we need a table, two chairs, and two beds

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kyotan

Senior Member
Japanese 標準語
Can I skip the number, if it is the same?

I think I can, in this sentence: "We need a table, a vase, and a blind.">>"We need a table, vase and blind."

But I am not sure if the numbers are mixed as this sentence: "We need a table, two chairs, and two beds.">>"We need a table, two chairs and beds."

Thank you.
 
  • GMF1991

    Senior Member
    English (UK, Suffolk)
    Because there are different amounts stated in your phrase, I think you would need to specify two. Otherwise it could be ambiguous, (how many beds?).
     

    GMF1991

    Senior Member
    English (UK, Suffolk)
    Yes, because all of the nouns coming in the list are in their singular form, so this is perfectly clear. :)

    Similarly, if you were to say "we need two tables, chairs and mugs/glasses/cups", the fact that no other number is given gives the implication that you need two of each.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    You can say: 'We need a table and two chairs and beds.' This is a list of two things: (1) a table, and (2) two chairs and beds. The word 'and' is between the two things. Part (2) is also a list, and here you can have 'two' in the front of it, quantifying everything in the (smaller) list. But you do need to make it a separate list within a list. Each list needs to follow the rule that the last item in it is joined by 'and'. Your original example doesn't follow that rule, if it's a list of two things (= if the second thing is 'two chairs and beds'). But if it's a list of three things (the second is 'two chairs' and the third is 'beds'), then you haven't said how many beds. 'Two' can't reach out onto a different item.

    Consider this longer example:

    We need a table and chair, two beds and pillows, and six knives, forks, and spoons.

    Here we have a list of three things. Each item in the list is itself a list. The first list is quantified by 'a', the second by 'two', and the third by 'six'. These apply to everything in the list: 'a table and chair' = 'a table and a chair'; 'two beds and pillows' = 'two beds and two pillows'; 'six knives, forks, and spoons' = 'six knives and six forks and six spoons'.
     
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