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".


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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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