Ellipsis or ellipses (plurals ‐ellipses), the
omission from a sentence of a word or
words that would be required for complete
clarity but which can usually be
understood from the context.
It is usually grouped together with
(e.g. Shakespeare, ‘I will [go] to Ireland’)
the omission from a sentence or other
construction of one or more words that
would complete /clarify the construction.
b. the omission of one or more items from
a construction in order to avoid repeating
the identical or equivalent items that are
in a preceding or following construction,
as the omission of been to Paris from the
second clause e.g
I've been to Paris, but they haven't
By nine o’clock, they had washed their hands and they had
eaten their lunch.
Can be abbreviated to
By nine o’clock, they had washed their hands and eaten
This can only be done if both clauses have the same
subject. The second clause in the sentence
He had finished the work and his assistant had gone home
can not be abbreviated because it does not have the same
subject as the first clause.
An ellipsis [ … ] proves to be a handy
device when you're quoting material and
you want to omit some words.
The ellipsis consists of three evenly
spaced dots (periods) with spaces
between the ellipsis and surrounding
letters or other marks.
"The ceremony honored twelve brilliant
athletes from the Caribbean who were
visiting the U.S." and leave out "from the
Caribbean who were":
The ceremony honored twelve brilliant
athletes … visiting the U.S.
Leaving words out
Ellipsis means leaving words out.
Instead of repeating a noun phrase(the
guard), we can use a pronoun or we can
leave the pronoun out.
1. Instead of repeating a verb
phrase(take), we can use a substitution
form or leave the substitution form out as
1. The guard looked over and he smiled
The guard looked over and smiled
2.She could take the money, but she won’t do
She could take the money, but she won’t.
You’ll need a pen or _ _ pencil
Ashley’s aunt and -uncle own property in
France and _Italy
We can also use ellipsis after a comma in
E.g I’m afraid of bees,wasps and spiders
Leaving out subjects and objects
After and, but in compound sentences, we
usually leave out a repeated subject, a
repeated subject and auxiliary or a
repeated subject and verb.E.gs
She was shouting and_ _ throwing things
Should we bring our bags or__ _leave
We sat and _ talked.
He came, but _left early.
They ran or _walked the rest of the way.
He looked okay, but_ _tired.
I enjoy films_ _ going to the theatre, and
_ _walks in the park.
We can also leave out repeated subjects in
later clauses after then and yet.
We don’t usually leave out subjects (and
auxiliaries) after subordinating conjunctions.
We tidied up before we left.(Not We tidied up
He’s tired because he’s ill.(Not He’s tired
We usually leave out repeated objects or
preposition phrases from the first clause.
We use an object pronoun rather than leave
out the objects from second or later clauses
We gave food_ _ and water to everyone.
I lived_ _ _ _and studied in Rome for a year.
She makes_ and sells jewelry
We usually boil _ _ or poach some eggs for
Leaving verb phrases
After an auxiliary verb in the second or
later clause, we usually leave out a
repeated verb phrase.
We can leave out repeated adjectives and
preposition phrases after be as a linking
We thought they would be late, but they
I’m afraid he’s in love and she isn’t_ _
I’ve seen the film but Mike hasn’t_ _ _.
The boys weren’t feeling cold, but I
We would help you if we could_ _.
Sarah will eat broccoli, but Jessica won’t_
We can also leave out a repeated verb
phrase after infinitive to or not to. After
verbs such as agree and want, we can
also leave out to.
She’ll leave unless he begs her not to_.
Some boys kept talking after I told them
I don’t smoke now, but I used to _.
We haven’t applied for the university but
we plan to_.
Thus, various ellipsis can be used with
post-predicate complement clauses when
the content is clear from the preceding
Ellipsis can occur with to-clauses and wh-
clauses, where the complement clause is
omitted but the complementizer(to or wh-
word) is retained:
A Are we having that tonight too?
B If you want to_ _ _.
With that-clauses, ellipsis involves the
omission of the entire complement clause
including the complementiser that. Such
ellipsis is usually found with extreme
common verbs like think, know.
A: There’s seven teams in front of them.
Yeah, I know.
After a negative, we include to e.g
He’d like me to stay but I don’t want
to.(Not…..but I don’t want)
In formal situations, a repeated verb can
be left out of a second clause when both
clauses have the same structure.
The girls go first and the boys _ after
You can go if you want to_.
Salmah chose UKM and Salmi _ UITM.
Try and like are common with ellipted to-
A: Keep him in line
B:I’ll try to_.
A: Did you use my jacket again?
B:Well, I would like to.
We can leave out repeated words after
questions when we ask or repeat
I have to leave now. Why?
It will cost a lot of money to repair the
damage. How much?
Siva said he will go overseas, but hasn’t
told us when_ yet
With wh-clause ellipsis,wonder and
remember also also occur:
A : I took a shower early this morning and
I feel like I didn’t shower.
B:I wonder why.