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Please consider the following, guys. I met a good and a bad mother on the way here What I am trying to say: There were two mothers, one bad and one good. Is it okay to use that construction? Or need I remove the articles and use mothers instead?

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    Does this answer your question? Plural or singular noun when it refers to two things in a list In your example, repeating the article strongly implies there are two different mothers, whereas omitting the second one implies a single mother (who is both good and bad). Plural mothers (with no articles, obviously) could refer to any number of mothers - some good, some bad. May 18, 2020 at 10:58
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    (a) 'I met a good mother and a bad mother ....' Totally correct, though a little ponderous in many contexts. // (b) 'I met a good and a bad mother ....' Totally correct; the usual choice. // (c) 'I met a good and bad mother ....' Sounds odd, and means you met one mother who displayed both good and bad traits. // (d) 'I met good and bad mothers ....' At least 2 in each category. May 18, 2020 at 11:17
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    No, that's not idiomatic. It might just be used by an educated native speaker for effect, probably comedic, but it is a marked usage. 'Yesterday I met two mothers – one good and one bad' is more natural. May 18, 2020 at 11:57
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    @FadliSheikh I met good and bad mothers, one good and one bad sounds quite reasonable if used in the context of a riddle (How many mothers did I meet?) but the fact that there are only two makes it slightly unusual. On the other hand, purely in terms of how we use language, this would be fine: I met good and bad mothers, some tall, some short, five good, and one bad. The reason why that sounds more natural is because there are many mothers, not just two. If there are only two, we would normally phrase it this way: I met two mothers, one good and one bad. May 18, 2020 at 15:12
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    @FadliSheikh But, also, it would be somewhat redundant to mention good and bad mothers twice, Even better, in case of many mothers, would be one of the following: (1) I met good and bad mothers, some tall and some short. (2) I met many mothers, some tall, some short, five good, and one bad. In short, there are multiple issues with the original sentence in the comment describing only two mothers. However, purely syntactically, it's fine. May 18, 2020 at 15:17

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