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When two things having the same noun but different adjectives are connected with the word "and", should the noun appear twice, written seperately (as in example 1), or is it okay to write the noun only once while the adjectives twice (as in example 2 and 3)? Also, if only one noun appears, should it, having two adjectives, be singular or plural?

Examples:

  1. A Comparison between the Top-Down Approach and the Bottom-Up Approach
  2. A Comparison between the Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches
  3. A Comparison between the Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approach
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There is no rule. All of these options could work in the right context.

Your main concern should probably be clarity. Example 1 is the least ambiguous. You are probably safest going with that option. It is unlikely in this case that anyone would make this mistake, but it's possible to analyze this phrase as: a comparison between the top-down-and-bottom-up-approach [and some other approach].

Consider: a comparison between the purple and green radishes

In this case, there's more ambiguity, since radishes can be purple, green, or purple and green.

One other option that is fairly unambiguous is: a comparison between the purple and the green radish/s. And in your example: a comparison between the top-down and the bottom up approach/es

  • So in the last example, it doesn't matter whether the noun is singular or plural, does it? – user84323 Oct 29 '18 at 23:48
  • Not really. In the singular version, you're really just eliding one "approach" -> "the top-down [approach] and the bottom up approach" – Juhasz Oct 30 '18 at 13:28

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