Nominal ellipsis

In a recent posting I looked at some English constructions (Gapping, Verb Phrase Ellipsis) with verbal ellipsis in them, in light of the claim in some usage handbooks that ellipsis is subject to a formal identity condition, requiring that the understood verbal element be in the same form as the overt one. I find many examples that violate this condition to be entirely acceptable, but apparently some people are pickier than I am.

Then I thought to look at some cases of nominal ellipsis where the overt material and the understood material are in different forms. Things like

I accept the first argument, but reject the other two ___. [understood arguments]

I accept the first two arguments, but reject the third ___. [understood argument]

That was your dream. Kim’s ___ were all nightmares. [understood dreams]

Those were your dreams. Kim’s ___ was a nightmare. [understood dream]

For me, the first two are impeccable. The last two I judge to be acceptable but to require a bit of processing work. Others might have different judgments.

I haven’t come across treatments of nominal ellipsis in the advice literature, but then it’s hard to search for.

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