Ellipsis



Definition:
  1. The nature of Ellipsis refers to the omission of elements normally required by the grammar which the speaker/writer assumes are obvious from the context. So, the elliptical information usually has appeared previously or can be inferred from the context of sentence, and when they are left out, the sentence can still be understood.
  2. From theAncient Greek “élleipsis, is a mark or series of marks that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word in the original text. An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought, or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence (aposiopesis). When placed at the end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy longing. The ellipsis calls for a slight pause in speech. (More information , please go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipsis)
Classification:
Ellipsis roughly can be divided into three types according to the element unsaid but understood in the context: nominal ellipsis, verbal ellipsis and clausal ellipsis.
  1. Nominal ellipsis refers to ellipsis within the nominal phrase, including the omission of the noun, the omission of the noun plus part of its Modifiers, and the omission of the whole nominal phrase. For example:
A: Here are my two white scarves;
B: I used to have three. (=three white silk straight)
  1. Verbal ellipsis refers to ellipsis within the verbal group, including the omission of the lexical verb, the auxiliary verb, and the whole predicate verb, especially when the main verb and the auxiliary conflated into one lexical item. For example:
A: What have you been doing these days?
B: Preparing for the driving license test.(=I have been preparing for the driving license test)
  1. Clausal ellipsis refers to ellipsis of a whole clause or part of a clause, as in the following example
A: Have you ever been to the Great Wall?
B: Yes, twice.(=I’ve been to the Great Wall twice)
Some elliptical constructions presuppose some elements not within the text but in the context of situation, as in the following dialogue:
A: Better today?(=Are you better today?)
B: Much better.(=I’m much better today.)
Usage:
The Chicago Manual of Stylesuggests the use of an ellipsis for any omitted word, phrase, line, or paragraph from within a quoted passage. There are two commonly used methods of using ellipses: one uses three dots for any omission, while the second one makes a distinction between omissions within a sentence and omissions between sentences. An ellipsis at the end of a sentence with no sentence following should be followed by a period (for a total of four dots). TheModern Language Association(MLA), however, used to indicate that an ellipsis must include spaces before and after each dot in all uses. If an ellipsis is meant to represent an omission, square bracketsmust surround the ellipsis to make it clear that there was no pause in the original quote. Currently, the MLA has removed the requirement of brackets in its style handbooks. However, some maintain that the use of brackets is still correct because it clears confusion.
(More information, please go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipsis)

Functions:
1. To avoid unnecessary information.

2. To show a deliberate silence to stress an emotion of feeling/

  1. To make the context and structure more close.

Other information: when we use ellipsis in our oral English or writing, we should make our purpose and meaning as clear as possible. Otherwise, we may convey wrong information.

Reference:
  1. Yang Xingzhang, An Introduction to Linguistics, Higher Education Press, 2005
  2. http://www.doc88.com/p-80882325757.html
  3. http://baike.baidu.com/view/758529.htm