Ellipsis comes from the Greek ἔλλειψις, “omission”. In linguistics it is the omission from a clause of one or more words that are deemed unnecessary.
Ellipsis after linkers
- We leave out a repeated subject with And, But, Or, Then (then is optional) use ‘Abot’ to remember.
He kissed and hugged the girl.
- You can not leave out the subject with Before, after, because, when, while. use ‘‘Abbww‘ to remember.
He kissed Maria after he hugged Jake.
Ellipsis after auxiliaries
- Leave out repeated verbs phrases adjectives etc. and just repeat the auxiliary verb or modal
Jake has never kissed Maria but Alex has.
- We can use a different auxiliary or modal.
Jake should kiss her but he won’t.
Ellipsis after infinitives
- Leave out repeated verbs phrases after the infinitive with ‘to’
He wanted to go but I didn’t want him to.
Ellipsis with so
With positive clauses we often use ‘so’ instead of repeating the clause.
We do this with verbs related to mental processes: assume, believe, expect, imagine, guess, hope, suppose, reckon, think.
He asked me if his marriage was happy and I said “I suppose so.”
And after the verbs: to be afraid, say, seem
He asked me if we had an exam and I said “I’m afraid so.”
Ellipsis with so and not
With negative clauses we use verb + not with these verbs: assume, be afraid, guess, hope, presume, expect, suspect
He asked me if we had an exam and I said “I’ hope not.”
With negative clauses we use verb + not + so in the case of: think
He asked me if we had an exam and I said “I don’t think so.”
With the rest of the conceptual verbs we can use either of the above forms in negative clauses: appear, expect, believe, suppose, imagine, seem.
He asked me if we had an exam and I said “I believe not / I don’t believe so.”