by Jennie Ruby
The word elliptical actually does not refer to the shape of the sentence, but rather to the concept of ellipsis: leaving something out. In the following examples, the section in square brackets is the part that is left out.
Mentally inserting the omitted words can help you choose the correct pronoun:
Thinking about the omitted words can also help with different from versus different than. Than works with the elliptical words added:
But when we try adding the elliptical wording and it does not work, we need to use the word from:
Adding the words is different at the end of this sentence does not work--so we need from and not than. The correct sentence is this:
In the next example, using an elliptical sentence can save us a lot of words. When you take out the bracketed section in this next type of elliptical sentence, you put in a comma to indicate that words were left out:
Notice that in the elliptical sentence, the list commas had to be upgraded to semicolons once the list items contained commas.
So to test your pronouns, check for different than versus different from, and to eliminate wordiness, remember to use elliptical sentences, and you won't have to run around in circles trying to find the right answer.
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