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TitleEllipsis: Being Left Out
Publication TypeIcon
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsPinnock, Hugh W., and Fernando Vazquez

The word ellipsis comes from a Greek word that means "a leaving out." Bullinger explains, "The figure is so called, because some gap is left in the sentence, which means that a word or words are left out." That is, words are omitted that the sentence would ordinarily include but that are not necessary for the sentence to be understood. Bullinger further states that the words left out in an ellipsis are "words which are necessary for the grammar, but are not necessary for the sense." Further, it is "a figure of speech in which one or more words are omitted in order to emphasize the idea or theme."

Ellipsis means an omission of a word or words that would be logically necessary to the sentence construction, but whose absence does not greatly obscure the meaning. It is "the omission of one or more words in a sentence, which would be needed to complete the grammatical construction or fully to express the sense." Similarly, it can be defined as "the omission of a particle, word or group of words within a poetic or grammatical unit, where its presence is expected." It is a form of shortened writing. The author assumes that the reader can discern from the context the full intent of the message. Especially in parallel lines, an element may be dropped the second time, because it can easily be implied by clear allusions to that which was left out. Even pronouns can function elliptically, when their antecedents are not immediately obvious.


An extract from Hugh W. Pinnock, Finding Biblical Hebrew and Other Ancient Literary Forms in the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999), 141-142.

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Citation Key1153