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April 28, 2008 8:38 PM   Subscribe

What is the term for the sentence construction used in this quotation: "time and her aunt moved slowly"?

I seem to remember that there is a name for this type of syntactical construction, in which two vastly different subjects are joined by the same verb. Poor example: "Her porridge and the weather were cold too soon."

Google is a fickle lover and has forsaken me in this case.
posted by sciapod to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by thisjax at 8:42 PM on April 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

That's it! Syllepsis. Thanks thisjax. Ask MetaFilter to the rescue!
posted by sciapod at 8:48 PM on April 28, 2008

Also, previously. Sorry about that.
posted by sciapod at 8:59 PM on April 28, 2008

Well, only sort of the right answer. I can never quite remember the proper difference between zeugma and syllepsis, and they are indeed distinct. Your "poor example" is one of syllepsis, but the first one looks more like zeugma. Then again, not sure, I'm not an english major.
posted by thisjax at 9:01 PM on April 28, 2008

I think it's syllepsis, but only the first one counts. From my memories of 12th-grade English, for syllepsis one of the constructions has to be metaphorical. "She stained her dress and her reputation" was the example that sticks with me. (Yes, I was a high school senior in the late 90s.)
posted by Airhen at 9:07 PM on April 28, 2008

Also previously.
posted by Orinda at 9:15 PM on April 28, 2008

Also, previously. I bothered to look that up because this definition of zeugma is contained in a particularly excellent dictionary of rhetorical devices.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:04 AM on April 29, 2008

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