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Substitution and ellipsis

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Substitution and ellipsis

  1. 1.  We can use the pronouns ONE/ONES after adjectives or demonstratives.  I’d like a sweet sherry and John would like a dry one.  We don’t use ONE for uncountable nouns.  I really like sweet sherry but my husband prefers dry (sherry)
  2. 2.  We can also use the demonstrative pronouns without ONE/ONES.  Which colour would you prefer for your room, this one or that?  We can also replace a noun or noun phrase with a quantifier, e.g. some, all, each, none, either, neither, both, a few….  All the pupils did the exam but only some passed.
  3. 3.  We can use a form of do to avoid repeating a present or past simple verb.  They live very near to where I do.  We can also use it to avoid repeating the main verb in coordinate clauses.  Mark phoned the police and I did too.
  4. 4.  With coordinate clauses where the action is the same in both, we can also use so/neither+ auxiliary+subject.  Mark phoned the police and so did I.  This pattern can be used to agree in short answers.  I didn’t watch telly last night.  Neither did I.
  5. 5.  In informal speech, we can omit do and use the object pronoun with too, neither, nor.  I didn’t watch telly last night.  Me neither/ nor me  Usinga form of do is common in comparison clauses.  Men don’t work in the home as much as women do.
  6. 6.  We can use the three patterns to replace a verb phrase which describes a single, specific action. (so is more formal)  Mary stood up to leave and just as she was doing so/it/that she slipped and fell.  We usually use do it/that when the subject of the verb changes.  The shop assistant couldn’t get hold of the shoplifter.  Were the police able to do it/that?
  7. 7.  We prefer to use do so when we talk about an activity rather than a single, specific action.  People would like to smoke in public places but they are banned from doing so.  We use only do to replace verbs which refer to events outside our control, e.g. believe, lose, forget…  He told her not to forget his phone number but she did.
  8. 8.  We can verbs like expect/think/believe/ imagine with so to avoid repeating the preceding information.  Will they be coming to our party?  I expect so.  To express a negative purpose, most verbs make the verb negative and use so: imagine, think, expect, suppose, believe.  Will they be coming to our party?  I don’t think so.
  9. 9.  Some verbs, however, use only not: be afraid, guess, hope, suppose.  Will they be coming to our party?  I guess not.  We substitute if clauses with if so, and if not.  They will find the restaurant easily; if not, they can always ask a passerby.
  10. 10.  We can use so at the beginning of a short answer when we agree to a statement with a certain amount of surprise.  I won the jackpot in the lottery!  So you did!
  11. 11.  We often omit nouns or pronouns in the second of two coordinate clauses.  I went to the bar and (I) asked for a beer.  We do not leave out pronouns in subordinate clauses.  I went to the bar and (I) asked for a beer because I was thirsty.
  12. 12.  We can omit a verb to avoid repeating it.  Coffee appeals to young people and tea to the elderly.  Generally we do not omit the auxiliary or modal.  Was it a good idea to buy that flat?  I think I shouldn’t/ I think I shouldn’t have.
  13. 13.  We can introduce a new modal in order to add interpretation.  Has the boss arrived?  It’s ten o’clock. He must have.  Ifthe comparison clause begins with a pronoun and we omit the verb phrase, we use the object pronoun rather than the subject pronoun.  You certainly are more intelligent than her.
  14. 14.  We can omit an infinitive phrase when the meaning is clear.  Although Mary has tried hard to stop smoking, she hasn’t been able to.  After most verbs which are followed by to+infinitive such as forget, ask and promise we can omit to.  Did you buy the presents?  I forgot (to).
  15. 15.  Afterwant and would like in if or wh- clause we can also omit to.  Leave the stuff wherever you want (to).

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