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I read when "be" is used in double comparative, it is sometimes omitted in the book of "Top Notch", like:

The better the quality of health care (is), the higher the life expectancy (is).

According to the above rule, do I have to eliminate both "is" or could I remain either of them?
What if I keep both of them?
In the book of "Top Notch", there are some examples; one of them is like below:

The higher the life expectancy, the larger the elderly population is.

In this example, "is" is used, while the first part does not have a verb. It seems that one of to be verb can be kept while comments below tell me both of them should be eliminated. To this end, I am getting confused which is which.

2 Answers 2

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In the example

The better the quality of health care (is), the higher the life expectancy (is).

either or both uses of "is" may be retained, and either or both may be omitted and implied. This may be a complete sentence, or it could be used as part of a larger sentence, depending on the context.

The second example given is:

The higher the life expectancy, the larger the elderly population is.

This is grammatically valid, but so is:

The higher the life expectancy, the larger the elderly population.

and so would such fuller forms as

The higher the life expectancy of the population is, the larger the elderly population will be.

Indeed O think "will be" is better than "is" for the second part of this example, if any form of the verb "to be" is used there.

In parallel constructions, it is often more effective to have both verbs left in or both implied, but this is not any sort of rule, and sometimes clarity requires that one verb at least be present.

I do not know the book Top Notch, so I cannot comment on its quality as a source of English grammar.

By the way if Top Notch is the title of the book, one would usually write simply "the book Top Notch" not "the book of Top Notch". Books of the Bible are an exception, there the usual form is "the Book of Genesis" or "the Book of X". In some cases the phrase "the book of" is part of the title, as in The Book of Lists. But otherwise "of": sounds odd to a native speaker in this use.

I would also say that I would not describe your examples as "double comparatives". In each one thing is being compared with one other thing.

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You have to eliminate both of them. It's not a complete sentence, and it doesn't need a verb. This is pretty tricky — some native speakers mix this up while speaking (though hopefully not while writing).

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  • This is not correct, as the example is a complete sentence, at least with both of the uses of "is" in place.
    – David Siegel
    Sep 28, 2021 at 22:08

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