very tall and strong

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very tall and strong

Post by azz » Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:57 am

a. Tom is very tall and strong.

It seems to me that (a) could be interpreted in two ways
1. Tom is strong and he is very tall.
and
2. Tom is very strong and very tall.

Would you say I am correct?

I suppose the context would always clarify things, but let us say I wanted to make it absolutely clear that meaning (1) was intended.

Which of the following could I use?


b. Tom is strong and very tall.
c. Tom is very tall and also strong.
d. Tom is very tall, and strong.


I think (b) and (c) work, but the one that interests me most is (d). Do you find it acceptable with that punctuation? I think it might work in spoken English, but it still seems ambiguous to me. 'And strong' seems to have been added on as an afterthought, and it is not clear whether the speaker meant 'very strong' or just 'stong'.

Many thanks.
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Re: very tall and strong

Post by gdwdwrkr » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:17 pm

If it is a "speaker" you are writing about, and not a writer, then the tones and cadence would convey as much information as context would.
Since it is the written-form about which you ask, all your questions remain, and added explanations would be necessary, if you want absolute clarity for the reader.
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Re: very tall and strong

Post by Phil White » Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:28 pm

In theory, b, c, and d should all work, but I would never rely on punctuation to express a nuance if there is a clearer way of doing it. There is nothing wrong with b. Indeed, it is the simplest and most elegant solution.
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Signature: Phil White
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Re: very tall and strong

Post by Shelley » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:09 am

Agree with Phil White. Less is more.
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Re: very tall and strong

Post by Kippiis » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:48 pm

B and C should work.
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Re: very tall and strong

Post by Shelley » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:13 pm

In my opinion, the problem with C is the redundancy of "and also". You can say "and", or "also", but saying them together is repetitive.
Hi there, Kippiis. And "cheers" to you, too!
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