Democracies can <be?> and typically are ....


Senior Member
South Korea, Han-gul
The sentence below is from a political science book."essentially+the+same+structural+forms+of+politics+can"&source=bl&ots=gm0x3otlpn&sig=qHuend8_Pbdu6FO1OM1XMxPlZd4&hl=ko&sa=X&ei=8UTRT-OXCeWJmQX346yHAw&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q="essentially the same structural forms of politics can"&f=false

In the sentence, it seems to me that the underlined part should be like "Democracies can be and typically are distinguished" so "be" can be agreed with "distinguished."

Am I right?
(I'm not saying the part is absolutely wrong, I'm just asking whether "be" can be inserted to make a suitable agreement. I know there are many cases in sentences that seem to be wrong in terms of grammatical sense, but OK in a sense of usage.)

For example, a dictatorship can, in theory, be brutal or benevolent; anarchy can, in theory, consist of "mutual aid" or a "war of all against all" that proceeds in the absence of any rule of law whatsoever; democracies can and typically are distinguished in terms of the extent to which they are socially oriented as opposed to individualistically oriented.
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Yes, I think that 'be' got lost somehow.
    I would say the version given was "incorrect".
    This is not an accepted usage.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I agree with Cagey, and my guess—based on some sad professional experiences—is that some editor or proofreader wasn't paying attention. Reading too quickly or carelessly can let you "see" words that ought to be there but aren't.

    As William Safire, the late New York Times language columnist, titled one chapter of his amusing, instructive little book Fumblerules, "Proofread carefully to see if you any words out."
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