Pro-sentences are short words or expressions that are used instead of a full sentence. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.
What Are Pro-sentences?
Pro-sentences are short words or expressions that take the place of a whole sentence. The content of it can be perceived from the previous context.
A pro-sentence is a type of pro-form and is, therefore, anaphoric, which means that they refer back to other elements of the sentence.
Why Do We Use Pro-sentences?
Pro-sentences are extremely helpful. They help us make communications quicker without losing any meaning.
Common Pro-senteces in English
In English, 'yes,' 'no' and 'okay' are common pro-sentences. The answer to the question 'Do you work at the museum?, the sentence 'Yes' is a short form of the full sentence 'I work at the museum.' Let's take a look at some of the pro-sentences in English:
- Yes and No as Pro-sentences
- Sentence Adverbs as Pro-sentences
- Discourse Markers as Pro-sentences
- So as Pro-sentence
- Not as Pro-sentence
- This and That as Pro-sentences
Yes and No as Pro-sentences
The most basic forms of pro-sentence in English are the words, 'yes' and 'no.'
For example, you might have heard about 'yes/no questions,' which are questions that only need a yes or a no as an answer. However, these single words imply a fully larger sentence.
Sentence Adverbs as Pro-sentences
We can use viewpoint sentence adverbs to answer a question. They are considered pro-senteces, because they substitute the whole sentence. These types of adverbs can be used as pro-sentence:
- 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:
We sometimes 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.
Not as Pro-sentence
We can use 'not' after verbs such as 'be afraid,' 'guess,' 'hope' and 'suppose' instead of using a negative clause.
This and That as Pro-sentences
We can use 'that' or 'this' to refer back to a whole clause, without repeating the actual words.