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Can I just omit the subject directly in informal sentence,or I should omit it and start with ing?

For example: (I) Sing in the middle of storms/ Singing in the middle of storms.

3 Answers 3

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An English sentence with a root verb but without an explicit subject is an order to someone unspecified who is not the person speaking. So

Sing in the middle of storms

is grammatical and means that someone other then the speaker must sing during storms. If that is what you want to say, then the sentence is perfect. But it does NOT, IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER. mean

I sing in the middle of storms.

When an explicit subject is missing, the implied subject is "you."

Singing in the middle of storms

lacks a verb. Without a verb, it is not a grammatically valid sentence. It is what is called a sentence fragment. Such fragments do occur, e.g. "Hi there," but they basically convey a very simple emotion rather than a thought. Most fragments are unintelligibly ambiguous, as indeed this one is. There are hundred of ways to complete this fragmentary thought.

Singing in storms is what my mother says she did when she was a small child

Singing in storms causes cancer

Singing in storms is a sure sign of lunacy.

Which one is meant? No one listening or reading can tell. You have introduced a subject but then said nothing about it.

EDIT: The comments to this answer are correct that sometimes context provides sufficient information to render a sentence fragment unambiguous. Knowing when there is sufficient context can be difficult even for a native speaker. I'd avoid sentence fragments when you have the slightest doubt.

In the following video, it is quite clear who is singing and dancing in the rain.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=signing+in+the+rain#id=1&vid=89f2538b0ea04000a4a9f5512078a8a9&action=click

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  • However not grammatically correct, colloquially you can say “doing something” with an implied subject “I”. E.g., “feeling sad”.
    – bazzilic
    Commented May 30, 2020 at 15:57
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    The fragment can also be used in response to a question or in some other context that makes the subject/verb obvious. For example: Q: "What are you doing?" A: "Singing in the storm." In this case, there's an implied "I am..." that has been elided. Commented May 30, 2020 at 17:02
  • @bazzilic and Canadian Yankee Thanks for the comments. I have edited my answer. Commented May 30, 2020 at 18:52
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In short isolated sentences in informal conversation, we often omit an initial subject pronoun and a following auxiliary:

Going out?

Got some!

Don't know.

See any?

Spoken to him?

Heard it.

So if you were writing down a conversation like this (which can happen on text or Whatsapp etc) you would probably write just as above.

But even in informal conversation, if an utterance consists of more than one sentence, we don't generally omit the subject or auxiliary. So your example is not idiomatic, spoken or written.

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Unlike some other languges, in English you can’t omit the subject in the sentence “I sing in the middle of the storms” without changing the meaning. Without the subject, it becomes imperative. It will be understood as an order “(you must) sing in the middle of the storms”.

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  • Very minor point. You can grammatically omit an explicit subject in English, but it affects meaning. From the way you put it, someone might wrongly deduce that you can omit the subject for sentences in the third person or even the first person plural without changing the meaning. There is no error in your answer, but it could perhaps be made clearer. Just a suggestion meant to be helpful. Commented May 30, 2020 at 15:51
  • Thanks, I updated the answer.
    – bazzilic
    Commented May 30, 2020 at 15:52

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