As I'm working my way in Duolingo I got an exercise to translate a sentence from Russian to English. The accepted translating is "I have a warm jacket and a warm sweater".

In the comments on this question, one person states:

Why does it keep saying I need the second article in sentences like this? As far as I'm concerned, it's fine in English to say "I have a warm jacket and warm sweater" (...)

The commenter goes on to say is even more natural to drop the second adjective and say "a warm jacket and sweater".

(Here is a link to the discussion, though I'm not sure it is accessible without registering).

This seems wrong to me - I think the translation as written above is correct, and should be the one and only acceptable one. However, several other commenters agree with this comment, and not even one says it is wrong. (Note that Russian has no articles, but the translation in this case is straightforward).

My questing is not about translation but about the English sentence. I assume in informal spoken language some people would use "a warm jacket and sweater". But is it common to just drop the second article (keeping the two adjectives)? Also, is it correct English in the strict sense?

  • 3
    I have a warm jacket and sweater is not only grammatical but the most idiomatic of the possible phrasings. In a parallel list structure, it's very common to drop any redundant words. We assume that they apply to each list item—and it's more natural to use fewer words. – Jason Bassford Jul 27 '19 at 17:18
  • I have a warm hat and gloves, or I have warm gloves and hat. I am not using them in Britain at the moment. – Michael Harvey Jul 27 '19 at 18:30
  • @huckleberry but these have only one adjective. World you omit the article in "warm gloves and a warm hat"? – laugh salutes Monica C Jul 27 '19 at 19:46
  • You can omit an otherwise duplicated adjective. I have a red coat and hat. I ate delicious cakes and fruit. – Michael Harvey Jul 27 '19 at 20:49
  • I understand, but that was not my question. World you omit just the second article if there are two adjectives? – laugh salutes Monica C Jul 27 '19 at 21:02

It is correct English to say "A warm jacket and warm sweater". It is very common to see this kind of pattern when two things are closely linked:

He served tea in a cup and saucer.
He worked out the problem with a pencil and ruler.

The impression given is that the two items are connected and so are thought of as being one combined object.

When the two objects are not related, you would be more likely to repeat "a":

In my bag I have a towel and a camera.

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