In informal, spoken English we often leave out words when it's easy to understand what's being said without them. For example, Tim said "Be out in a minute" rather than the fuller, more formal "I will be out in a minute". He also said "Just coming" rather than "I'm just coming".
Here are some more examples of when we often leave out words (this is called 'ellipsis'):
comparative structures with 'as' and 'than'
The words after 'as' and 'than' are often dropped if the meaning is clear:
There are as many girls as boys here. = There are as many girls as there are boys here.
She can speak more languages than you. = She can speak more languages than you can speak.
at the beginning of sentences
Unstressed words are often dropped at the beginning of sentences:
A: Fancy a coffee? = Do you fancy a coffee?
B: Would love a cup of tea. = I would love a cup of tea.
Got the time please? = Have you got the time please?
1. You can use 'to' rather than repeating the full infinitive:
I don't eat sweets now but I used to when I was young. = I don't eat sweets now but I used to eat sweets when I was young.
I broke the vase. I didn't mean to. It just slipped. = I broke the vase. I didn't mean to break the vase. It just slipped.
2. Sometimes you can drop the infinitive and the 'to' as well:
Eat as much as you want. = Eat as much as you want to eat.
Can you open this window? I think it's stuck. I'll try. = I'll try to open the window.
at the end of a noun phrase
You can sometimes drop nouns after adjectives:
A: What kind of rice would you like?
B: Boiled. = Boiled rice.
If you don't have any brown bread, white will do. = If you don't have any brown bread, white bread will do.
and / but / or
Repeated words are often dropped in structures which use 'and', but' and 'or:
You look different. And smell different too. = You look different. And you smell different too.
She's a firm but fair boss. = She's a firm but she's a fair boss.
Have you got a pen or pencil please? = Have you got a pen or have you got a pencil please?
- perfume (for women) or aftershave (for men)
- works wonders
- works very well, produces very beneficial effects
- wear off
- stop being effective
- worried or upset