Ellipse (linguistics)

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In linguistics , an ellipse (from ancient Greek ἔλλειψις élleipsis , German 'left behind, omission, omission' ) refers to the omission of parts of a sentence, but also the sentences with these omissions. The predicate is often left out.

Elliptical omissions can be reconstructed with the help of the linguistic or situational context . In the linguistic analysis of the ellipse, omitted parts of the sentence are often marked with square brackets. In the example "Karl is going to Italy, Wilhelm [is] going to the North Sea", the elliptical sentence is: Karl is going to Italy, Wilhelm to the North Sea . The word drives has been omitted, but no other word can be omitted.

A strict definition requires that the ellipse can be reconstructed verbatim from the linguistic context.

Ellipses are common in spoken language . They can gradually conventionalize themselves or become fixed phrases .

Examples of ellipses are the coordination ellipse and the subject internal ellipse .


  • Just like that.
  • The earlier the parting [is], the shorter [is] the agony.
  • The later the evening [it is], the more beautiful the guests [become].
  • Not you, but me!
  • [If the] end [is] well, [is] all well!
  • What is now?
  • What is it?
  • [I wish you a] good morning!
  • Greet (bless / protect, etym.) [You] God!
  • [Please] Excuse me !
  • [Would you like] Anything else?
  • [Driving] Anyone else without a ticket?
  • Without [an] if and [without a] but.
  • Work comes first, then pleasure.
  • Who's there?
  • It beat my heart, swiftly on horseback! (from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Welcome and Farewell , 1789).
  • You don't want to ...!

See also


  • Wolfgang Müller: The actually existing grammatical ellipses and the norm. An inventory . In: Sprachwissenschaft , 15, 1990, pp. 241-366.
  • Mathias Brandstädter: Presence by absence. Remarks on the background noise of an aesthetic of the recess in Ror Wolf, Hermann Peter Piwitt and Thomas Lehr . In: Literature for Readers , 2, 2007.
  • Ludger Hoffmann: Ellipse and Analepsis . (PDF) In: Angelika Redder, Jochen Rehbein (eds.): Grammar and mental processes. Stauffenburg 1999, ISBN 3-86057-708-5 , pp. 69-90.
  • Ellipse (lexicon entry). In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon. 6th edition, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1905–1909. 1909, Retrieved January 25, 2019 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Ellipse  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: short sentence  - explanations of meanings, word origins , synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wilhelm Pape , Max Sengebusch (arrangement): Concise dictionary of the Greek language . 3rd edition, 6th impression. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig 1914 ( zeno.org [accessed January 25, 2019]).
  2. a b Duden - The foreign dictionary. Updated online edition. Dudenverlag, Mannheim / Leipzig / Vienna / Zurich 1999–2004.
  3. a b Helmut Glück (Ed.): Metzler Lexikon Sprach . 2nd Edition. JB Metzler Verlag, 2000, p. 2586 .
  4. Bühler: Theory of Language . A. Beds: ellipses, anacolutes and parentheses . DS 4, 1976, pp. 207-229.
  5. ^ Maximilian Wilhelm Götzinger: The German language. Part 2 . In: The German language and its literature . tape 1 . Hoffmann, Stuttgart 1839, OCLC 310805719 ( limited preview in the Google book search).