Connecting Ideas/Attributes of the same person/item

Connecting Ideas/Attributes of the same person/item

Is this sentence correct?

Correct or not depends how many boyfriends you have.

If you have only one boyfriend, you should change the sentence into:

= My boyfriend is Japanese and he’s an engineer.
= My boyfriend is a Japanese engineer.

If you have 2 boyfriends and if one is a Japanese and the other is an engineer, the caption sentence is correct.*

This difference is the same difference between:

= I ate a (piece of) banana cake
= I ate a banana and a (piece of) cake.

I think everybody learns quite early on that verbs/adjectives cannot be connected using the particle と. We need to use the てform instead. Some examples of that are:

昨日(きのう)は買(か)い物(もの)に行(い)って、クリスマスプレゼントを買(か)いました。[2 verbs]
= I went shopping and bought Christmas presents yesterday.

このセーターは10年前に編み始めて、昨日仕上げたものです。[2 verbs in the contact clause]
= This jumper is what I started to knit 10 years ago and completed yesterday.

私(わたし)の母(はは)は優(やさ)しくて、おもしろい人(ひと)です。[2 いadjectives]
= My mum is nice and funny.

このケーキはあまり甘(あま)くなくておいしいです。[2 いadjectives]
= This cake is not too sweet and delicious.

私(わたし)の父(ちち)は元気で活発(かっぱつ)です。[2 なadjectives]
= My father is healthy and active.

この果物(くだもの)は新鮮(しんせん)でおいしいです。[なadjective + いadjective]
= This fruit is fresh and delicious.

The tricky bit is that the same rule applies to nouns when 2 nouns are describing the SAME thing/person.

= My son is a student and soccer player.

= This necklace is a present from my mother and (is) my treasure.

The bold in the above examples are the て form of です/だ. Being a student and a soccer player are the attributes of one person (in this example “my son”), so you cannot use と here. Similarly, a gift from my mother and being a treasure to me are both attributes of the same one necklace, so you need to connect them with で instead of と.

In case of the caption sentence or the examples of a banana cake, however, you can rewrite it using の as well:

= My boyfriend is a Japanese engineer.
= I ate a (piece of) banana cake

This happens when the first attribute mentioned (a Japanese / banana) is or can be an attribute of the second (an engineer / cake). If 2 attributes you are going to mention have equal importance, probably it’s better to stick to using てform

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* Earlier, I had written “If you have more than one boyfriend and if they are either a Japanese or an engineer, then, …” but if you have more than 2 boyfriends, then the correct sentence would be:

= My boyfriends are either a Japanese or an engineer.

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