mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest
When can we omit the subject of a sentence? Options
bogdanno
Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 3:22:14 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/11/2009
Posts: 77
Neurons: 1,128
My question is: when can we omit the subject in a sentence?
Some notes:

1)I asked this question on a forum
"Please come to visit the New International Hotel in the convenient city center location. The hotel is just minutes away from great shopping. A bank and a famous cafe are next to the hotel. Across the street is a popular bakery. You can also visit beaches by bus, about 15 minutes away. By subway, you can go to interesting shops and gourmet restaurants. You can even visit a discothéque or pub. Taxi service is available 24 hours.
Is the sentence "Across the street is a popular bakery" correct or should it be "Across the street there is a popular bakery"?What if we say "Next door is a bakery", is that correct?"

and I got the replies: "Both are correct. A popular bakery IS across the street. Statement of fact. It's the same format as the previous sentence about the bank and cafe.

There is a popular ... tells you that if you are looking for a bakery then there is one across the street.

Additional Q.. Yes. Well No actually. The bakery is across the street, not next door. Next door are a bank and a cafe." (za)
Either is correct. The more common way is to omit the 'there'.(William W)

2) I am aware some special sentences don't need a subject or predicate, for example exclamation or dialogue sentences. I am not asking about these- I ask about common "not so peculiar" sentences, as the ones I mentioned above.
Is "across the street" a subject, it doesn't look like that to me.

3)"Be careful not to omit "it" from an expletive(also called a subject filler)

NO: is a lovely day.

YES: It is a lovely day "(Handbook for writers, Simon and Schuster)

4) Note that saying "Is a lovely day" is acceptable in languages like Spanish or Romanian.



Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 3:32:14 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,293
Neurons: 166,696
I can not directly answer your question; however, your example sounds like an advertising pamphlet, and advertising has a self granted dispensation from adhering to any rules.
bugdoctor
Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2009 6:21:28 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/8/2009
Posts: 1,789
Neurons: 5,456
Location: United States - Georgia
The only time I think you can 'omit' the subject is in a direct command, as in:
"Go to the store."
But even there, 'you' is implied.
Spanish Teacher
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 10:45:11 AM
Rank: Member

Joined: 4/29/2009
Posts: 14
Neurons: 51
Location: United States
If I am not mistaken (and I certainly could be), I believe that another circumstance in which the subject of a sentence is not required to be present would be within a sentence utilizing the Passive Voice:

e.g.- The reports are handed in every Thursday.

(Who handed them in? Here, the subject is neither mentioned nor implied)

Or...

e.g. - The keys were left on the table.

(Again, who left the keys there?)

bugdoctor
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 11:12:59 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/8/2009
Posts: 1,789
Neurons: 5,456
Location: United States - Georgia
Spanish Teacher wrote:
If I am not mistaken (and I certainly could be), I believe that another circumstance in which the subject of a sentence is not required to be present would be within a sentence utilizing the Passive Voice:

e.g.- The reports are handed in every Thursday.

(Who handed them in? Here, the subject is neither mentioned nor implied)

Or...

e.g. - The keys were left on the table.

(Again, who left the keys there?)



In your first example, 'reports' is the subject. What was handed in? The reports.

In the second example, 'keys' is the subject. What was left on the table? The keys.

Identifying 'who' in your examples does not have anything to do with the subject. If we had said "The keys were left on the table by Susan", then Susan would be the object of the preposition 'by'.
sophiaengpro
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 12:25:11 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 9/3/2009
Posts: 7
Neurons: 21
Location: Taiwan
Hello bogdanno,

In English, to emphasize the location, you can put the location (Across the street) in the front of the sentence and omit what you call the subject (there, in this case).

This does not apply to 'time phrases', meaning you can't say "On this Saturday is a football match."
You have to say "On this Saturday there is a football match."

I'll give you several examples.

Under the tree is a dog.
Next to the park stands a clock tower.
Underneath his jacket was his white tucked in t-shirt and jeans.
Deep beneath the sea lies the mysterious kingdom of Captain Nemo.

I'm sure after reading more sentences like these, you'll find it not so strange to your ear.


Hope you find this useful.

Please let me know if this reply has helped you in any way.

Have a nice day.



bogdanno
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 12:27:11 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/11/2009
Posts: 77
Neurons: 1,128
sophiaengpro wrote:


Please let me know if this reply has helped you in any way.



Yes, it helped me.
grammargeek
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 2:27:58 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/21/2009
Posts: 11,136
Neurons: 33,836
Location: Arizona, U.S.
bugdoctor wrote:
Spanish Teacher wrote:
If I am not mistaken (and I certainly could be), I believe that another circumstance in which the subject of a sentence is not required to be present would be within a sentence utilizing the Passive Voice:

e.g.- The reports are handed in every Thursday.

(Who handed them in? Here, the subject is neither mentioned nor implied)

Or...

e.g. - The keys were left on the table.

(Again, who left the keys there?)



In your first example, 'reports' is the subject. What was handed in? The reports.

In the second example, 'keys' is the subject. What was left on the table? The keys.

Identifying 'who' in your examples does not have anything to do with the subject. If we had said "The keys were left on the table by Susan", then Susan would be the object of the preposition 'by'.



Maybe I am just getting myself all confused here, but I thought that "reports" and "keys" as used in the above examples would be considered the objects (not subjects) of the sentences because they are the recipients of the action. This is consistent with what bugdoctor wrote in a portion of his comment:

What was handed in? The reports.

What was left on the table? The keys.

If "reports" and "keys" are considered to be the subjects, as well as the objects, then the reports would have to have handed themselves in, and the keys would have to have left themselves on the table.
bugdoctor
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 3:31:47 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/8/2009
Posts: 1,789
Neurons: 5,456
Location: United States - Georgia
grammargeek wrote:
bugdoctor wrote:
Spanish Teacher wrote:
If I am not mistaken (and I certainly could be), I believe that another circumstance in which the subject of a sentence is not required to be present would be within a sentence utilizing the Passive Voice:

e.g.- The reports are handed in every Thursday.

(Who handed them in? Here, the subject is neither mentioned nor implied)

Or...

e.g. - The keys were left on the table.

(Again, who left the keys there?)



In your first example, 'reports' is the subject. What was handed in? The reports.

In the second example, 'keys' is the subject. What was left on the table? The keys.

Identifying 'who' in your examples does not have anything to do with the subject. If we had said "The keys were left on the table by Susan", then Susan would be the object of the preposition 'by'.


Maybe I am just getting myself all confused here, but I thought that "reports" and "keys" as used in the above examples would be considered the objects (not subjects) of the sentences because they are the recipients of the action. This is consistent with what bugdoctor wrote in a portion of his comment:

What was handed in? The reports.

What was left on the table? The keys.

If "reports" and "keys" are considered to be the subjects, as well as the objects, then the reports would have to have handed themselves in, and the keys would have to have left themselves on the table.





It is a bit confusing. Perhaps this site will offer some clarity.
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_actpass.html

grammargeek
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 3:57:15 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/21/2009
Posts: 11,136
Neurons: 33,836
Location: Arizona, U.S.
bugdoctor wrote:
grammargeek wrote:
bugdoctor wrote:
Spanish Teacher wrote:
If I am not mistaken (and I certainly could be), I believe that another circumstance in which the subject of a sentence is not required to be present would be within a sentence utilizing the Passive Voice:

e.g.- The reports are handed in every Thursday.

(Who handed them in? Here, the subject is neither mentioned nor implied)

Or...

e.g. - The keys were left on the table.

(Again, who left the keys there?)



In your first example, 'reports' is the subject. What was handed in? The reports.

In the second example, 'keys' is the subject. What was left on the table? The keys.

Identifying 'who' in your examples does not have anything to do with the subject. If we had said "The keys were left on the table by Susan", then Susan would be the object of the preposition 'by'.


Maybe I am just getting myself all confused here, but I thought that "reports" and "keys" as used in the above examples would be considered the objects (not subjects) of the sentences because they are the recipients of the action. This is consistent with what bugdoctor wrote in a portion of his comment:

What was handed in? The reports.

What was left on the table? The keys.

If "reports" and "keys" are considered to be the subjects, as well as the objects, then the reports would have to have handed themselves in, and the keys would have to have left themselves on the table.





It is a bit confusing. Perhaps this site will offer some clarity.
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_actpass.html



At the link you provided bugdoctor, I found this:

Passive Voice
In sentences written in passive voice, the subject receives the action expressed in the verb; the subject is acted upon. The agent performing the action may appear in a "by the . . ." phrase or may be omitted.



I don't recall being taught that the subject may receive, rather than do, the action. Nevertheless, the description given above clearly states that it can! I must not have been paying attention in class when that "subject" was covered. Either that or the migraine headache I have is interfering with my cognition.d'oh!

So it looks like you are right on this one, bugdoctor!

But please, there is no need to yell. Angel
bugdoctor
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 4:18:42 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/8/2009
Posts: 1,789
Neurons: 5,456
Location: United States - Georgia
grammargeek wrote:


So it looks like you are right on this one, bugdoctor!

But please, there is no need to yell. Angel




Yeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssss!!!

Angel
Wilmar (USA) 1M
Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 8:55:21 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/4/2015
Posts: 5,475
Neurons: 1,247,910
Location: Vinton, Iowa, United States
OK, some of you need a lesson on active voice and passive voice sentences. They both have subjects, and for some of you, the subject of a passive voice is not what you think it is. The Farlex lessons offered by TFD includes one on this subject.

The original question was about when a sentence could not legally include a subject.
One person got that right (though I did stop reading the comments partway thru).

Commands do not include a subject, and that is the only sentence type that allows for this.
However, as noted in the sample text, which is written in "marketing-speak", a subject might be omitted, but that is not proper English.

Casual spoken (conversational) English often includes "minor sentences", which are often simple responses to something someone else has said or asked.
Mary: What are you doing this afternoon?
Ellen: Swimming.

Mary: Are you hungry, yet?
Ellen: Starving!



Here is a portion of a lesson from TFD.
The Farlex Grammar Book > English Grammar > Syntax > Sentences > Major and Minor Sentences (Regular and Irregular Sentences)

Major and Minor Sentences (Regular and Irregular Sentences)
What is a major sentence?
A major sentence (also called a regular sentence) is any complete sentence that is made up of or contains an independent clause—that is, it has both a subject and a predicate (a verb and any of its constituent parts).
What is a minor sentence?
A minor sentence (also called an irregular sentence), on the other hand, is any sentence that does not have at least one independent clause—that is, it does not have both a subject and a complete predicate—and yet is used in writing or speech as a complete sentence that stands on its own.
All of the other sections in the chapter on Sentences deal with major sentences, so we will focus on minor sentences in this section.
Minor Sentences
Minor sentences can be made up of single words, sentence fragments, interjections, or set expressions (such as idioms and proverbs. We’ll examine several examples of each below to see how they are used in everyday English.

It goes on to describe single-word sentences and sentence fragments. Please read it.
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 10:34:41 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 17,927
Neurons: 58,236
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

All these posters have unfamiliar names - apart from Epi - because they all left a long time ago. The thread itself is 11 years old. I doubt any of them are worried about this anymore!!
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.