In the following text, I wonder if it's grammatical to finish the sentence with also. it does sound weird to me. The sentence sound incomplete somehow and makes the audience wait for more.

Here this equation must be understood to mean not only that both sides have the same value when they are defined, but also that when either side of the equation is undefined, the other is also.

I know it's the other is also [undefined], but I've never seen a construction like that. If it's grammatical, what is it called?

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    There's a comma missing: "the other is, also." – Peter Shor Dec 2 '12 at 15:37
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    @PeterShor: There is no comma where you suggested. – Gigili Dec 2 '12 at 15:43
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    @Gigili There isn’t one now, but there should be, which I trust is @Peter’s point. – tchrist Dec 2 '12 at 16:56
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    Regardless of whether it's acceptable to end the sentence with "also" (I personally don't like it one bit), it's stylistically appalling to use the word twice in the same sentence like that. – FumbleFingers Dec 2 '12 at 17:16
  • @tchrist: I got Peter's point and I was pointing out that in my book there is no comma before also. – Gigili Dec 2 '12 at 17:22

It's perfectly grammatical, and can be substituted by other words and phrases too and as well.

I don't use also there myself, as it sounds rather American to me, but I accept it.

In this case it is a bit awkward because of the repetition of also so it might be clearer if you used one of the other possibilities.

Traditionally it is simply an adverb.

  • As a fellow Brit, I also find it decidedly "odd". I'd never move that "also" to the end of the sentence. But is there any evidence that Americans find it any more acceptable than we do? – FumbleFingers Dec 2 '12 at 16:11
  • @FumbleFingers Count me out. It doesn’t seem quite right over here, either. But notice my comma before either. – tchrist Dec 2 '12 at 16:21
  • @tchrist: That comma doesn't bother me, but I wouldn't normally bother with it either. And in that sentence I would never include the comma, since if you asked me to read it out loud I wouldn't pause at that point. I'm guessing the tendency to include it regardless of the potential spoken cadence is stronger for Americans, since Peter Shor would like one before OP's trailing "also". – FumbleFingers Dec 2 '12 at 16:34
  • Non-traditionally, also etc are pragmatic markers with conjunctive role showing addition. I rarely feel kindly about the adverb dustbin, but... – Edwin Ashworth Dec 2 '12 at 16:59
  • @FumbleFingers: I think I'd pause slightly at that point reading it out loud, which is why I'd put in the comma. If I didn't want to pause, I'd have to say "the other also is." – Peter Shor Dec 2 '12 at 17:07

I agree with Colin it is grammatical. As noted in question, the word undefined has been elided at the end. I also agree that too or as well can be substituted in place of also , and imagine those might be used more frequently. However, I don't like any of those forms and would use another. In ascending order of preference:

... the other is also.
... the other is, also.
... the other is as well.
... the other is too.
... the other also is undefined.
... the other also is.
... so is the other.

  • Per my comment to the question, since the word "also" has already been used in the preceding clause, it's absolutely awful to repeat it, regardless of the exact wording. So in OP's specific context your "order of preference" should have #3 in the penultimate position. Other than that, I agree completely. – FumbleFingers Dec 2 '12 at 17:19
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    I'm perhaps less sensitive to the repetition of also, and don't regard its repetition as “absolutely awful”; nevertheless, I now agree “the other is as well” should be preferred to the variants with also in them. But not preferred to “so is the other”. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Dec 2 '12 at 17:58
  • Absolutely - the last one is by far the best to me. – FumbleFingers Dec 2 '12 at 18:59

Try changing the original:

Here this equation must be understood to mean not only that both sides have the same value when they are defined, but also that when either side of the equation is undefined, the other is also.

to this:

This equation assumes that both sides have the same value when both sides are defined or both undefined when either side is undefined.

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    Hi @lep, welcome to ELU. Your rephrasing is definitely an improvement on OP's original. But note that he's not asking for a better form of words - he's simply asking whether his example would be considered acceptable. – FumbleFingers Dec 2 '12 at 17:22
  • @FumbleFingers: I am not a he. – Gigili Dec 2 '12 at 17:31
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    Lol! It's an ELU slapdown! :-) – Kristina Lopez Dec 2 '12 at 17:46
  • @Gigili: Sorry - I'll try to remember that! (I think I "sorta" knew, but forgot :) – FumbleFingers Dec 2 '12 at 18:58

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