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I want to shorten "A good boy and a bad boy" omitting one "boy" because it's being repeated.

How can I do that?
I mean, which of the followings has the same or similar meaning as "a good boy and a bad boy"?

A good and a bad boys
A good and a bad boy
A good and bad boys
Good and bad boys

Or something else . . .

1 Answer 1

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I assume your talking about 2 boys, one of whom is good and the other bad. We really need more context but you could say:

Two boys - one good, one bad.

or keep the original "A good boy and a bad boy".

Going through your list:

A good and a bad boys - Grammatically incorrect due to singular/plural.

A good and a bad boy - implies that there is one boy, who is both good and bad.

A good and bad boys - Grammatically incorrect due to singular/plural.

Good and bad boys - Implies that there is a mixed group of good and bad boys.

Can you give us the sentances surrounding the quote for contect please?

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  • Doesn't "there is one boy, who is both good and bad" correspond to "a good and bad boy", not "a good and a bad boy?"
    – Naetmul
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 11:15
  • Both are acceptable. "Is this boy a good boy?" asked the headmaster. "He is both a good and a bad boy", replied his teacher. But "He is both a good and bad boy", "He is both a good boy and a bad boy" and "He is a good and bad boy" all work in this context, where it is clear we are talking about one boy.
    – Steve Ives
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 11:17
  • Actually, we need more context for "A good and a bad boy" to determine if we are talking about one boy or more than one. "He is a good and a bad boy" makes it clear that there is one boy whereas "Standing in the doorway was a good and a bad boy" is ambiguous (and it sounds a bit clumsy in English).
    – Steve Ives
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 11:35

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