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- The number of people at the meeting is larger than last week.


Some of my colleagues think it should be "last week's". However, I believe this is ellipsis:

"The number of people at the meeting is larger than [it was] last week."

Ellipsis occurs when the missing elements are recoverable from the context, even if, as here, adaptation is necessary.

What do you think?


(Source: A mock exam held in Iran)

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Mr genuineSome of my colleagues think it should be "last week's".

This isn't right. It would have to be: "The number of people at the meeting is larger than (it was) at last week's".

Mr genuine However, I believe this is ellipsis:
"The number of people at the meeting is larger than [it was] last week."

This explanation seems reasonable.

Comments  
Mr genuineWhat do you think?

I agree with you. The possessive would refer to what? "Number"? That would hark back to a previous possessive that isn't there: "This week's number of people at the meeting is larger than last week's." By the way, that ellipsis goes a bit too far. The sentence as it stands is awkward at best and is unacceptable in formal writing. It is, however, common in speech.

 GPY's reply was promoted to an answer.