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So, I'm writing this sentence:

For some strange and, one would say, unrelated reason my computer failed to boot properly afterwards, and hasn't been able to since.

What am I leaving out here? To boot properly or to fail to boot properly?

  • Hasn't been able to what? Hasn't been able to fail? – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 20 '15 at 12:24
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    I'm trying to say: hasn't been able to boot properly since. – Academise May 20 '15 at 12:52
  • The "omission" is simply the phrase left out of the statement because it's there virtually. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 20 '15 at 12:53
  • But are there no rules as to what part of the sentence is there virtually? You can't just leave out random phrases, of course. – Academise May 20 '15 at 13:09
  • I think you have omitted correctly here. It infers that [it] hasn't been able to [boot properly] since. :::edit::: (Also, I would be inclined to place 'one would say' into parentheses). – PCARR May 20 '15 at 15:47
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For some strange and, one would say, unrelated reason my computer failed to boot properly afterwards, and hasn't been able to X since.

Since this is negative:

hasn't been able to X since.

X can't be fail to boot because you'd be saying it did NOT fail to boot, which would mean it booted successfully, so then your whole sentence would contradict itself.

So X is boot properly.

In the usual context the sentence as written is fine. However, if you were talking about other things regarding your computer in the same paragraph or conversation, there could be confusion, and at least boot should be there. Example:

My computer is fast and loads Photoshop quickly. Then it stopped loading Photoshop. Also, one day it didn't boot properly, and never did since that day.

I don't really know if never did refers to not booting or not loading Photoshop, from here, I'd glean you'd probably mean it didn't boot properly since that's the last thing mentioned, but there could be confusion.

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    It would have been better if the downvoter had left a reason. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 20 '15 at 12:55
  • So you're saying the sentence is gramatically correct, because otherwise it would logically contradict itself? – Academise May 20 '15 at 13:04
  • The sentence is fine, if a bit convoluted. Not sure why this answer was given, since' fail' modifies' to boot' and 'hasn't been able to' refers to 'to boot' and so as written, the sentence is fine. – MarkTO Dec 24 '18 at 20:12
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I personally consider breaking the sentence when unable to construct a big one. Here is how I would say it:

For some strange, and somewhat unrelated reason, my computer failed to boot properly afterwards. It hasn't been able to boot since then.

Beware: I'm new to grammar myself so my answer might be completely wrong.

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    Your advice is sound, and your answer contains the answer to the OP's question, even though you do not directly address the question asked. :) – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 20 '15 at 12:26
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    @ Phoenix : When you are not sure, do not answer. – serenesat May 20 '15 at 12:29
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    @serenesat But why not? – Phoenix May 20 '15 at 12:48
  • Thanks for the advice. The sentence is better broken up. But I'd still like to know whether I'm omitting correctly, here. – Academise May 20 '15 at 12:56
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    Actually, I think writing answers can sometimes be a great way to learn, especially if you're not completely sure. When you explain something to others, you tend to learn it extremely well, because your empathy for the reader leads you to consider the topic more thoroughly than you normally would just by yourself. If you make a mistake, people here will add comments to your answer, pointing it out and (sometimes) suggesting ways to fix it. Even some of the most sophisticated answerers here sometimes make mistakes, and they're always learning new and unexpected things. – Ben Kovitz May 20 '15 at 15:21

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