit the auxiliary "are". But I much prefer to retain it, especially in formal contexts. – BillJ Mar 19 at 10:37

Yes. V-deletion is quite common, especially with conjunctive clauses.


(1) I like milk and bread

(2) Someone will be happy and generous.

Closer to your example:

(3) My dog is a canine and my cat a feline.

That being said, since 'imports' is a verbal noun, it is best to retain the verb. The ambiguity of 'imports' - the ambiguity between a NP reading and a VP reading - makes parsing quite difficult. Syntactically, the issue is that 'imports' might be read as a present verb whose argument is the clause preceding the conjunction: 'exports (which are virtuous) import (x)'. So best keep the verb.

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