1

Suppose the following sentence

Safety of a typical car depends on correctness and toughness of its body, of all its wheels and of its engine.

In this sentence, can I omit two last of without this sentence being ungrammatical? In other words, is the following sentence usual and grammatical at all?

Safety of a typical car depends on correctness and toughness of its body, all its wheels and its engine.

If this one is also grammatical, so as a native English speaker, you prefer to say/write which one?

  • The latter is grammatical, but you're changing the meaning of the sentence. – M.A.R. Feb 26 '15 at 10:13
  • @MARamezani Thanks for reply, Could you please tell me what does the second one mean? or what is its difference from the first one? – Hi I'm Frogatto Feb 26 '15 at 10:34
2

Safety of a typical car depends on correctness and toughness of its body, of all its wheels and of its engine.

The sentence is grammatical. The meaning: The safety of a typical car depends on:

  • correctness and toughness of its body
  • correctness and toughness of all its wheels
  • correctness and toughness of its engine

As were unnecessary, the words "correctness and toughness" were cut out. (ellipsis)
If you change the sentence to be as following:

Safety of a typical car depends on correctness and toughness of its body, all its wheels and its engine.

the sentence would still be grammatical, but, meaning: The safety of a typical car depends on:

  • correctness and toughness of its body
  • all its wheels
  • its engine

That meaning is what most will understand. The author of the former sentence wanted to avoid ambiguity and put that "of" before the "all its wheels" and "its engine", to clearly indicate the ellipsis that occurred about the words "correctness and toughness".

  • 1
    I'm not sure about most. I for one would read the sentence without the repeated of as if of would refer to all three items. But of course, n=1. – oerkelens Feb 26 '15 at 11:47
  • Oh @oerkelens, the point is, ambiguity is what we have to avoid. (Unless we're a poet :) I used most, but even if a minority misunderstand the sentence, the credibility of the author gets questioned. I've learned that in most languages, scientific writing must be clear. – M.A.R. Feb 26 '15 at 11:50

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