The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks The KISS Workbooks Anthology
A Study in 
Ellipsed Objects of Prepositions
From Pinocchio, The Tale of a Puppet
By C. Collodi
    Phrasal verbs (KISS Level 2.1.5) are verb phrases that often end in a word that looks like a preposition. In some cases, these words can be viewed as prepositions with their objects ellipsed. Consider:
Pinocchio pulled off his cap.
This sentence means "Pinocchio pulled his cap off his head." Thus we can say that "head" is the ellipsed object of the preposition "off." In KISS, we can consider "pulled off" as the verb phrase, or we can simply explain the "off" as an adverb. This exercise explores how some of these "prepositions" can be seen as having ellipsed objects. Other prepositions have ellipsed objects simply because their objects are understood.

1. Put parentheses ( ) around each prepositional phrase.
2. Underline subjects once, finite verbs twice, and label complements ("PN," "PA," "IO," "DO").
3. After each preposition with an ellipsed object, write in the word that is ellipsed.

1. They thought it better to stop to give a good look around.

2. It would be too dreadful to open a mullet, or a fried whiting, and

     to find inside a donkey's tail!

3. Then a horrible Dog-Fish, who was near, came towards me.

4. But Pinocchio caught the assassin's hand with his teeth, and with

     one bite bit it clear off and spat it out.

5. He was, in fact, a little donkey to fall in love with!

     Sometimes the ellipsed object appears much earlier in the text. What is the ellipsed object of the second "in" in the last sentence of the following passage?

     Only to think of poor Pinocchio's terror at the sight of the monster. He tried to avoid it, to change his direction; he tried to escape, but that immense, wide-open mouth came towards him with the velocity of an arrow.

     "Be quick, Pinocchio, for pity's sake!" cried the beautiful little goat, bleating.

     And Pinocchio swam desperately with his arms, his chest, his legs, and his feet.

     "Quick, Pinocchio, the monster is close upon you!"

     And Pinocchio swam quicker than ever, and flew on with the rapidity of a ball from a gun. He had nearly reached the rock, and the little goat, leaning over towards the sea, had stretched out her fore-legs to help him out of the water!

     But it was too late! The monster had overtaken him and, drawing in his breath, he sucked in the poor puppet as he would have sucked a hen's egg.