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Hi,
I noticed I have trouble with adjectives when used alone.
A black cat and a white cat.
A black cat and a white one.

Ok. Those are ok, but what should I do if I wanted to remove one noun or pronoun?
A black and a white cat.
A black and white cat. <--- No, this would refer to one cat that is black and white
A black and a white cats. <--- No


And what if use the determinative adjective? I want to say "the black cat and the white cat"...
The black and the white cat.
The black and the white cats.
The black and white cats.
The black and white cat.


Hmm, what do the native speakers say? Thanks.
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Comments  
Hi

I would say

A black cat and a white cat .............

The black cat and the white cat (if there is only one of each)

The black cats and the white cats (if there are more than one of each)

One way round the problem would be to use Both, at the beginning of the sentence.

Both the black and white cat like milk.

Both the black and white cats are available for purchase.

Just my opinion!
I see thanks. So if you have a sentence like "The black cat and the white cat were playing", would you turn it into...
The black and the white cat were playing.
... using the singular "cat" and not "cats", right?
And if I left out the second article too...
The black and white cat were playing.
...it would sound bad, right?

Thanks again.
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Hi Kooyeen
KooyeenThe black and white cat were playing.
KooyeenThe black and the white cat were playing.
If you use 'cat', it means you are referring to one cat.
Yoong LiatIf you use 'cat', it means you are referring to one cat.
Hi,
sorry, I don't understand. Did you mean...
1 - The black and white cat. <--- One cat, I agree.
2 - The black and the white cat. <--- There are two here


My problem involved that second sentence... Should it be "cat" or "cats"?
Kooyeen2 - The black and the white cat. <--- There are two here

I would reword as: The black cat and the white one...

To me, The black and the white cat is not correct grammatically, if you want to refer to two cats.
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Kooyeen
Yoong LiatIf you use 'cat', it means you are referring to one cat.
Hi,
sorry, I don't understand. Did you mean...
1 - The black and white cat. <--- One cat, I agree.
2 - The black and the white cat. <--- There are two here


My problem involved that second sentence... Should it be "cat" or "cats"?

Definitely two cats.
Grammar GeekDefinitely two cats.
Hmm. Emotion: crying Barb, I am confused.

"The black and the white horse are..." - Introductory Lessons in English Grammar - By William Henry Maxwell

She lost the black and the white kitten. (two kittens) - DAILY GRAMMAR - - - - by Mr. Johanson
http://www.dailygrammar.com/041to045.shtml

The all suggest the singular, I don't know why. Anyway, you would use the singular if you used the article "a", wouldn't you? A black and a white cat... not cats... even though there are two in this case as well.

I faced this problem recently, when I had to write something like "To verify that the empirical distribution and the theoretical distribution..." and I thought of saying "To verify that the empirical and the theoretical distribution..." oops, or distributions? There is one empirical distribution, and one theoretical distribution. Using the plural might sound like there is more than one empirical distr. and more than one theoretical distr. These things always confuse me, I hate them! Emotion: angry Thanks.

EDIT: I might have found an answer:
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/GRAMMAR/grammarlogs2/grammarlogs397.htm
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Question: During the summer between your first and second years as a teacher... or (between your first and second year as a teacher...). Instinct tells me the first way is correct -- but I don't know how to explain why.
Answer:
We may be able to come to grips with this question by identifying the words that have been omitted from the relevant phrases, and that therefore have to be understood. As an example I'll consider the phrase 'the first and second boy(s)'. I feel that the noun here should be plural, for the reason given below. Here are the various possibilities for ellipsis:
  1. the first boy and the second boy [no ellipsis]
  2. the first and the second boy [ellipsis of earlier noun]
  3. the first boy and the second [ellipsis of later noun]
  4. the first and second boys [ellipsis of earlier noun and later article]
  5. In (1) through (3) the noun remains singular. In (4), we omit both a noun and an article. It seems to be difficult to mentally supply both, and this has the effect of turning 'first and second' into a plural modifier. The phrase is then analogous to 'the two boys'.
    The other examples given can be similarly accounted for:
    1. In 'between your first and second years as a teacher' and 'Their house is somewhere between the first and second streetlights', there is ellipsis of an earlier noun and a later article or possessive pronoun, so that 'first and second' effectively becomes a plural modifier. These are therefore both correct in the plural form, as initially suggested by both you and your correspondent.
    2. In 'between first and second base' there is no article, so it is a simple case of ellipsis of the earlier noun, as in (2) above: 'between first base and second base'. So this is correct in the singular form, as suggested by Mr Eason.
    3. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      If I decided to use that rule of thumb, I would have:
      A white and a black cat. = Two cats, one is black, the other is white.
      The black and the white cat. = Two cats, one is black, the other is white.
      The black and white cats. = Either one black cat and a white one, or two cats that are the same color, black and white. Context tells you the meaning.

      Does that make sense? I hope it does. Emotion: smile


I hadn't thought about ellipsis.

A black and a white cat - yes, that does make sense for two cats when you think about ellipsis.
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