Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ellipsis

The verb give is wrong; it should have been giving (Straits Times, 27 November 2010). 

This is because the final clause shares an auxiliary verb with the preceding one, and since it is understood it may be omitted (or ellipted): he is not heeding her words and he (is) not giving in to his grief.

2 comments:

gerry said...

Hi Dr Tan,

I just had to explain why this is an error to one of my primary school students today. It seems to be such a common error that kids never seem to get around... not only kids i guess ;) I've been explaining to them in this way - explaining like how you have and then by telling them that they can separate the two clauses into 2 sentences. This will help them identify the appropriate form of verbs (e.g. 'He is heeding her words. He is not giving in to his grief.' Rather than 'He is not give in to his grief' or 'He not give in to his grief'). They still seem to get it wrong =( How else will you suggest i teach this?

Ludwig Tan said...

Hi, Gerry

I think you teach it in exactly the right way! I'm not an expert in pedagogy, so I can't suggest any alternative, I'm afraid.