Cases where we leave out words

Posted by Manjusha. Filed in English Grammar

We often leave out words to avoid repetition. Words are also left out in cases where the meaning can be understood without them. This is called 'ellipsis'.


In replies we do not usually repeat information that has just been given.

Structures with and, but and or

Repeated words are often left out in co-ordinate structures.

Informal speech

In informal speech, we often drop unstressed words at the beginning of a clause.

At the end of noun phrases

In some cases it is possible to drop nouns after adjectives, noun modifiers and determiners.


Sometimes we use to instead of repeating a whole infinitive.

In comparative structures

Words are often left out after as and than, when the meaning is clear.

Question word clauses

Clauses can be dropped after question words.

That and relative pronouns

In an informal style, the conjunction that is often dropped.


Sections in this article

Expressions without prepositions
Prepositions at the end of clauses
Prepositions: some useful points
Common prepositions: usage