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Grammar 43 - Avoiding Repetition - Omission
"Saurav brought snacks and soft drinks to the party and Anish food." - This sentence omits the phrase 'brought... to the party,' and so avoids repetition.

Grammar 43 - Avoiding Repetition - Omission

Avoiding repetition is very useful in making communication flow better. There are many ways in which repetition can be avoided, such as replacing words with pronouns. Most of what we studied in the previous two quizzes was replacing subjects. There is yet another way of avoiding repetition, which is by omitting certain words or phrases themselves, and this High English grammar quiz will show you how to do it.

Look at this sentence:

‘You ride my bike and I’ll ride Mustaq’s when he returns.’

Here we have omitted the word ‘bike’ when referring to Mustaq’s bike because in the context of the sentence ‘bike’ has been identified and there is no need to repeat it. Here's another example:

‘Do you visit the gym often?'
'No, I can’t afford to.’

Here we have omitted the phrase ‘visit the gym often’ after ‘to’ in the answer to the question posed. Note that the meaning is clear in both examples even though we have omitted words or phrases.

Omitting words or phrases is useful when we describe something in a single sentence or when there is an answer to a question posed. Since the reference to context is immediate it is easier to omit words or phrases without losing the meaning to be conveyed.

Often, omission is resorted to when we compare two subjects, places, things or ideas. For instance, in this example:

‘They often go to the movies. A lot of people do these days.’

Here ‘go to the movies’ is omitted and ‘do’ is used instead. Note that we are making a generalised statement from information gathered about an activity and it becomes easier to omit certain words or phrases without taking away the meaning.

Avoiding repetition by omitting certain words or phrases is easy when you know how. Just make sure that what you are communicating will not be misunderstood by the listener or the reader! The quiz that follows takes you through the nuances of writing sentences by avoiding repetition.

1.
"Indians were speaking far less on mobile phones in 2005 than they are now."
Which words have been omitted in the second part of the above sentence?
Indians
Indians were
speaking
were
The sentence is about comparison of Indians speaking on mobile phones in 2005 and now, and hence we can leave out 'speaking' in the second part without taking away the essence of comparison. In the other options 'speaking' is not left out, which is the operative part
2.
"I can teach you what I learnt."
"You needn't as I am not asking you to."
Which words have been omitted in the reply to the first sentence?
Teach me what you learnt
Teach
What you learnt
Teach what
The person in the first sentence says he/she wants to teach what he/she has learnt and that is what is being omitted because from the answer it is clear that the person replying does not want them to do so. In the other options only parts of the phrase are omitted which is incorrect
3.
"What should they have done?"
"Told him the truth."
Which words have been omitted in the reply to the first sentence?
What
They should have
What should
They have
By adding the omitted phrase the sentence is not adding any further information and hence it can be omitted. In the other options only parts of the phrase are omitted which is incorrect
4.
"Manish could have gone to the boxing match, but he didn't want to."
Which words have been omitted in the second part of the above sentence?
to the boxing match
boxing match
could have
go to the boxing match
The meaning is clear even without the omitted phrase. Manish does not want to do something which was stated in the first part of the sentence. The omitted phrase is not adding any additional meaning to the answer. In the other options only parts of the phrase are omitted which is incorrect
5.
"Has Manav been rowing?"
"No, sailing."
Which words have been omitted in the reply to the first sentence?
has
Manav
he has been
Manav has
The answer without the omitted phrase is communicating that Manav is not rowing but sailing. The communication is clear without the omitted phrase and adding the omitted phrase is not necessarily adding any further information. In the other options only parts of the phrase are omitted which is incorrect
6.
"Did you visit the pet shop?"
"No, I didn't."
Which words have been omitted in the reply to the first sentence?
visit the pet shop
visit the pet
the pet shop
the pet
Since the context is clear from the first sentence, the answer is able to omit 'visit the pet shop.' In the other options only parts of the phrase are omitted which is incorrect
7.
"Today Virat Kohli is leaving far more balls outside the off stump than he was in the past."
Which words have been omitted in the second part of the above sentence?
leaving
balls outside the off stump
outside the off stump
the off stump
The first part of the sentence makes a comparison with what Virat Kohli was doing earlier. Thus the entire phrase 'leaving balls outside the off stump' is left out. In the other options the main part 'leaving' is not left out
8.
"He'll receive his degree but I don't know exactly when."
Which words have been omitted in the second part of the above sentence?
he'll receive his degree
receive his degree
don't know
exactly
Receiving a degree is the action being talked about and this is said in the first part of the sentence and there is no need to repeat it in the second part after 'when.' In the other options 'he'll receive his degree' is not left out, which is the action part
9.
"Saurav brought snacks and soft drinks to the party and Anish food."
Which words have been omitted in the second part of the above sentence?
to the party
and soft drinks
snacks
brought
The context of the sentence is talking about bringing something for the party and so 'brought' is the word that is missing. Despite its omission there is no doubt about what the sentence wants to convey. In the other options 'brought' is not left out, which is the action part
10.
"A study revealed that people now spend more time by themselves than with friends."
Which words have been omitted in the second part of the above sentences?
study revealed
they spend
people
more time
'They spend' is a phrase describing the action of people in the context of the sentence. This is the phrase that is omitted and by omitting this phrase the import of the meaning is not lost. Adding it is not helping much and so it can be omitted. In the other options 'spend' is not left out, which is the action part
Author:  V T Narendra

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