While watching the Daily Show, a commercial came on. Here is the construction:
“…When the Hawk of Achill took a barrel of John Jameson’s whiskey, well that was another matter. But Jameson was generous, the Hawk, greedy, very greedy…”
The issue is “Jameson was generous, the hawk greedy.” There is no verb in the second construction, and we are asked to fill in the verb from context. This is a no-no in a generative description of English grammar.
Are these sentences acceptable English?
- “The doctor put his gown on the table; the nurse, on the cabinet.”
- “The soldier eats his bread with cheese; the general, with caviar.”
- “The soldier eats his bread with cheese; the general, his pita with olives”
- “The bum sleeps in the streets; the oil magnate comfortably, without snoring, in a bed with sheets.”
- “The maid spreads the sheet on the bed; my kitchen knife butter on the bread.”
- “He pitted the two contestents in battle; she, a date”
- “He drove a car; she, a point home.”
- “The surgeon walks to surgery, quickly, and without thinking about all the patients that he lost over the years; John, on the beach.”
Is there a discussion of the rules for mystery implicit verbs? Has anyone encountered an implicit verb construction in a newspaper context?
As others have said, there’s nothing wrong with the construct of sentence in the ad. It reads gruffly, which works well in the context of the ad. Your sentences, meanwhile, are more of a mixed bag:
The soldier eats his bread with cheese, the general, with caviar.
I have no problem with this one, although, as John and JLG said, a semi-colon should be used after the word cheese.
He drove a car, she, a point home.
This one reads like a clever pun. I’m reminded of Groucho Marx: “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”
“The surgeon walks to surgery, quickly, and without thinking about
all the patients that he lost over the years, John on the beach.”
Um, no. It’s not wrong per se, but it reads as if you were trying to deliberately stretch the rules. It reads awkward, because the two parts clash as unrelated. Just because you can write this way, doesn’t mean you should.
“The doctor put his gown on the table, the nurse, on the cabinet.”
Wait… the doctor put the nurse on the cabinet? Then what happened? (This reminds me of some of those humorous newspaper headlines, like “4-H Girls Win Prizes for Fat Calves“).