His veins have become distended, muscles tightened, the teeth grown a little like claws, and his face has become rough.

This sentence describes what changes in appearance have happened to a person visually.

In "muscles tightened", I omitted "his" and "have". Instead of saying "his teeth have grown", I wrote "the teeth grown". In the last part, I added "has", I didn't omit it.

The reason wrote like this is to make it simple and easy to read. The reason I omitted in the two middle part is that I felt it okay to omit there, I think it still makes sense. I didn't omit the "has" in the last part because I felt, it didn't sound right to me without "has".

I'm not sure whether this kind writing is valid and acceptable in English.

I could have written the above sentence as below, but I didn't.

His veins have become distended, his muscles have tightened, his teeth have grown a little like claws, and his face has become rough.

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    I might write it like this: His face has roughened, veins swollen, muscles tightened, teeth grown out and turned into fangs. I like it when a sentence has some sort of parallelism in it. – Damkerng T. Mar 2 '14 at 14:19
  • I agree completely with @DamkerngT.'s implicit point that Teeth ARE NOT Claws and should not be compared to them. (Teeth -> Fangs is good.) – Hellion Mar 2 '14 at 21:08

If your use of this sentence is creative writing, I think the second version sounds really good - descriptive and potentially evocative.

If you simply want to list the changes to this person, without worrying too much about engaging the reader, then you can employ the technique of "ellipsis", to avoid repeating certain grammatical elements such as auxiliaries and verbs.

Unfortunately, in this example, we need to modify the first version of your sentence.

In order for ellipsis to be possible, every change you list must use "have become" as the point of reference.

That is to say, if you think you can make "muscles tightened", "teeth grown" and "face rough" all refer nicely back to "have become", then you can start omitting "has", "have" and "his". However, I really think your second version is much nicer. If you really want to use ellipsis, here's how I would suggest you do it:

His veins have become distended, his muscles tighter, his face rough and his teeth* a little longer like claws.

*It sounds even better to say: "a little like claws".

Each comma separated element "uses" "have become" as the point of reference, though as you may appreciate, the sentence is now a little clunky, which is why I think your second version is better.

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  • You mean "his teeth a little longer like claws" (but I don't like the longer here; either "a little longer" or "a little like claws" works, but "a little longer like claws" doesn't). – Peter Shor Mar 2 '14 at 12:51
  • I agree with you @PeterShor. I didn't mention it in my answer since I didn't want to add confusion for OP. Edited answer accordingly though - thanks. – JMB Mar 2 '14 at 12:58
  • @JMP okay. I feel omitting both "have" and "his" seems little clunky. Even omitting only "have" doesn't read smoothly. Do you think if I omit only "his" and write it as below, it sounds better? "His veins have become distended, muscles have tightened, the teeth have grown a little like claws, and his face has become rough." – T2E Mar 2 '14 at 19:20
  • Hmmm. It still sounds a bit off to me. I really think the best option is to avoid ellipsis here. If you really want to use it, I stand by my suggestion of repeating "his" and eliminating "have" and the verb. – JMB Mar 2 '14 at 19:24

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