I sometimes find myself writing something like this:

XXX is a project I admire and am very interested in.

The "I <verb> and am <something>" feels strange here. It somehow sounds more natural in the third person: "He admires and is very interested in...."

Am I just imagining things – is it OK to use this construction, or should I use something completely different?

6 Answers 6


This sentence is an example of Conjunction Reduction, the syntactic rule that deletes repeated material in conjoined constituents, for example

  • Bill washed the dishes and Bill swept the floor.
    Bill washed the dishes and swept the floor.
  • Bill washed the dishes and Bill dried the dishes.
    Bill washed and dried the dishes.

The relative clause modifying project in the original sentence is the focus, so let's get it out of a subordinate clause and see what it looks like:

  • I admire and am very interested in the project.

which comes from

  • I admire the project and I am very interested in the project.

by a perfectly normal application of Conjunction Reduction.

There's nothing grammatically wrong with this sentence.

One thing that may make it feel wrong to some -- but not others; there's a lot of individual variation here, since everybody makes up their own internal rules, for their own reasons, about what "sounds right" -- is that the first verb of the conjoined VP (admire) is uninflected for person and number, while the second verb (am) is inflected, for first person singular present tense.

Both verbs agree of course with the same subject, but morphologically instead of syntactically, which may produce some distress to those who require more grammatical parallelism between conjoined verbs.

Another related difficulty might be that the inflected form am is so closely linked to its subject pronoun I that it is difficult to separate them, and indeed most of the time they're contracted to I'm. This makes am feel rather isolated out there.

Again, this isn't a grammatical problem per se, but it can occasion some distress in some readers.

I say "readers" because nobody would say such a sentence, of course. We'd say I'm instead of am, by repeating the subject -- and adding no new syllables, so timing isn't affected. This is allowed syntactically because Conjunction Reduction is an optional rule applied to reduce unwelcome repetition, and in any given case this repetition may simply not be unwelcome.

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    Great answer, thanks. Indeed, my lack of comfort with this sentence is the "isolation" of "am". Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 22:59
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    Isn't the issue rather that admire has a direct object, whereas am very interested in has a prepositional object? A zeugma or "conjunction reduction" can work with that in simple sentences, but the combination of (1.) different kinds of objects and (2.) some distance between the first verb and its object can be off-putting. Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 3:15
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    @Cerberus: I don't think that's a problem; English has lots of phrasal verbs, and mixing them in parallel constructions is generally permissible. e.g. "(cease) and (desist from) doing somthing". Commented May 30, 2012 at 9:27
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    @EdwinAshworth: You'd have to ask Greg about that. He may be right, but i don't aim for pinpoint accuracy in terminology here in ELU; there are few linguists here and our disagreements are mostly irrelevant in this context. Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 0:31
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    I had not met John when he wrote that “nobody would say such a sentence, of course.” When next we meet, I hope I'll find occasion to do so, heh heh. Commented Nov 24, 2019 at 4:50

Not only do I agree that it is grammatically correct, but I don't think it sounds strange or unusual either.

However, the beauty of the English language is that there are usually a dozen different ways of communicating the same things, so if you aren't comfortable with it, by all means use something else.


Grammatically there is nothing wrong with it. And coordinates two of the same type of phrase; am and admire are verbs, so you're just coordinating two verb phrases:

XXX is a project I [[admire] and [am very interested in]].

If the final preposition is making it feel awkward, you could try XXX is a project I admire and in which I'm very interested.

  • I think probably OP feels the construction is a little awkward because two different elements are being elided - "that" (or "which", the project), as well as "I". Personally I agree it might be a step too far in writing, but it's fine in informal speech. Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 14:24
  • I agree that the trailing preposition is the only troublesome part of the example.
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 3:18
  • I like most of this answer, but I think the trailing preposition is fine. The proposed alternative is, in contrast, fairly awkward.
    – user28567
    Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 4:19
  • @FumbleFingers Funny, I would say the exact opposite: it’s fine in writing, but I would never dream of saying it in informal speech, and anyone who did would risk coming off a bit poncy-posh. Colloquially, I would always repeat the subordinator and the pronoun: “XXX is a project I admire and that I’m very interested in”. On the other hand (to alcas and Ben’s point), I would never move up the preposition unless deliberately going for a very formal feel. I agree with snailboat that “… and in which I’m very interested” is awfully clunky and unnatural to me. Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 11:34

I don't think it's technically wrong, but I share your view that it sounds a bit strange.

How about:

Etherpad is a project that has been attracting my interest and admiration for a long time.



It is grammatically correct but it sounds like an "effect" to me, or like a zeugma. These rhetorical effects are better used in a proper context, maybe poetry, maybe humorous, or to attract the attention of the reader on the presence of your sentence. Here it is not the case: you want to attract the attention of the reader to the subject ("XXX"), not to your writing.


If you tweak the structure of your sentence, you can change its rhythm.

Try adding a pronoun to the original to form a compound sentence ...

like this ...

XXX is a project I admire, and I am very interested in it.

or this ...

I admire XXX, and I am very interested in it.

or this ...

XXX is a project I admire, and it holds my interest.

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