When I was an elementary school student in Montréal, we were taught that some words or phrases did not need to be spoken or written because they were 'understood'.

Another OP on site asked a question that included this as an example:

Who is your favourite footballer and cricketer?

I would like to say, Who is your favourite footballer and who is your favourite cricketer?" The part in bold type is understood.

However, I cannot find a definition for what I call understood. Is there another name for this in grammar?


2 Answers 2


Yes, you'll actually hear the term "ellipsis" used frequently on ELL. An ellipsis is a part of speech omitted for brevity or clarity, as in your example.

There is no need to repeat "who is your favorite" because, as you say, it is understood that is what you mean.

Some other examples of ellipsis (omitted words in parentheses):

(Are you) Going to the supermarket? if so, (could you) get me some milk?

A: Let's go to the movies?
B: Nah, I don't wanna (go to the movies).
A: Well, where (do you want to go) then?
B: It's a nice day. Let's go to the beach.

This is related to the punctuation ellipses, which is the three dots (...) used to indicate an omission in the text.

In his inauguration speech, the American President Donald Trump said, "The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans ... From this moment on, it's going to be America First."

  • Thank you -- I could find definitions for 'understood', but the word 'subject' was always included. As I understood it (way back in the 50s), it wasn't only the subject that could be 'understood'. I thought an ellipsis was literally those three little dots... So, I could have said, "Who is your favourite footballer and who is your favourite cricketer?" The part in bold type is an ellipsis, which means it is understood but left unspoken.
    – WRX
    Apr 17, 2017 at 17:19
  • I am not going to get a better answer than yours, so even though the world has not had an opportunity to weigh in -- you've been elected. ;)
    – WRX
    Apr 17, 2017 at 22:27
  • @Willow it's ok to wait a while. Eventually someone like FumbleFingers or TRomano will weigh in and let me know if I'm wrong.
    – Andrew
    Apr 17, 2017 at 23:04
  • if you are, I promise to change my acceptance, but I think you got it and mine not is an award winning question.
    – WRX
    Apr 17, 2017 at 23:48

I could define it as:

to understand from a context, conversation, or allusion, something that is not directly or specifically expressed, that is, something that is implied.

On the other hand The Free Dictionary defines


  1. implied or inferred

  2. taken for granted; assumed


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