Article »

elliptical expression

This Grammar.com article is about elliptical expression — enjoy your reading!

An elliptical expression is a group of words with certain understood words omitted. Good writers routinely use elliptical expressions. You may punctuate elliptical expressions in two ways: (1) begin the expression with a semicolon, and then insert a comma where the omitted words would have appeared or (2) for simple expressions, insert a comma before the expression but omit the comma where the omitted words would have appeared.

Here are Mr. Strunk and Mr. White using an elliptical expression when discussing restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses. Notice that they opt for the simple punctuation:

That is the defining, or restrictive pronoun, which the nondefining, or nonrestrictive.

Here's an example using the semicolon technique:

Carolina has won three national titles; Duke, two.

Have a discussion about this article with the community:

Citation

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:

Style:MLAChicagoAPA

"elliptical expression." Grammar.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 20 Nov. 2017. <http://www.grammar.com/elliptical-expression>.

Free Writing Tool:

Instant
Grammar Checker

Improve your grammar, vocabulary, and writing -- and it's FREE!


Improve your writing now:

Download Grammar eBooks

It’s now more important than ever to develop a powerful writing style. After all, most communication takes place in reports, emails, and instant messages.