Is following sentence grammatically correct?

The world is getting smaller and international connections tighter.

What kind of construct is this? Parallel structure?

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    possible duplicate of Using verbs with multiple meanings – Robusto May 1 '12 at 14:35
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    It seems fine to me. Some purist may object that the verbs "is" and "are" should not be elided into a single "is", but I wouldn't worry. – GEdgar May 1 '12 at 14:38
  • @Robusto, I don't see it. I think the OP is asking is it grammatical to leave out the "are getting" after the word connections. And what you call that. Alex, correct? – JLG May 1 '12 at 14:39
  • @JLG exactly, second part of sentence feels little awkward for me, but I'm not sure why and I don't know if this feeling is right or wrong. – AlexD May 1 '12 at 14:44
  • Ah, so your only concern is about the ellipsis and the implied number disagreement? – Robusto May 1 '12 at 14:47

In a sentence like

The world is getting smaller and the global economy more tightly integrated

the omission of ‘is getting’ in the second clause is fine, because the subject in each case is singular. Where one subject is singular and the other plural in a sentence such as the one the OP gives as an example, many readers might feel there’s something wrong. So let’s be pragmatic. Whatever the grammatical rights and wrongs, it takes only a little extra effort to write instead ‘The world is getting smaller and international connections are getting tighter’. That way you can be sure of getting your meaning across to the maximum number of readers without any of them being distracted by what may, admittedly, be a trivial grammatical point.


Yes, it's completely grammatical and is an example of ellipsis just as:

Daniel plays tennis while Jonathan and Andrew [play] rugby.

My parents went to Spain and so might my sister [go to Spain].

As exemplified here, ellipsis can occur even when the precise declined forms that the implied words would take if they were expressly included are not necessarily the same as the precise forms actually surfacing in the utterance. So for example, the form "went" is expressed, but the implied form of this verb is the infinitive "go".

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    I don't really like either of these example sentences. Maybe I'm a purist (and didn't know it). – JLG May 1 '12 at 15:30
  • Well, you're free not to like them or any other utterance of English. But they're grammatical, which is really the point of the question and my answer. If you don't like them because you're a "purist", that implies you think there's something "impure" about them. I'm not sure you'll find an objective basis for that. But as I say, you're free to decide not to like these sentences, or any sentence with thirteen syllables or starting with a low vowel etc. – Neil Coffey May 1 '12 at 16:31
  • I agree with JLG. Both of these are stretching the rules of ellipsis: I would say the second stretches them to breaking point. So might my sister go would be grammatical though stilted, but the implied verb in the example is * so might my sister went. – Tim Lymington May 1 '12 at 16:38
  • @Neil Coffey, I was referring to GEdgar's comment about purists (under the question). – JLG May 1 '12 at 16:55
  • Tim - the implied verb is "go". As I say-- and that's the point of these examples-- assuming that the form that is implied has to be precisely the same surface form as that which is expressed is simply that: an assumption, which these examples show to be false. – Neil Coffey May 1 '12 at 17:44

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