Emily Williams, Student at University of North Carolina at Pembroke
*when words or phrase is in parentheses it represents the understood elliptical.
-el*lip*ti*cal or el*lip*tic (adjective)
The word elliptical has a Greek derivation. "Falling short" is the latin word for ellipsis because part of their structure has been omitted. For example,
A. Where are you going?
B. (I am going) To Ohio.
A. When are you leaving?
B. (I am leaving) Early tomorrow morning.
An ellipsis, according to The Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms is the omission of a word(s) that are necessary for grammatical completeness but not for understanding of the sentences intentional meaning. For example, "Is he coming?" "Yes." Yes may be considered as an ellipsis of yes, he is coming. Typically, a part of the subject, a part of the predicate, or the entire subject and predicate is missing from the sentence. For example: Although (they were) full, they could not resist desert (2-5).
Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, and Suartvik write that an ellipsis has two different uses in grammar; however, both include the omission of words from a quote or sentence. The first use for an ellipsis is in a form of punctuation. The ellipsis mark is a series of three dots (...) to indicate that words have been omitted or one can use it so that undesirable words can be left out. For example,
"Timothy McVeigh was convicted of bombing a federal building..."
"The team...finally won a double header."(889-890).
However, Diane Booner states that some particular writers will use a fourth period in the quote to indicate a period in the original piece; yet, this still is considered an ellipsis (135).
The Quark and his fellow authors then describe a second use of an ellipsis which is in the form of a sentence. An elliptical sentence is the omission of words from a sentence that are automatically understood so do not need to be stated. For example,
A. I have gone to practice, and so has Lucy (gone to practice).
B. Sara has never been able to read maps as well as Brian (can read maps).
Elliptical sentences are used so often in writing and speech that most omissions go unnoticed. For example, a common overlooked use of an elliptical sentence is those which take a compound subject.
A. Jane and Abby just left.
B. Jane (just left) and Abby just left.
A. Scott opened the door and walked in.
B. Scott opened the door and (Scott) walked in.
Elliptical sentences are grammatically incomplete but can be easily understood from the context of the sentence 885-886).