Archive for the ‘Zeugma’ Category

Annals of zeugma

November 15, 2015

From Ann Burlingham, this zeugmatic dialogue from the tv series Leverage (“The Long Way Down Job”, season 4, episode 1, first aired 6/26/11), at 17:27:

(1) Drexel gets paid and away scot-free

(Drexel is the character John Drexel.)

The verb gets here represents two different lexical items, with very different meanings, one in construction with the PSP verb paid, the other in construction with the particle away and the adverb scot-free: the first is the main verb in a passive construction (the so-called “get-passive”, an alternative to the be-passive), and the second is the main verb in a (metaphorical) motion construction.

So we have zeugma — plus a massively non-parallel coordination paid and away scot-free. Overall, (1) is a major WTF sentence, of a sort that is often concocted as a joke, but that doesn’t seem to the case here.


Have an X, have a Y

June 5, 2013

From Ann Burlingham on Facebook a little while back, with reference to a passage in “Marry the Man Today”, from Guys and Dolls (1950):

Sure, now I’ve got this earworm. Seems to me Arnold wrote an essay on this progression, and maybe the similar one from “Gypsy”, but perhaps it was in conversation. [In conversation, I think.]

The passage:

Marry the man today and train him subsequently

Carefully expose him to domestic life
And if he ever tries to stray from you
Have a pot roast
Have a headache
Have a baby
Have two!

A zeugmoid chain, with three different senses of have in successive VPs. The progression in Gypsy is considerably longer.


Three penultimate comments

May 20, 2013

Comments on my posting on penultimate (in penultimate Frisbee) took three directions: a comic association with antepenultimate; complaints about a relatively recent non-standard use of penultimate (to mean ‘absolutely final, absolutely the best’); and complaints about using ultimate and unique and other so-called “non-gradable” adjectives as gradables (modifiable by degree adverbials).


On the zeugma watch

July 11, 2010

A BBC News summer fluff piece coordinating a literal and a figurative sense of transitive drop (in the passive):

The southern Californian city of Laguna Niguel has been enjoying an annual ritual, in which locals and visitors bare their bottoms at passing trains.

For 30 years, the city has hosted “Mooning Amtrak” as crowds line up along the railway tracks, dropping their trousers when a train passes by. [there is a photo]

… The event even has its own website, this year proudly headed “31st Annual Mooning of Amtrak”…

It features directions to Camino Capistrano, the road where trousers and dignity are dropped each year, and helpfully lists train times through the day, so that people can schedule their disrobing.

Hey, boy! Drop your dignity and show us what you’ve got!

(Hat tip to Chris Ambidge on soc.motss.)