I saw this sentence in a story book.

The dog is somewhere about, hunting rats

Does it omit [a place] after "somewhere about"? If so, what is this type of ellipsis?

The dog is somewhere about [a place], hunting rats

  • The subject of hunting rats is deleted, presumably by coreference with the subject of be somewhere about. Be somewhere about can be most simply treated as a locative predicate adjective, though if you prefer you can go to the trouble of making it short for be somewhere about the premises or something. Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 13:12
  • What you have is a compound verb, consisting of "is somewhere about" and "is hunting rats". "And" and the second "is" has been elided. "Somewhere about" is an idiom meaning "nearby".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 2:48

2 Answers 2


An ellipsis is an omission of words that are readily understood from the context. For example:

I was born in 1960; she, three years later.

Supplying the missing words:

I was born in 1960, [and] she [was born] three years later.

The semicolon in the first sentence indicates the missing conjunction, and the comma indicates the missing parallel verb.

Your sentence has no such omissions. Its structure is

S - cV - AdvC - nA

S (Subject) = "The dog"
cV (copulative Verb) = "is"
AdvC (Adverbial complement) = "somewhere about"
nA (nominative Absolute) = "hunting rats"


If you're asking if the first sentence is grammatically correct, it is. "Somewhere about" is idiomatic usage that implies "somewhere about here" (in relation to the speaker). The "here" doesn't have to be explicitly included. The sentence means that the dog is somewhere in the vicinity of the speaker and is engaged in hunting rats.

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