Daily Archives: November 23, 2007

Syllepsis

Syllepsis (sil-lep’-sis): When a single word that governs or modifies two or more others must be understood differently with respect to each of those words. A combination of grammatical parallelism and semantic incongruity, often with a witty or comical effect. Not to be confused with zeugma: [a general term describing when one part of speech (most often the main verb, but sometimes a noun) governs two or more other parts of a sentence (often in a series)].

You broke my heart and my i-phone–what’s next, my leg?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.