Unit 10.2



Ellipsis takes place when we omit words to avoid repetitions or when the meaning can be understood without them.


Ellipsis do not follow a general formation rule, and they depend on the words that we want to omit.

It is used with words:

  • used to given information;
  • like and, but and or;
  • like that in direct speech;
  • like that after adjectives.


  1. For given information:
    • “What time is your friend going?” “Around 11.
    • Who got off the plane?” “Jack.
  2. With and, but and or:
    • I have got a sleeping bag and (a) blanket.
    • He is very nice but (he is) shy.
    • Would they like a boat or (a) canoe?
  3. Omission of that in indirect speech:
    • Rupert said (that) he wanted to go on safari.
    • Her mum suggested (that) we go for a walk.
  4. Omission of that after adjectives:
    • I’m happy (that) you took a break.
    • He was sad (that) she went away for a long weekend.


We use ellipsis to avoid repititions without changing the meaning of the sentence.

We use ellipsis:

  1. for given information: When we answer a question and a certain information is already given (there is no need to repeat it);
  2. with and, but and or in coordinated structures (we do not have to repeat words);
  3. omission of that in indirect speech: in informal style we can leave that out;
  4. omission of that after adjectives.


Ellipsis is when we omit words, but we can still understand the meaning of the sentence. We do it in order to avoid repetitions.

We can omit words when certain information is already given, for example with and, but and or, in indirect speech and also after adjectives (omission of that).

For example:
“I want to buy a boat and (a) canoe.” = We can omit a after and.
“He thought (that) I was in Ibiza.” = We can omit that in indirect speech.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.


External link to Ellipsis exercises (194).