Can subject be omitted in common speech and informal text?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by rejelx, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. rejelx Member

    I've found many people say things like:
    "I did the test pretty well. I will be very happy if it's highly graded. Hope that."
    Is it fine to say this way? (It should have been "I hope that"). Do native English speakers sometimes say this way?
    And in the "Eyes on me" song, it starts with:
    "Whenever sang my song, on that stage, on my own..."
    The subject should have been I but it was omitted.
    If possible, when can we omit the subject like this?
  2. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    Hi Rejelx. In your first example, a seperate sentence saying "Hope that." doesn't make any sense to me at all. In fact, I've never once heard this construction until reading your post.

    I also wonder if you simply didn't hear the word "I" in the song sentence.

    In answer to your question... no, native-English-speakers don't speak this way.
  3. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Welcome to the forum, Rejelx.

    The subject of commands ("you") is usually omitted, but other subjects generally are not. I is somewhat exceptional because it is such a very short word, just a vowel, so sometimes it gets passed over in speech:

    (I) hope to see you tomorrow.
    (I'll) see you soon.

    This does not always work as smoothly in writing because it can create ambiguities:

    I did pretty well on the test. I will be happy if it gets a high grade. I hope it does.

    Without the I, we could be saying "Please hope it does" or "Let's hope it does", a mild command instead of a statement.

    I am not familiar with the "Eyes on me" song, but the way you have written it does not make sense to me.
  4. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I disagree with Dimcl.

    In colloquial speech/writing, we often omit the subject pronoun. You''ll find many examples in WRF:)
  5. rejelx Member

    Thank you for your replies,
    About the "Eyes on me" song, I am not wrong. Take a look:
    anysonglyrics dot com/lyrics/f/fayewong/eyes.htm

    Thank to your replies, I now know it's recommended NOT to say this way.
  6. JamesM

    JamesM Senior Member

    "Hope so" would sound much more natural to me and is fairly common in AE.
  7. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    "Hope so" is common, but I couldn't make it fit the original context unless someone else were saying it as a rejoinder.

    Those lyrics really don't add up. Perhaps the songwriter imagined it to be another way to say "Whenever singing my song, ...".
  8. JamesM

    JamesM Senior Member

    Sorry. I didn't see the lyrics. I don't think they add up either, but lyrics can play fast and loose with the language. I was thinking about the:

    "I did the test pretty well. I will be very happy if it's highly graded. Hope so."

    I would re-word it as:

    "Did pretty well on the test. Think I'll get a good grade. Hope so!"

    I can imagine this in a note to a friend or an instant message, but not in anything more formal.
  9. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    The song "Eyes on Me" is sung by Faye Wong, a Chinese singer who is popular also popular in other Asian countries, including Japan. (Source: Wiki article.)

    As previous posters have pointed out, native speakers of English do occasionally omit the subject in speech, but they follow different rules. In particular, they would not omit the subject in this position: Whenever I sang my song....

    (All the versions of the lyrics that I found on the internet do omit "I", as the original poster says.)
  10. Cheesee = Madness Senior Member

    Canadian English
    I've never heard the exact phrase, but I have heard True that.

    Ex. Cheese is awesome
    True that.
    Its understandable to me but I would never say it.
  11. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    This is a good point. I have heard this too. However, I would write it with a comma: "True, that".

    This is because I understand "True, that" to be equivalent to "True, that is," with "is" dropped off the end. "True, that is" is an acceptable variation of the word order of "That is true".

    However, "Hope that" is not the same construction. It presents the problems that have been described above.
  12. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Maybe it's just me, but the "Hope so" on the end just sounds out of sync to me after "I think ...". (Either I expect so or I hope so, but not hope after expect.)

    Here is a version with no I (or articles) at all:

    Did pretty well on test. Hope to get good grade.

    This is telegraphic language. When each letter cost money but no punctuation characters were available, a telegram might be coded as:


    Quite understandable and natural, for a telegram. So yes, we do omit I as a subject when we need to be succinct, but not after whenever.
  13. pcplus Senior Member

    Yes, that's the explanation, she's a Chinese singer, and it could be that he has commited a mistake!! Sometimes even native speakers could make mistakes.

    This is what I've come up with, although I'm not totally sure, please may it be checked

    Another thing is informal speech perfectly done in that kind of register and with no mistakes:

    Normally the subject which is dropped is always in the case of "I",
    Ex. "Don't wanna be an American idiot..."

    or "we" when it's clear: "don't want to be champions right now",
    (it) in that case:"took me a long time to record that song", and: (he/she) "likes to eat cheese hamburgers"

    The other subject pronoums are not ommited never, I'm afraid, in informal speech, besides acronyms like (brb) "I'll".
  14. pcplus Senior Member

    I made an important mistake here:

    or "we" when it's clear: "don't want to be champions right now",
  15. Beowulff New Member

    My question concerns compound sentences with similar subject.
    Is it right to say:
    "I performed my tasks notably ahead of schedule and was able to undertake extras",
    or "I" shouldn't be omitted in the second part of the sentence?
  16. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    It is perfectly fine to eliminate "I" in the second part of the sentence. It's also fine to leave it in.
  17. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    This is not a compound sentence (sentence with multiple coordinated clauses) but a simple sentence with a compound predicate. The subject is I and the rest of the sentence is the compound predicate. The compound predicate has two parts, coordinated by and.

    Nothing is being omitted, and this sentence structure is suitable for both formal and informal contexts.
  18. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    In some languages, the verb form is unique to the subject, and therefore it is not essential to use the subject. The English verb form is much the same throughout its declension, and therefore requires the subject.

    It is possible, in English, to omit the subject in the second clause where the action is continued by the same person(s): "He climbed onto the wall and [he] jumped down." "The boy and his father went into the woods but [they] collected no mushrooms."

    In a simple sentence, the subject must be there otherwise it is incomprehensible: "Shot him." :confused: Who shot him? I, you, they, he, she, it, we?
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  19. Beowulff New Member

    Thanks a lot!

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