the omission of the object.

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Senior Member

When the verb is a transitive and the other party already know what the object is, or the object is already mentioned, is the omission of the object grammatically possible and correct?

1a. I like Jane and my friend likes her, too. b. I like Jane and my friend likes, too.
2a. I put my keys somewhere but I couldn't find them. b. I put my keys somewhere but I couldn't find.
3a. The boy asked a question and his teacher answered the question. b. The boy asked a question and his teacher answered.

Is (b) pattern possible and correct?

Thank you always~.
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    3b is possible because it's possible to use "answer" without an object.

    1b and 2b are not possible.


    English - Canada/US
    3b is possible because 'answer' can be both transitive and intransitive. With verbs like 'like' and 'find,' these can only be transitive and therefore omission isn't possible.

    In 1, omission is possible if you say "I like Jane and my friend does too." In 2 and 3 this doesn't work though, as there are two different verbs (put/find, ask/answer).


    Senior Member
    4a. Let's order hamburgers and let's eat them in the office. b. Let's order hamburgers and eat in the office.

    How about 4b? I think this is possible. If so, is 'eat' like 'ask/answer'?


    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    4b. is possible because "to eat" can either take an object or not. "Let's eat" can just mean "let's have our meal," which would make sense without an object. "Let's eat hamburgers" is slightly different in meaning than "let's eat."

    But for the verbs that take an object we cannot drop the object.


    Senior Member
    5a. She likes fruit but her husband doesn't like fruit. b. She likes fruit but her husband doesn't like.
    6a. She likes fruit but her husband doesn't like fruit. b. She likes fruit but her husband doesn't.

    When the object is ommited in 5b, it is incorrect like 1b. But when the verb+the object is ommited at the same time like 6b, is this possible and correct?


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, you can always reduce the repeated clause to a bare element that holds the inflection: an auxiliary, the infinitive marker 'to', or in some cases the replacement pro-verb 'do' (which can't substitute for 'like', however). You can't in general drop objects: you have to know which specific verbs allow dropping. The object is unlike the subject in this. No, let me rephrase that. In fact, although it appears that you can drop repeated subjects, I think it would be better to analyse this as coordination of predicates:

    Mary [[ate a sandwich] and [drank some tea]]

    rather than coordination of clauses with omission of repeated subject:

    [Mary ate a sandwich] and [__ drank some tea]

    This then gives you the consistent position that both subjects and objects cannot in general be dropped - unlike languages such as Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, and Italian. (I'm guessing your Korean is like Japanese in this respect.)
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