The preceding grammatical sketch describes "proper" Klingon, that is, Klingon as it is taught in Klingon schools or to non-Klingons. In actual day-to-day use, however, spoken Klingon may vary somewhat from its "proper" form, usually by leaving some elements out. This abbreviated form of speaking, called Clipped Klingon by Klingon grammarians, is heard quite frequently in military contexts where quick ---rather than eloquent---communication is deemed a virtue. Probably for similar reasons, Clipped Klingon is used quite extensively in all walks of Klingon life.

Some of the features of Clipped Klingon are described below.