This group of expressive means results in the omission or absence of certain parts of the sentence. Prof. Galperin defines them as colloquial constructions.
Ellipsis is a deliberateomission of one or both main members of sentence.
E.g.: - You can find out what charge is, can't you?
- Oh — charge. - Exactly, - Mr. Smith said. - Charge. (G.Greene )
Ellipsis is a form of linguistic economy typical of oral communication.
The main parts are omitted by the speaker intentionally in cases when they are semantically redundant. The omitted part is felt as missing compared with complete sentences. In face-to-face communication the construction or intralinguistic context easily supply the missing part.
Thus ellipsis on the level of syntax, like shortening on the level of Lexis, reflects the general tendency of ME termed "compression" by I.V.Arnold. Compression originates from the rapid tempo of speech, language economy, striving for highlighting the rhemic elements of the utterance at the expense of those semantic features that are felt redundant on the situation of face-to-face discourse.
In terms of the theory of thought and language interaction, people do not necessarily fully encode their ideas into language and they delete (do not pronounce) the parts of sentences which they find redundant.
There are many situations where the most appropriate thing to say appears to be something quite short. The two of the following are possible as complete and natural dialogues:
(1) Speaker A: The airport! Speaker B: O.K.
(2) Speaker A: Don't forget! Speaker B: I won't.
The speaker says "The airport! ", "A cup of coffee." or "Nice dress! " and leaves it to the interlocutor to complete the proposition.
Conversation would be dull, fuzzy and confusing if people always said everything. An elliptical sentence in direct (oral) intercourse is not a stylistic device. It is simply a norm of the spoken language.
But this typical feature of the spoken language assumes a new quality when used in the written language. It becomes an expressive means inasmuch as it supplies suprasegmental information: it is used to achieve the authenticity of colloquial speech; to reflect characteristic features of oral intercourse.
Most linguists distinguish the following types of ellipsis in colloquial speech:
- leaving out the subject
- leaving out the function verb or both
- ellipsis in dialogue unites.
Besides oral speech and fiction ellipsis is common to some specific types of texts. For the sake of business-like brevity, elliptical sentences are very frequent in papers or handbooks on technology or natural sciences. Ellipsis is practically always employed in encyclopedic dictionaries and reference books of the “Who is Who” type.
Ellipsis helps to characterize the manner of speech of personages, to depict the natural abruptness of the colloquial type of speech, to add emotional colouring to the text. Ellipsis is the basis of the so-called telegraphic style, in which connectives and redundant words are left out.
Functions and stylistic effects
- to give speech characteristics
- to imitate spontaneity of oral speech
- to depict the natural abruptness of the colloquial type of speech
- to add connotations of intimacy, casualness, familiarity
- to create the telegraphic style
2. Asyndeton is a deliberate avoidance of conjunctions used to connect sentences, clauses, phrases or words. It is a deliberate omission of structurally significant conjunctions or connectives.
It becomes stylistically charged if there is a deliberate omission of the connective where it is generally expected to be according to the norms of the literary language.
E.g. He cannot change it with the other rug; they are a different size. (A. Christie)
Stylistic devices, which are skillfully wrought for special informative and aesthetic purposes.
E.g. Bicket did not answer his throat felt too dry. (Galsworthy)
Such structures make the utterance sound like one syntactical unit to be pronounced as one syntagm.
Cutting off connecting words in asyndetic sentences helps to create the effect of tense, energetic, active prose.
Functions and stylistic effects
- to create a certain rhythmical arrangement
- to make the narrative measured, energetic and tense
3.Nominative sentences are one-member sentences where the predicate is omitted.
The nucleus of the sentence is the noun or a noun-like element ( gerund, numeral). Sentences consisting only of a nominal group, are semantically and communicatively self-sufficient. Isolated verbs, proceeding from the ontological features of a verb as a part of speech, cannot be considered one-member sentences as they always rely on the context for their semantic fulfillment.
There are such structural types of nominative sentences as:
1. Unextended nominative sentences consisting of a single element: Morning. April. Problems.
2. Extended nominative sentences consisting of basic component and one or more words modifying it: Nice morning. Late April. Horribly great problems.
3. Multicomponent nominative sentences containing two or more basic elements: Late April and horribly great problems.
Sentences consisting only of a nominal group, are semantically and communicatively self-sufficient. Isolated verbs, proceeding from the ontological features of a verb as a part of speech, cannot be considered one-member sentences as they always rely on the context for their semantic fulfillment.
The communicative function of a nominative sentence is a mere statement of the existence of an object, a phenomenon.
London. Fog everywhere. Implacable November weather.