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My question:

When we have a clear context, can we omit words, phrases, clauses, or even sentences? Because I think they are sometimes too long or kind of wordy.

Is there a rule of thumb or something in terms of this?


Examples I came up with:

I came up with these scenarios; I don't know if they are acceptable or not to you guys.

The contents in the parentheses are things I think we can omit.

Scenario 1

A: You played for the varsity basketball team. You must be skilled (at basketball).

B: Yeah, I am proficient (in playing basketball).

Scenario 2

A: Do you know Estée Lauder? Their products are good.

B: Yeah, I have an eyeliner (of Estée Lauder) and a lip gloss (of Estée Lauder).

Scenario 3

A: I am going to that breakfast shop.

B: Ok, you go first and I will catch up. I will probably have a burger and tea (from that shop).

Scenario 4

A: The venue has lots of equipment. We have to know all the devices' locations

B: Yes, we should be familiar (with their locations).

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    1-3 are fine. 4 is comprehensible, but I don't think a native speaker would say it - we might say "Yes, we should", or "Yes we should be familiar with them", but familiar tends not to be used without an object in that sense. More generally, Look up pragmatics for a discussion of this phenomenon, which is not restricted to English.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 27 '20 at 19:20
  • @ColinFine I believe this phenomenon appears when the information such as the topic or the scope of the discourse is clear. But it is kind of hard for non-native speakers like me, because we don't know how to omit or reduce our sentences. Sometimes we make long, wordy sentences as a result. And finally, I remember the phenomenon is called the economy principle in language?
    – vincentlin
    Dec 28 '20 at 7:10

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