Is "John has a ball and Jack a bat" correct?

Could you also help me complete the following:

  • John, Jack: subjects
  • ball, bat: objects
  • has: [?]
  • a: article

What are all the four categories called together besides words?

  • 1
    What do you think it might be? Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 6:53
  • @MichaelHarvey It seems to me that it is correct because the expression is clear.
    – ananta
    Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 7:26
  • 1
    I am asking about your second question, that is, 'what part of speech is 'has'? Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 8:47
  • Discarding the repeated verb (has) in this exact example would be more likely in a formal or literary context, and less likely in a relaxed conversational context. Which is a relatively unusual type of stylistic difference - usually, it's the other way around (shorter phrasing is often characteristic of informal utterances). Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 11:49

1 Answer 1


Yes it's grammatically valid. It's an example of gapped coordination, sometimes called gapping. It only works when both verbs are exactly the same, and if so, the verb can then be omitted. Note that you are more likely to find this construction in literary English than in spoken/colloquial English.

John has a ball and Jack [has] a bat.

More examples

She likes cats, and he [likes] dogs

John ate the bread, and Sally [ate] the salad.

He took the train, and she [took] the bus.

You can't use it if the verbs have different meanings

He has money, and she [has] to go home. ❌

For more info, see this article Grammatical Coordination

  • I noticed that you have put a comma between the two clauses in all the examples. Is it because the clauses are independent?
    – ananta
    Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 12:44
  • @aminta - Depends how you look at it, but it is a general convention to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction. So I'm just going to say yes.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 16:33

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