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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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
We can verbs like expect/think/believe/imagine with so to avoid repeating thepreceding 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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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a brief grammar description of how substitution and ellipsis works in the English language