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I'm having some hard time deciding on the types of a few ellipses I've got to analyze.

Let's consider an example such as this one:

Then Rosemary came out and said that Daddy was going to jail, and I hit her." "[Did you hit her] Real hard?" "[I hit her] Real hard."

In case of this example, I would say both of the ellipses are clausal since the deletion of the subject,the predicate and the object affected the whole clause; the only element of that remaind being the adverbial. These two ellipses would fall into the category of bare argument ellipsis, as far as I know.

But what if there is an ellipsis such as this:

She loved the child's pink nightie, [she loved] the stack of white pillow slips edged with embroidery...

Here, the coordinating "and" is replaced by a comma for a more dramatic effect and the second clause presupposes the subject and the predicate from the first. Would that still count as an example of clausal ellipsis, since without these two elements the second clause is technically incomplete, or would it be better to label it as an example of verb phrase ellipsis? The problem with that would be the fact that subjects are not considered constituents of verb phrases.

Thanks everybody in advance.

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    Now this is the kind of question I'd like to see more of on this site. Unfortunately, I personally lack the expertise to even approach it. It would also be good if we could attract the attention of some of the grammatical experts who hang out at our sister site, ELL (though this question should remain here and not be asked there; it's just that those guys might have interesting and well-informed ideas to share). – Dan Bron Jun 17 '15 at 12:13
  • Are you sure there is an ellipsis, because I'm not. It most certainly isn't a VP ellipsis, since they need to be introduced by an auxillary verb (or to). – Tushar Raj Jun 17 '15 at 13:07
  • @TusharRaj By considering the classification by Wilson (Mind the Gap) and some others (a google search on bare argument ellipsis), these two examples are indeed instances of ellipsis. – crzpiot Jun 17 '15 at 13:22
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    @Róbert: My point exactly. If you insist on hypothesizing some "longer, more complete" wording for every single case, you'd end up doing something like that whenever someone's contribution to a dialogue is simply Yes, for example. Which I could have used instead of my first three words in this comment. But just because I could paraphrase to That is my point exactly, or Yes that is true doesn't mean the shorter forms are in any meaningful sense derived from those extended forms subjected to specific deletions – FumbleFingers Jun 17 '15 at 14:15
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    You're handicapped by calling it "ellipsis"; that's a term from Greek rhetoric (not grammar, and particularly not English syntax) and just means "something's missing". Categorizing "ellipsis" is a losing game, since it's already been done by categorizing deletion rules; there are a lot of them, and they operate on different structures, under different conditions, with different words -- and no doubt for different purposes, though they all shorten utterances by omitting expectable material. – John Lawler Jun 17 '15 at 15:05
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The first example cited in the post is clausal ellipses, of course, but I am more inclined to regroup it in the sub category of ANSWER ELLIPSES.

If we closely observe the instance, we would find that two sentences are elliptical:

•(did you hit her) "Real hard?"

•(I hit her) Real hard.

The first sentence is a question but, take my word, it a 'disguised/latent answer which is echoed in the latter. So both are answer fragments. ANSWER ELLIPSES can do with just an adjunct/adverbial even. You may differ but ellipses would allow us that liberty.

As regards the second example, we may call it clausal or(textual) ellipses in general and a case of gapping ellipses in particular. It cannot be a VPE as in that case, a non finite VP is ellided and the ellipses must be introduced by an auxiliary verb/participle 'to'. Whereas, in GAPPING ELLIPSES, redundant materials often contain a finite verb. An example:

• John can play the guitar, Mary(.....) the violin.

However, an Ellipses is sense without (sensibility) form; a respite for us, isn't it?!

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In the first case, you have a full clause; in the other, just the verb (and it's subject, English being a non Null-Subject language)

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I am not sure it will help since yours is a matter of rhetorical devices, but have a look at some of the answers I received on a similar issue, especially at the one about conjunction reduction:

I <verb> and am <rest of sentence>

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In a comment, John Lawler answered:

You're handicapped by calling it "ellipsis"; that's a term from Greek rhetoric (not grammar, and particularly not English syntax) and just means "something's missing". Categorizing "ellipsis" is a losing game, since it's already been done by categorizing deletion rules; there are a lot of them, and they operate on different structures, under different conditions, with different words -- and no doubt for different purposes, though they all shorten utterances by omitting expectable material.

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