Ellipses — one-member sentences without a verb

Ellipsis ExD, ExD_Co


In Specification of ellipsis and the afun ExD a specification of ellipsis is presented, followed by a list of its types, with an emphasis on the so-called actual (textual) ellipsis, represented by afun ExD.

The next section, Ellipses treated by means of afun ExD, is devoted to different cases of actual ellipses; the list is, of course, just a random selection of frequently occurring phenomena such as: deletions of predicates in one-member sentences (Ellipsis of predicate in one-member non-verbal sentences), deletion of predicate when repeated (exdpropa), deletion of predicate in clauses introduced by conjuctions as jako (like) and než (than), deletion of predicate in proverbs and sayings (Ellipsis of predicate in sayings and proverbs), deletion of the predicate být (to be) in verbal nominal predicate (Ellipsis of a verb in verbo-nominal predicates), deletion of the verb být (to be) as a component part of compound verb forms (Ellipsis of components of complex verbal forms) and deletion of a transgressive in complement constructions (Ellipses of a transgressive in constructions with complement).

The cases of so-called lexicalized ellipses, which are represented without the use of afun ExD, are described in Sect Ellipsis solved without afun ExD. This list is more definite and such types of deletions that are not listed there are represented by the afun ExD. The list contains the following items: deletion of the copula with some verbonominal predicates (Ellipsis of copula with some verbo-nominal predicates), deletion of a modified adjective with verbal predicates (Ellipsis of a predicate adjective), deletion of an attributive adjective standing between a noun and an adverb (Ellipsis of an adjective between a noun and an adverb), deletion of subject in the sentence (Ellipsis of subject), deletion of the governing clause (Ellipsis of the governing clause), deletion of noun with prepositions (Deletion of a noun after a preposition).

Specification of ellipsis and the afun ExD


Ellipsis (deletion) is a deletion of an expression that is expected in the given syntactic structure. Ellipsis generally is conditioned by the topic-focus articulation. It is a typical means of spoken language; in written texts it occurs mainly in certain types of texts (addresses, questionnaires, forms etc.). The deletion is not determined by its syntactic function but rather by the fact whether the expression concerned is a part of the topic of the sentence or its focus; as a rule, the focus of the sentence cannot be deleted.

In our annotation scheme, the occurrence of deletion is marked by the the afun ExD, which is assigned to all nodes that would be suspended on the node that is missing in the sentence, and these nodes are suspended in the position in whch the missing node would have been suspended.

An exception to this rule are prepositions and subordinate conjunctions which get AuxP or AuxC, and the afun ExD “falls down” to the node that depends on them (and that constitutes a sentence member). A similar situation obtains with constructions with coordination and apposition, when ExD is shifted below, to the individual members of coordination or apposition, which are then marked as ExD_Co or ExD_Ap; the governing node of coordination or apposition keeps its afun Coord or Apos.

However, punctuation and other technical nodes can obtain ExD, in case their “proper” governing node is missing (see the examples in A syntactially non-incorporated sentence part or sentential form; ellipsis; an independent sentence part; vocative; interjection Exd_Pa).

Traditionally, ellipses are classified according to different criteria as follows:

  1. contextual or situational ellipsis,

  2. word or sentence ellipsis, and

  3. lexicalized or 'actual' (textual).

With a contextual ellipsis, some syntactic members in the topic of the sentence are deleted in dependence on the context of the utterance. For instance, after the question Kam odjel váš bratr? (Where has your brother left for?) it is possible to use just the focus do Prahy (to Prague) as the answer. With a situational ellipsis, the members are deleted in dependence on the concrete situation: e.g. when meeting somebody, we can just say na procházku? (for a walk?) or when ordering a glass of beer one can just say jedno (one).

The most important for the purpose of our annotation judgements is the third type of classification quoted above. Actual ellipsis is captured by the afun ExD, while with a lexicalized ellipsis this afun is not used, since we do not feel it as a deletion at all. For the reasons of consistency, the sentence members syntactically dependent on the deleted word (which technically is suspended at the very position in which the deleted word would be suspended) are assigned either that function the word would have if nothing were deleted (jít go in ex. (1)), or the function of the deleted word (hodiny o'clock in ex. (2)). An actual ellipsis occurs only in the given context, it is not connected with any fixed expression. The sentence members depending on the deleted word are assigned ExD and are suspended in the place where the deleted member would be placed (the second occurrence of obce villages in ex. (3).

  1. Musím   domů.  
    I-must   home  

  2. Jsou   tři.  
    there-are   three  

  3. Připojení   jedné   obce   k   druhé.  
    attachment   of-one   village   to   another  

Ellipses treated by means of afun ExD


Ellipsis of predicate in one-member non-verbal sentences


Compare One-member sentences without a verb ExD, ExD_Co

Notation: words with ExD are emphasized.

  1. Lékaře!  

  2. Pěkný   víkend!  
    nice   weekend  
  3. Vztyk !  
Ellipsis of predicate when repeated


  1. Kristýna   přinesla   růži,   Jiří   fialky.  
    Christine   brought   rose   George   violets  

  2. Kateřina   cestuje   vlakem   do   Kolína,   my   do   Kopidlna   autobusem  
    Catherine   goes   by-train   to   Kolín   we   to   Kopidlno   by-bus  

Ellipsis of predicate in clauses introduced by conjuctions jak(o) (like), než(li) (than)


Afun ExD is used if these conjunctions are not followed by a sentence with a predicate or a sentence member that gets afun Adv according to the rule qutoed in the part advjakne in Adverbials (and borderline cases) and esp. also in Phrases of comparison with conjunctions jako (as), než (than). (The sentence member gets Adv if it relates in some close way to the node immediately above the conjunction - it is of the same type and it itself might fulfil the role of the member it modifies (lépe než dobře better than well, více než pět more than five, široký jako vysoký wide as high)

Notation: words with ExD are emphasized.

  1. Zavěsil   to   níž   než   Tonda   obrázek  
    he-hanged   it   lower   than   Tony   picture  
    He hanged it lower than Tony had hanged the picture.

  2. Bohouš   je   zdravý   jako   ryba  
    Bohouš   is   fit   as   fish  

Ellipsis of predicate in sayings and proverbs


  1.   o   voze,   ty   o   koze  
    I   about   carriage   you   about   goat  
    We are at cross purposes

Ellipsis of a verb in verbo-nominal predicates


If a copula is deleted with a verbo-nominal predicate, the subject (Sb) and the nominal part (Pnom) as well as all other modifications dependening on the copula get the afun ExD. There are exceptions to this rule mentioned in the part Ellipsis of copula with some verbo-nominal predicates.

Notation: words with ExD are emphasized.

  1. Pátrání   zastaveno.  
    investigation   stopped  

  2. Puška   lepší   než   hlídací   pes  
    gun   better   than   watch   dog  

  3. Pohřeb   zítra  
    funeral   tomorrow  

Ellipsis of components of complex verbal forms


If the auxiliary verb být (to be) - which in a full predicate is assigned afun AuxV, see predsloz - occurs without its meaningful verb on which it would have been suspended, it is assigned afun ExD (e.g. if the sentence Budu (I will) should mean Budu jíst (I will eat)).

Notation: words with ExD are bold-faced.

  1. Budu!  

  2. Doufal   jsem,   že   budeme   malovat,   ale   nebudeme  
    I-hoped   Aux   that   we-shall   paint-the-flat,   but   we-won't  
    I hoped we shall be painting the flat, but we won't.

Ellipses of a transgressive in constructions with complement


The problem of these constructions is described in the part Complement with elided transgressive Atv, AtvV. The missing transgressive would be the complement.

Notation: words with ExD are emphasized.

  1. Jan   vstoupil   hlavu   skloněnou.  
    John   entered   head   inclined  

  2. Rodák   z   Moravy,   strávil   strýc   celý   život   v   Praze.  
    native   from   Moravia   spent   uncle   whole   life   in   Prague.  
    A native from Moravia, our uncle spent his whole life in Prague.

Ellipsis solved without afun ExD


Ellipsis of copula with some verbo-nominal predicates


There exist expressions that commonly occur with a copula as a nominal part of the predicate and as such can be deleted. If the copula is present, then these constructions are analyzed according to the rules for verbo-nominal predicate quoted in part the structure of verbal-nominal predicate (the copula is assigned afun Pred, the dependent nominal part gets the afun Pnom).

If the copula is absent, the function of Pred is taken over by the nominal part and this part then has the function of a full predicate (all modifications depend on it).

Expressions that belong to this group are given by the following list: třeba, nutno (necessary), možno, záhodno (possible) (or, as the case may be, their negative counterparts).

  1. Za   hodinu   možno   házet   kamením.  
    in   hour   possible   to-throw   stones  
    In an hour it is possible to throw stones.

  2. Třeba   zajistit   pořádek.  
    necessary   to-secure   order  
    It is necessary to secure order.

Ellipsis of a predicate adjective


The deletion in this case results in problematic constructions. The dependent member is assigned afun Adv. In the sentence below the word nemocný (sick) is missing, the modification na nervy (on nerves) is thus suspended under jsem (I-am).

  1. Jsem   na   nervy.  
    I-am   on   nerves  
    I am in a nervous state/I am nervy.

Ellipsis of an adjective between a noun and an adverb


The adverb may sometimes take over the function of an attribute. This happens when an adjective is deleted from a full construction (mostly derived from a passive: platby požadované předem payments required in advance). See also the part Non-agreeing attribute expressed by an adverb.

  1. Platby   předem.  
    Payments   advance  
    Payments in advance.

Ellipsis of subject


Sentences with a deleted subject part are not considered as incomplete sentences, we do not speak about ellipsis. See also the part Modifying predicate.

Ellipsis of the governing clause


When a governing clause that need not be repeated is deleted, we get a sentence in the form of a dependent clause. Its predicate is assigned Pred rather than the relevant syntactic function that it would obtain if it were included in a full complex sentence, or afun ExD.

  1. Že   ji   pozdravuji.  
    that   her   I-greet  
    (Tell her) that I am sending her my greetings.

  2. Protože   mám   hlad.  
    because   I-have   hunger  
    Because I am hungry.

Ellipsis of counted units


Numerals (a numerical expression of a number), even if not accompanied by the units they count, are regarded as sentence parts with the function that the node appurtenant to the unit would acquire.

An exception to this rule (i.e. the numerical expression gets ExD) is the type of coordination illustrated in the last example, where the given treatment is required by the overall structure of the sentence.

  1. setrval   jeden   z   řezníků  
    stayed   one   of   butchers  
    One of the butchers lingered on.

  2. odbilo   jedenáct  
    it-struck   eleven  

  3. od   šesti   se   chodí   do   školy  
    from   six   Refl   go   to   school  

  4. dožil   se   osmdesáti  
    he-lived-to   Refl   eighty  
    He lived as long as eighty.

  5. mladíci   od   15   do   18  
    youths   from   15   to   18  

  6. mladíci   od   15   do   18   let  
    youths   from   15   to   18   years  

Representation of the determination of proportion


Deletion often occurs with expressions of proportion (esp. numerical proportion), when the word poměr (proportion) is omitted. If this word is present, it gets its conventional afun:

ředíme   v   poměru   osm   ku   třem  
we-delute   in   ratio   eight   to   three  

If the word poměr (proportion) is omitted, its syntactic function is taken over by the first member of the proportion:

vsadím   se   sto   ku   jedné  
I-bet   Refl   hundred   to   one  


If the relation is not expressed in words, it is represented as a coordination (see the part Coordination with a colon):

Viktorka   vyhrála   3:0.  
Viktorka   won   3:0  

Demonstrative pronouns ten, ta, to (that)


These pronouns stand for a sentence member, so that no ellipsis is concerned. However, if accompanied by the word which this pronoun refers to, this word itself fulfils the given function and the pronoun functions as its Atr.

  1. On   byl   ten   třetí.  
    He   was   that   third  

  2. Z   těch   12   statečných   se   tři   rozutekli.  
    Of   those   12   courageous   Refl   three   ran-away.  
    Of those 12 courageous ones three ran away.

Deletion of a noun after a preposition


In some cases only the preposition is left in the sentence in place of a prepositional group. If this is a collocation (phraseme), the preposition can take over the function of the member that it would introduce. E.g. in the sentence jsem pro (I am for) the preposition pro gets afun Adv (this function would be assigned to the deleted word, e.g. návrh proposal, přijetí acceptance, schválení approval, usnesení decision, ...). If a collocation is not the case, and the deletion is just occasional (e.g. náhle zmizel za ... suddenly he disappeared behind ...), the preposition gets its usual afun AuxP and nothing is suspended on it.

  1. Jsem   pro  
    I-am   for  

  2. Obsluhuje   nahoře   bez.  
    she-serves   on-top   without  
    She is a topless waitress.