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Another Kind of Elliptical

Elliptical constructions are defined as, “a construction that lacks an element that is recoverable or inferable from the context.” In other words, elliptical constructions allow us to save on word counts and to avoid redundant expression because a reader will be able to understand us based on context.


Here are two examples that demonstrate how they work.

Omitted Noun: “I went shopping, and Jimmy went [shopping], too.”

Omitted Verb: “She loves singing, and Jane [loves] dancing.

Omitted Verb Phrase: “He went to the store, but they didn’t [go to the store].

In each case, the words inside the square brackets [   ] can be omitted. Saving word count is something all good writers work hard to do in order to concentrate their meaning and keep their readers interested.

(November 14, 2011)

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