I could not remember him; but I knew that he was my own uncle—my mother’s brother—that he had taken me when a parentless infant to his house; and that in his last moments he had required a promise of Mrs. Reed that she would rear and maintain me as one of her own children. (Jane Eyre)

Can we use adverb phrase like the highlighted: conjunction plus noun phrase?

1 Answer 1


It’s an instance of ellipsis, in which elements of a clause or phrase are not expressed. In the example, ‘when a parentless infant’ would, in full, be ‘when I was a parentless infant’.

  • Is Ellipsis and implicit words are same?
    – Mistu4u
    Feb 11, 2013 at 14:01
  • @Mistu4u. The missing words are implicit, but ellipsis is the grammatical feature. Feb 11, 2013 at 14:05

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