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Let us consider the sentence

I see a green scarf and an orange scarf.

What are some possible ways to shorten this sentence while keeping the meaning? Which of the following is/are correct?

1. I see a green and orange scarf.

2. I see a green and orange scarves.

3. I see a green and an orange scarf.

4. I see a green and an orange scarves.

I think that I see green and orange scarves would be grammatically correct, however it would change the meaning because it is not clear anymore how many scarves are there.

This question may be answered elsewhere, but it is not obvious how to chose the title and therefore what search queries to try. I was not able to find anything online.

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    You are correct that one can also say "I see green and orange scarves", which could actually mean "I see a green scarf and an orange scarf", or "I see (multiple) green scarves and (multiple) orange scarves", or even "I see (multicolor) green-and-orange scarves". Despite this ambiguity, many people might say it this way anyway.
    – Foogod
    Nov 26, 2019 at 23:27

1 Answer 1

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(1) means one scarf of two colours.

(2) and (4) are wrong: we can't say a scarves.

(3) is correct, if a bit formal.

I think most English speakers would say "I see a green scarf and an orange one", but that's the same number of words.

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