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He wrote 5 novels, and she wrote 4 songs. I think you can say:

a. He wrote more novels than she wrote songs.

b. He wrote more novels than she did songs.

Since the verb is repeated, can you omit it?

c. He wrote more novels than she songs.

Is c. grammatical even if it's not as natural? Or is it ungrammatical? If it's ungrammatical, why?

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  • c. is incorrect
    – user150280
    Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 8:13
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    c is less natural than the others, though it seems no less "correct" than, "He teaches science and she music". The awkwardness comes from the strong expectation of a final verb. "she songs" sounds like a wonky verb! "She eats more fish than I meat, more eggs than he rolls." Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 8:23
  • @OldBrixtonian How about He wrote novels and she songs and He teaches science better than she music?
    – listeneva
    Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 1:44

2 Answers 2

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While c) would seem to follow the principles of parallelism, it is not a natural construction. The verb should not be omitted, though it may be replaced with a form of "do".

So c) is not correct. I don't know if "why" is ever a good question when grammar is in question, but I speculate that it is because English doesn't distinguish nouns from verbs by the word endings. So "...than she songs" appears to be a verb "to song" which is an error.

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  • If it's because "songs" appears to be a verb, how about He wrote more novels than she poems?
    – listeneva
    Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 15:36
  • Still looks like a verb "to poem". But asking "why" for any grammar rule is pointless. Language doesn't have a "why".
    – James K
    Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 17:12
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    Native speakers rarely need to investigate the why, but others do much more often. Also, whenever native speakers can easily explain the why, they don't dismiss why questions as pointless.
    – listeneva
    Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 1:18
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c. He wrote more novels than she songs.

We could consider adding a gapping comma to reduce ambiguity.

We use a gapping comma to show that one or more words have been left out when the missing words would simply repeat the words already used earlier in the same sentence.

c. He wrote more novels than she, songs.

With this comma, songs would be less likely to be interpreted as a verb.

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