What is Ellipsis
Ellipsis is usually defined as the omission from a clause of one or more words, which would otherwise be required by the remaining elements. It is also referred as the omission of one or more words which are obviously understood, but should simultaneously be supplied by the listener to make a construction grammatically complete and clear. Ellipsis is also considered one of the ways of achieving cohesion- the linking of utterances in the process of communication.
Buzarov defines Ellipsis as a most vivid example of “word economy”. According to him, the most common place for Ellipsis to appear in is the dialogue. It occurs especially in the sentences having the forms of the question and the response. Ellipsis plays a huge role in linking the sentences used by different speakers. One of the most important motivations for Ellipsis is to focus the attention on the information which is new by omitting the shared items. The sentence-especially the response, may contain various types of ellipsis, aiming to avoid repetition of the items used by the first speaker. What is present in the preceding context enables us to understand what is omitted in the elliptical sentences. Some types of ellipsis are not dependent on linguistic context for their interpretation, but on the situational context.
Ex. “Where are you going?”
The response can be extended to “I am going home.”
Sentences of this type are typical for the familiar style of speech.
Halliday defines Ellipsis as a form of anaphoric cohesion, where we presuppose something by means of what is left out. Ellipsis sets up a relationship which is not semantic, but lexicogrammatical, i.e. a relationship in the wording rather than directly in the meaning.
Ex. “Can I have a cup of coffee, please?”
“Sorry, we have no more left.”
The listener has to supply the word “coffee” in order to catch the meaning of the answer.