“No, Harry, he has not. He is still out there somewhere, perhaps looking for another body to share… not being truly alive, he cannot be killed. He left Quirrell to die; he shows just as little mercy to his followers as his enemies. Nevertheless, Harry, while you may only have delayed his return to power, it will merely take someone else who is prepared to fight what seems a losing battle next time — and if he is delayed again, and again, why, he may never return to power.” (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

Is there ellipsis after as, he shows little mercy to?

  • I'm not sure what you are asking. "Is there an ellipsis after the word 'as'? or "Is there an ellipsis after the phrase 'he shows little mercy to'? Either way, I don't think it matters. I wouldn't use an ellipsis in either place. Please explain your reasoning further. Aug 18, 2013 at 23:35
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    @KansasTeacher I think Listenever means ellipsis as in an omitted word. (Listenever, am I interpreting your question correctly?) Does the sentence mean “he shows little mercy to his followers, and he shows equally little mercy to his enemies”? I would indeed expect “as little mercy to his followers as to his enemies” in that case. As it is, I parse the sentence as “he shows just as little mercy to his enemies as his enemies show merci to his enemies”, which doesn't make sense. Aug 19, 2013 at 0:38

1 Answer 1


There is, but not the one you suggest.

Let's start off by making it clear what we're talking about. This is an “incomplete construction”.

From nonfictionwritingcoach.org:
Incomplete Constructions
Some sentences include incomplete constructions, in which some words are implied but not stated explicitly. Common incomplete constructions include phrases with “more/less than,” “as many/few as,” or “as much/little as.”

The implied words (which you've correctly, though confusingly referred to as an ellipsis) would be:

...he shows just as little mercy to his followers as [he does to] his enemies.

That is yet another ellipsis of a different kind, as I've used “does [show]” to avoid repeating “shows”.

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