What Are Pro-sentences?
Pro-sentences are short words or expressions that take the place of a whole sentence. The content of a pro-sentence can be understood from the preceding context. As a type of pro-form, pro-sentences are anaphoric, which means they refer back to other elements. Pro-sentences help us communicate quicker without the loss of any meaning.
Common Pro-senteces in English
In English, 'yes,' 'no' and 'okay' are common pro-sentences. For example, to answer the question 'Do you work at the museum?', we can use the sentence 'Yes' as a short form of the full sentence 'I work at the museum'. Let's take a look at some of the common pro-sentences in English:
Yes and No as Pro-sentences
The most basic forms of pro-sentence in English are the words, 'yes' and 'no.'
For example, 'yes/no questions' only require a 'yes' or a 'no' as the answer. However, these single words imply a larger sentence.
Sentence Adverbs as Pro-sentences
We can use viewpoint sentence adverbs to answer questions. They are considered pro-sentences because they substitute the whole sentence. The following types of adverbs can be used as pro-sentences:
- Adverbs of Probability
- Adverbs of Degree
Discourse Markers as Pro-sentences
Some discourse markers can act as a pro-sentence. Three of the most common ones are:
Now, take a look at some examples:
So as Pro-sentence
With some verbs, especially in short answers, we can use 'so' instead of repeating the whole sentence. For example:
Sometimes we use 'so' at the beginning of the sentence, especially in short responses with reporting verbs such as 'believe', 'say', 'tell', 'hear', and 'read':
So with Verbs of Expectation and Belief
We can use 'so' after verbs such as 'assume', 'be afraid', 'believe', 'expect', 'guess', 'hope', 'imagine', 'presume', 'suppose', and 'think' instead of repeating the whole sentence, especially in short answers. For example:
Not as Pro-sentence
We can use 'not' after verbs such as 'be afraid', 'guess', 'hope', and 'suppose' instead of using a negative clause. For example:
This and That as Pro-sentences
We can use 'that' or 'this' to refer back to a whole clause, without repeating the actual words. For example:
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