8

Let me show you an example of this: blah blah

Here is another subtle example: blah blah

Is it technically strange to combine "another" and "subtle" (or whatever adjectives) here, when the first "example" is not "subtle" ? Do I have to say like this?

Here is another example which is subtle: blah blah

Compare it with these sentences which I think are perfectly valid:

Let me show you a subtle example of this: blah blah

Here is another subtle example: blah blah

because both "examples" are "subtle".

  • Good question. As a native speaker I run into this problem too. – Jacob Mar 6 '16 at 17:51
11

As pointed out, adding subtle to the second sentence makes the sentence seem out of place due to a lack of parallelism. You could, however, specify that the second example is more subtle than the former. This would maintain readability and provide the intended differentiation from the previous sentence.

Let me show you an example of this: blah blah

Here is another, more subtle example: blah blah blah

Or

Let me show you an example of this: blah blah

Here is a more subtle example of this: blah blah

  • 2
    +1 ... but I'd used subtler rather than more subtle. – StoneyB Mar 6 '16 at 16:28
  • Anecdotally, I don't think I've ever heard "subtler" used, and it sounds awkward to me. "more subtle" is a pretty safe bet. – jtbandes Mar 7 '16 at 7:42
  • @jtbandes Agreed. "Subtler" would destroy the flow of the sentence. – legowave440 Mar 7 '16 at 14:17
3

Let me show you an example of the mesomeric effect: ...
Here is another interesting example: ...

Adding an adjective this way is perfectly okay. The implication is that the previous example was also interesting.

If you want to make it clear that it is only the second example that seems particularly interesting to you, you might put it thus:

Let me show you an example of the mesomeric effect: ...
Here is another example, and it's interesting: ...


P.S. User83984's example

Here is a more subtle example of this: blah blah

is great, it looks very natural.

2

I don't think the use of the adjectives "another" and "subtle" together is wrong per se. It just makes it unclear whether you are suggesting the first example is subtle, or just the second - and thus probably poor style. The problem arises because "another subtle" can either be interpreted as one descriptive idea (implying the first example is subtle) or as separate ideas (with no such implication).

I think a good way of getting around the problem and minimising additional words is to use commas to separate the second adjective. This "de-links" the two adjectives, showing that you mean that both apply separately and removing any suggestion of describing the first example. Viz:

Here is another, subtle, example: blah blah

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