The dynamics of the preferred mode structure in the near field of an elliptic jet have been investigated using hot-wire measurements. A 2:1 aspect ratio jet with an initially turbulent boundary layer and a constant momentum thickness all around the nozzle exit perimeter was used for this study. Measurements were made in air at a Reynolds number ReDe(= UeDJ/v) = 3.5 x 104. Controlled longitudinal excitation at the preferred mode frequency (StDe =fDe/Ue = 0.4) induced periodic formation of structures, allowing phase-locked measurements with a local trigger hot wire. The dynamics of the organized structure are examined from educed fields of coherent vorticity and incoherent turbulence in the major and minor symmetry planes at five successive phases of evolution, and are also compared with corresponding data for a circular jet. Unlike in a circular jet, azimuthally fixed streamwise vortices (ribs) form without the aid of azimuthal forcing. The three-dimensional deformation of elliptic vortical structures and the rib formation mechanism have also been studied through direct numerical simulation. Differential self-induced motions due to non-uniform azimuthal curvature and the azimuthally fixed ribs produce greater mass entrainment in the elliptic jet than in a circular jet. The turbulence production mechanism, entrainment and mixing enhancement, and time-average measures and their modification by excitation are also discussed in terms of coherent structure dynamics and the rib-roll interaction. Various phase-dependent and time-average turbulence measures documented in this paper should serve as target data for validation of numerical simulations and turbulence modelling, and for design and control purposes in technological applications. Further details are given by Husain (1984).