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Is it grammatically acceptable to omit the term "house" in the following sentences:

"I had to go to my sister's to get my laptop because I had fogotten it there, that's why I took so long to come back home".

"I'm going to John's to visit him because he told me he was sick".

"Yesterday I went to Michael's, but he wasn't home".

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It is indeed acceptable to omit "house," "home," "office" or "tipi" in the sentence

"I had to go to my sister's to get my laptop..."

Strictly speaking, such a construction is informal, since it requires that the reader assume the missing word.

In formal usage the omission would usually require that the absent word appear, as an antecedent, in a prior statement:

My house is a small cottage. My sister's is a sprawling ranch.

While omitting the antecedent word may run afoul of strict formal composition norms, it is perfectly clear in conversation or informal writing.

  • How can we call this phenomenon in linguistics? What about ellipsis? – Peter Ferrer Feb 27 '16 at 22:18
  • @PeterFerrer- Some might disagree, but I wouldn't call this ellipsis. For a good quick illustration of what clearly is ellipsis, see this link – Rob_Ster Feb 27 '16 at 22:24
  • It is not strictly necessary (in informal writing/speech) for the omitted word to appear in a prior statement when that word refers to the person's place of residence, or can readily be inferred to refer to, say, his office. – Hot Licks Feb 27 '16 at 22:27
  • I'm not sure you would use this contraction for anything other than a home. I would never say "I'm going to my sister's..." and mean her office. I would mean her tipi only if she had a tipi as a home – DJClayworth Feb 27 '16 at 22:40

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