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Sorry for the poorly worded title. I came across this excerpt while reading, and I really feel like it should be gramatically incorrect. The sentence structure in the title fits for the part before the comma, but not after. However, I plugged the part after the comma into some grammar checkers and they were all fine with it, implying "How pleasant the noises they make" works as an independent sentence. How does it work? Isn't it missing a noun because "noises they make" is the subject? I would expect the "are" in brackets to be there, but it wasn't in the original text.

How detestable I find those insects, how pleasant the noises they make (are) when I crush them. It is strange, truly; I despise the silence of their absence more.

Thanks in advance everyone!

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    As you point out, the matrix clause is verbless. We could insert "are" in the location you suggest, or immediately after the exclamative phrase, as in "how pleasant are the noises they make ...", but this isn't necessary, since the original is fine.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 12:03

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How detestable I find those insects, how pleasant the noises they make when I crush them....

The sentence as written is put together very well. But something has been omitted from it: I find (not are.) This omission of words/ phrases from sentences that ain't "necessary" is quite common in the English language. In fact, there's a generic name for such omissions of words and phrases from sentences: Ellipsis. It is further subdivided into lots more types (in this case, the subtype being Gapping.)

A fuller version of the sentence might look like this:

How detestable I find those insects, how pleasant (I find) the noises they make when I crush them. It is strange, truly; I despise the silence of their absence more.

As you can see, the sentence has perfect parallelism as well:

How [adj.] I find [NP], how [adj.] (elided phrase) [NP]...

Actually, by thrusting are into the sentence, you're making it ungrammatical.

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    Note that the title question asks for an explanation of the declarative/exclamatory sentence itself: How does the grammar work behind << "How [adjective] [subject] [verb] [object]" >> = << "How detestable I find those insects" >>? Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 12:44
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    Actually this isn't gapping; gapping would delete only the verb, not its subject as well, as in Jack eats meat, and his wife vegetables. Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 16:34
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    Let's admit the sentence is dark humor, but its irony more than makes up for a quasi comma splice. May even rely on it. Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 23:45

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