1. libertango
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    libertango New Member

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    There is no X, no Y.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by libertango, Apr 1, 2010.

    (X and Y are both nouns).

    I have a sentence: There are no Xs, no Ys.

    Is this structure correct? If it isn't correct, then might it still be OK for fiction?
     
  2. dazbizkit
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    dazbizkit Member

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    If it's being used in dialogue I'd say it's perfectly Ok to be structured that way. If it's in a first person perspective it can also be used like that.

    But, if it's in third person I'd probably encourage a more formal structuring like:

    There are no Xs or Ys.

    Or

    There are no Xs and no Ys.


    But it also depends on the impact you want the sentence to have. There's really no strict rules to follow regarding this sentence.
     
  3. libertango
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    libertango New Member

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    Thank you. It is in third person. For now, I will change it to "There are no Xs and no Ys.", because I know you are correct..... though part of me still prefers the original rhythm. (Not sure why)

    Thanks again
     
  4. dazbizkit
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    dazbizkit Member

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    Glad to help!
    If the sentence is being used for impact like I previously said. For example:

    There are no trees, no life.

    Then I'd rather go with you original sentence, it has a more punchy edge to it than the other options.
     
  5. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's actually a huge range of possibilities...
    Something like:
    There was neither life nor hope (formal)
    or
    There wasn't any snow or wind (informal)
    flows better than the other examples posted IMO (no dividing comma; in fact, the OP's example is a fragment, which is fine for dialogue--but that doesn't look like normal dialogue)

    However, it is better to link 2 count or 2 non-count nouns together (countable/uncountable nouns), rather than try and make a sentence like:
    There WERE neither trees, nor WAS there life (because of having to repeat 'there')
    If you are being really poetical or archaic:
    'Life was there not; and trees were there none.' (you never know, you might be trying to use epic or historical language LOL...otherwise, DON'T GO THERE!)
     
  6. Fallen
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    There are no Xs, no Ys.

    That's perfectly fine, even in 3rd person. The comma just shows you've ellipted 'and', which is normal in the flow of conversation and narrative.
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, but who actually speaks like this? And the 'ellipted and' still makes the sentence a fragment--which is fine, if that's the style you're aiming for, but it can become very choppy to read if you try doing it too often.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    plenty of people speak like this, mad... me, for one... i see nothing at all wrong with using the comma-connected version in any instance...
     
  9. Rechar
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    Rechar Member

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    All depends on the subject at hand doesn't it?

    "There was neither life nor hope" reads easy, yet at the same time also sounds empty and cold which invalidates the point of the sentance. Adding in the comma creates a natural pause which gives it a sense of sadness...almost defeatist in tone.
     
  10. dazbizkit
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    dazbizkit Member

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    That's what I was trying to say :p
     

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