English as a Second Language/Do you agree?


"Cannibals kill, skin, cook, and eat humans as butchers do poultry."

Since "do" is followed by an object, it is used as an action verb rather than a pro-verb, and "people do birds" makes no sense, therefore it is wrong although others may know at a guess that it means the four verbs before "humans".
People being able to guess the meaning does not necessarily signify that the usage is correct.

Do you agree?

Hello again Matthew,

Indeed "do" here is an action verb (it's followed by an object) just like you said.
"People do birds" makes no sense, you're absolutely right about that too.

As I mentioned before, I think some people can (after thinking about your sentence) understand the message you are trying to convey, but as I said before I doubt that the sentence is correct as written.

"Do" is a pro-verb or a helping verb when it is not followed by an object (not the case in your example), so I'm thinking that in your sentence "do" doesn't substitute the previous action verbs: kill, skin, cook, eat.

With this in mind, I think the sentence above doesn't qualify as an proper example of elliptical construction usage.

Long story short - the answer to your question: yes, I agree with you!

Please feel free to follow up if you still have doubts about this or if you have any other questions you think I may be able to help you with.

Best regards,  

English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker


I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.


I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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