Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The pronoun you can be omited as a general rule, but sometimes I’ve seen sentences that should have used I or it as the subject but it was omitted.

share|improve this question
    
Don't know what you mean. Have any examples? A specific sentence where "you" can be omitted would be very useful, for us to know what you're asking. –  Peter Shor Dec 28 '12 at 14:18
    
"you" can be omitted when the verb is in the imperative. When else? –  Dan Dec 28 '12 at 14:19
    
@PeterShor For instance "go home" vs "I go gome", the first sentence refers to YOU –  rraallvv Dec 28 '12 at 14:20
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In Standard English, the subject can be omitted only in an imperative sentence:

  • Go to the store.

Colloquially, you can sometimes sneak by with an implied subject if there’s enough context:

  • Got something to say?
  • Went home sick — fell asleep immediately.
  • Am not!
share|improve this answer
    
"Got something to say?" is referring to whom? –  rraallvv Dec 28 '12 at 14:29
1  
@rraallvv It’s not referring to anybody; it’s addressing someone. It’s in the second person. –  tchrist Dec 28 '12 at 14:31
    
Nice examples. Gratifyingly sneaky. –  Edwin Ashworth Dec 28 '12 at 20:39
add comment

Leaving off the first word, or words, in a sentence is a common conversational strategy in English, explained here. It's called "Conversational Deletion" in the trade.

The deleted material often is, but need not be, a subject pronoun; any word or phrase that's predictable can be deleted, followed by the next predictable chunk, etc, until new information is reached. This is not random, but is governed by the usual syntactic rules, as explained in the dissertation mentioned in the link above.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.