Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Zeugmax

Arnold Zwicky quotes a classic example of zeugma:

… he hastened to put out the cat, the wine, his cigar, and the lamps.

I note, however, that put out, without an object, has its own idiomatic meaning. I therefore propose a new construction, Extreme ZeugmaTM:

I want to date a girl who puts out the wine, the lamps, and .

2 comments:

  1. The rhetors already beat you to it; it's called syllepsis.

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  2. I agree that it's an example of syllepsis, but so was the example quoted by Zwicky. The defining quality of my construction was the empty final clause ("I want to date a girl who puts out.") That's not something that's routinely seen in syllepsis.

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