In casual conversation I've been noticing this more and more in my own speaking as well as others. The subject will be missing from the beginning of the sentence and instead it's inferred as the general subject in the context of the conversation.


Person 1 >> "Hey, when are you coming over?"

Person 2 >> "[I will] Probably be there at around 14:00."

With the content in the brackets dropped, both people understand that Person 2 is the subject of the second sentence due to context but it's never explicitly stated.

Is there a term for this? I know ellipsis is the term used for the general omission of subjects from a sentence but is there a term for specifically The subject at the start of the sentence being dropped?

  • Aside: If the sentence is shortened to "Probably at around 14:00" is there anything missing? – Weather Vane Oct 3 '18 at 21:07
  • No, but my question is more directed at finding the name of this practice rather than correcting the grammar. edit: didn't see your aside til now – Capn Jack Oct 3 '18 at 21:10
  • 3
    There is pro drop, but that is only about dropping pronouns. In your case, more words have been dropped, so I'd just call it ellipsis. – Cerberus Oct 3 '18 at 21:13
  • In my example, I guess "I will" is the complete set of words being dropped. In the wiki article it uses "I'm" as a dropped example so I think this is indeed pro-drop. That's the answer I was looking for, thanks! – Capn Jack Oct 3 '18 at 21:16

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