Can we only omit the verb in omission?

For example, is this sentence right?

How to get over a breakup or over someone.

  • 1
    I'd say half-deleting a MWV, while it may not be ungrammatical and may not in some cases be confusing, sounds unusual to unnatural. Obviously 'He looked up the answer to the first question and up the answer to the fourth question' sounds outlandish, but there may be other examples that do not sound as bad ('over someone' is, after all, a PP commonly used) and these will have borderline acceptability. But I've found few besides your example. (??'They broke into the church and into the vestry.') I'd avoid semi-deletion. Apr 17, 2022 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


The Short, Clear Sentence is Fine–but...

Many things about phrasal verbs can confuse, at least a little: at least enough for someone to reread what they just read–which is almost never good. One way to possibly confuse with a phrasal verb would be to omit part of the phrase. Nevertheless, the given example is close together, and simple, so probably it would be ok.

Still, the clearer, safer choice would be to let the first phrase simply apply to both nouns: How to get over a breakup or someone.

  • 2
    What casts some doubt here is that “get over” seems to have slightly different meanings in “get over a breakup” and in “get over someone”. doesn’t this raise any issues? Take “bring up” as an example. is it correct to say “ it was easy for her to bring up smart children or a sensetive topic at work”. However, I m not sure if “get over” has the same root of meaning in both “get over a breakup” and “get over someone”; since if it has, I feel it is grammatically correct to omit “get over” before the second object in the same sentence.
    – raz site
    Apr 17, 2022 at 7:31
  • 1
    Bring up a sensitive topic means only talk about a sensitive topic. But bring up children can mean talk about children, or also — and more commonly — provide for children as they grow. So combining bring up for both would be risky. However, get over has the same meaning for both a person and a relationship: to move past something that did not go well.
    – Floyd
    Apr 17, 2022 at 15:26
  • Those types of combinations are usually done for rhetorical purposes to take advantage of the pun.
    – Barmar
    Apr 18, 2022 at 18:49
  • @Bramar "Sometimes done" would be a better bet.
    – Floyd
    Apr 19, 2022 at 20:37
  • "See Flanders and Swann's "Have some Madeira, M'Dear": "He said as he hastened to put out the cat, the wine, his cigar, and the lamps ... she lowered her standards by raising her glass, her courage, her eyes and his hopes." Good for comic effect, full of pitfalls in ordinary use. May 29, 2022 at 20:05

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