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oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com:
(1) She was seriously ill as an infant.
my variant:
(2) She was seriously ill as she was an infant.

Is it right to say:

(1) comes from (2) by omitting "she was" (ellipsis).

If not, then why not?

3 Answers 3

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No, your version, "...as she was an infant", doesn't really work, because it changes the meaning.

As is a word with many meanings. The original sentence says that she was seriously sick when she was an infant. Your variant sounds like she was sick because she was an infant.

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  • Can we use this "as" for the future, e.g.: "As an adult ( = "When she is an adult" or "Being an adult"), she will want to live in her own house." ? Thanks.
    – Loviii
    Jan 26 at 0:03
  • Does it change the meaning if we move "as" to the end: "She will want to live in her own house as an adult." ? Thanks.
    – Loviii
    Jan 26 at 0:15
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    Yes, you can use it for the future too. Moving it doesn't really change anything - you could even put it in the middle, like "She will want, as an adult, to live in her own house."
    – stangdon
    Jan 26 at 0:55
  • @Loviii: Actually moving it to the end can change the meaning. It's perhaps less clear in this specific example, but if you change it slightly to "As a manager, she will want to work in that office" then it means "because/when she is a manager, she will want to work there". Putting the "as" at the end ("She will want to work in that office as a manager") can mean the same, but is more likely to mean "She will want to work in that office in the capacity of a manager" i.e. the meaning is that she will want to be a manager.
    – psmears
    Jan 26 at 16:16
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"as" has different meanings. "As an infant" means "at the time when she was an infant". But often "as" means "because": "as she was an infant" means "because she was an infant". So you are changing the meaning. "As an infant" is complete, there is no ellipsis. Sure, you could create a different sentence with different meaning by adding more words, but that's not what an "ellipsis" means.

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It is incorrect to use an ellipses. An ellipses is used when information is not said. However, I found an error in your version of the sentence.

What you should use instead of "as she was" is the word when.

She was seriously ill as she was an infant

'When' is the proper word because she is not coming from sickness. Sickness is not a place. This sentence would be more correctly written as

She was seriously ill when she was infant.

She very well may have once been sick, but this sentence needs the word 'when' to show that she was sick at the same time she was an infant. Additionally, using 'as she was' in that context is unconventional English. The version I provided is more standard.

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  • 1
    "Sickness is not a place." What is this criticism about? I don't see anything in OP's version that implies sickness is a place.
    – MJD
    Jan 26 at 16:29
  • To clarify, I nightie misunderstood the question. A better explanation is that the use of 'as' implies she was 'like' a child the correct term is 'when'.
    – Elainor
    Jan 26 at 18:54
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    I don't think it implies that either. There are similar constructions that might: "as ill as an infant", "ill as if she was an infant". But the way it's written, that interpretation is a stretch.
    – MJD
    Jan 26 at 19:27
  • This answer makes little sense, and seems not to understand the question. The question is about the rhetorical technique of ellipsis (i.e., leaving the words out). It is not about "using ellipses" (i.e., the ellipsis punctuation mark that denotes that words were left out). OP's question is, did the original phrase leave words out? (Answer: no, but OP had a reasonable guess about it.) I can tell you as a native speaker that: the sentence is completely normal, standard English; the preposition "as" has nothing to do with denoting a location; and it is not necessary to use 'when" here. Jan 26 at 21:46
  • (Also, what MJD said is completely correct.) Jan 26 at 21:47

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