Glossary: ellipsis

Explanation

Ellipsis is the omission of a word or phrase which is expected and predictable.

  • Frankie waved to Ivana and [she] watched her drive away.
  • She did it because she wanted to [do it].

In addition to grammatical ellipsis, the term ellipsis can also refer to the punctuation mark written with three dots: ...

Cohesion

Cohesion refers to the grammatical relationships that exist within a text between words, phrases, etc. When we talk only of the semantic links, i.e. the meaning links, we speak of coherence.

Here we focus on cohesion. However, before we do so, consider the following passage:

The sun is shining. Who is your neighbour? I left the washing in the machine. Without doubt she will succeed.

Spoken language

Spoken language and written language are often referred to as two different modes. Spoken language has a structure that is often different from that of written language. Because we use spoken language in different situations from written language, we can often rely on context, gesture and shared understanding, so many of the grammatical structures and devices that we tend to use in written language aren’t necessary.

One mode is not ‘better’ than another mode, and we should be careful not to describe spoken language as ‘incorrect’ or ‘wrong’.

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