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He called her, emailed her, texted her, tweeted her—all to no use.

Strictly speaking, I would need to write texted her and tweeted her, but I'm omitting and to convey a rhythm and sense of urgency. What do you call this kind of construction, and is it accepted grammar (at least for creative writing, if not in an academic context)?

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possible duplicate of Omission of "and" in headlines –  Cerberus Mar 11 '11 at 15:05
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@Cerberus: That question is about telegraphese in headlines; this one is about prose. Similar, but definitely distinct. –  Jon Purdy Mar 11 '11 at 18:42
    
@Jon: Okay, it is about a different context; but it does lead to similar answers. Perhaps more could be said about this, though I am not sure what... –  Cerberus Mar 11 '11 at 19:40
    
"all to no use" doesn't sound right. Did you mean "all to no avail"? –  Graham Borland Jul 11 '11 at 11:03
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@GrahamBorland I think "all to no use" sounds fine, although "all to no avail" is the more common usage. –  narx Oct 8 '11 at 22:36
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2 Answers 2

up vote 26 down vote accepted

It's a rhetorical device called asyndeton, and you can find its definition (as well as those of other rhetorical figures) here.

Asyndeton consists of omitting conjunctions between words, phrases, or clauses. In a list of items, asyndeton gives the effect of unpremeditated multiplicity, of an extemporaneous rather than a labored account: On his return he received medals, honors, treasures, titles, fame.

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Right. The device here conveys speed and urgency. Very appropriate to the subject matter in question. –  The Raven Mar 11 '11 at 15:00
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I love that not only is it a valid device, but it has a name. This site is great! –  CodexArcanum Mar 11 '11 at 17:07
    
+1 for the link. I usually use the much more extensive list of literary terms available here. –  3nafish Dec 2 '12 at 4:20
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I was taught that omitting the 'and' in such a situation was completely acceptable, especially in creative writing. The rhythm is much better without it. Leave it as is.

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