At an advanced English level, it’s important to work on your fluency, and in this lesson we’re looking at a very useful way to achieve this. We’ll study a few different situations where we can omit words to increase fluency.

Have fun with the lesson, and don’t forget to try the quizzes.

– James.

Lesson Contents

Omitting verbs using auxiliaries

Our first method is to avoid repeating the verb using an auxiliary or modal to infer the verb’s intention:

Q: Is your name Sandra Smith?

A: It is(… It is Sandra Smith)

Q: Are you the manager here?

A: I am(… I am the manager here)

You don’t necessarily have to use this method when answering questions, you can use it in full sentences too:

She asked me to quit smoking, but I already had.

Man U won the matches, but no-one thought they would.

Is this for me? Oh! You shouldn’t have.

Be careful to consider the context of your answer before answering. You don’t simply repeat the previous auxiliary, sometimes you have to change the auxiliary if the tense of the response changes. Look at this example:

Don’t forget to lock the car.
(present simple : auxiliary = do)

I already have.
(present perfect : auxiliary = have)

Complete the sentences using an auxiliary verb or a modal verb. Make the form negative where necessary.

So / Neither / But / Though

We sometimes use the determiners THOUGH / NEITHER / EITHER, the conjunction BUT or the adverb SO with the above method to avoid repeating words. The word orders are as follows:



(and) SUJ + AUX + EITHER


(and) SO + AUX + SUJ

Mark didn’t eat dinner last night. I did though.

Daniel doesn’t like alcohol, and neither do I.

She doesn’t like meat, and I don’t either.

Sam has been to China, but I haven’t.

They enjoyed the evening and so did we.

Complete the halves of the sentences that compare you with friends of yours.

Omitting verbs using reduced infinitives

In certain situations, you can simply say the word to instead of the verb. This method is used when the form of the complete sentences is VERB + TO + VERB.

A: Doesn’t your father drive?

B: No, he never learned to
(learn to drive)

A: He should take his driving test.

B: Well, he doesn’t want to
(want to take)

Answer the questions using a sentence with a reduced infinitive.

All Quizzes