In some sentences we don't use some words. For example, instead of.

Do you want a ride?

we say

Want a ride?

Instead of

I'm just coming, hang on!

we say

just coming, hang on!

Instead of.

Have you seen Jim?

we say

Seen Jim?

Is there any rule for who we can make them short?

  • 3
    You can shorten things when the part you're omitting is so formulaic or obvious that it will be understood implicitly (i.e. without being said). This is known as "conversational deletion".
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 26, 2015 at 20:32
  • 2
    There are several questions with the conversational-deletion tag with answers that explain this; just click on the tag. Sep 26, 2015 at 21:20
  • 1
    @StoneyB is being overly modest. If you click that tag and sort by "votes", then click the highest-voted question and read the highest-voted answer, you'll find the best explanation of this concept on ELL, with pointers to even more material on EL&U.
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 26, 2015 at 21:25
  • @DanBron Everything I know about CD I got from John Lawler's posts on ELU. He directed the dissertation which originally described CD. Sep 26, 2015 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


If something ends up sounding like a grunt or something inaudible when said quickly, then it will usually get omitted over time.

  • Have you seen Jim?
  • 'vyou seen Jim?
  • you seen Jim?
  • y' seen Jim?
  • seen Jim?

I personally tend to stay around the "y' seen Jim" level of omission.

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