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I am wondering if the following two sentence are correct.

  1. We can divide children on the ground into two groups: those playing soccer, and those not.
  2. We can divide children on the ground into two groups: those playing soccer, and those who do not.

If both are correct, which is better?

Update:

Thanks for Brad's comment, for comparison, the second sentence should be:

2*. We can divide children on the ground into two groups: those playing soccer, and those who are not.

Update 2: And as he points out, it is better to say "We can divide the children in the yard into two groups: those playing soccer, and those who are not." or "We can divide the children in the yard into two groups: those playing soccer, and those who are not."

  • Omit what adjective? – Robusto Aug 21 '19 at 1:36
  • I guess it should be "those not (playing)" if we say the full sentence? – user150245 Aug 21 '19 at 2:01
  • Your exaple 1. is preferable It simply has the VP "playing soccer" ellipted. In 2. "those playing" and "those who do not" are not parallel, making it unacceptable. – BillJ Aug 21 '19 at 6:32
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Both are nearly correct (we just need to define things a little) albeit the meanings are questionable.

The meaning has changed in the second example

1.We can divide children on the ground into two groups: those playing soccer, and those not.

There are 2 groups of children. One group is playing soccer the other group is not playing soccer at this time.

2.We can divide children on the ground into two groups: those playing soccer, and those who do not.

There are 2 groups of children. One group is playing soccer the other group does not (ever) play soccer.

Also the choice of the wording "on the ground" is less than desirable. The meaning is not appropriate in this situation.

on the ground; Cambridge English Dictionary among the general public:

It would be clearer to rewrite the sentences as;

We can divide the children into two groups: those playing soccer, and those not.

We can divide the children into two groups: those playing soccer, and those who do not.

Note I have added the word The as Children in this case are a definitive article

the; Cambridge English Dictionary definite article: the definite article (PARTICULAR) ​used before a noun to refer to a particular thing because it is clear which thing is intended:

That answers your question. However only you know what meaning you intended.

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  • Thanks for your answer. For comparison, the second sentence should be "and those who are not". – user150245 Aug 21 '19 at 1:55
  • @user150245 Or we could change the first part of the comparison and leave the second unchanged giving "We can divide the children on the ground into two groups: those who play soccer and those who do not." – BoldBen Aug 21 '19 at 2:05
  • OK. To make it more clear, instead of using the verb "play", is it correct to say "We can divide the children there into two groups: those wearing hats, and those not"? – user150245 Aug 21 '19 at 2:14
  • Yes except for one small problem, In the stand alone sentence you have given there has no meaning it has not been defined. Ether omit it "We can divide the children into two groups: those wearing hats, and those not" or define it, "We can divide the children in the yard into two groups: those wearing hats, and those not" – Brad Aug 21 '19 at 2:28
  • I wouldn't recommend We can divide the children into two groups: those playing soccer, and those who do not. When the ellipsis is filled out, the second coordinate becomes those who do not playing soccer, which is of course ungrammatical. – BillJ Aug 21 '19 at 6:47

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