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I've sometimes seen very nicely written sentences that have 2 clauses: the first is a full sentence, while the second, which is supposed to have a similar structure, was shorten into a special structure. Something like this:

"A1 use B1 to do C1, and A2 B2 C2."

For example:

  • "My brother goes to school by bus, and I by bicycle."
  • "I'm going to the supermarket to buy a can of milk, and you the hardware store a hammer."

I'm not sure if these are even grammatically correct or not, but just to show what I mean.

Does this kind of sentence structure have a name? What are the rules?

Please forgive my English as I'm a non-native Engineering-based speaker.

EDITED: I've managed to find one sentence: "The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, [...]". Here, "and the storms their energy" was very nicely written. I'd like to know more about how to write such a sentence.

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The sentences in your examples are examples of Zeugma, and reading that Wikipedia article will be a good start toward learning to write your own. This may inspire you to study rhetoric in general, including other forms of ellipsis and parallelism. A full course on the subject is well beyond the scope of this site, but I hope these pointers are of use.

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Thanks, Nicholas. I've been wondering about this for a long time. :-) –  pckben Aug 18 '11 at 8:30
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While the sentences can be regarded as zeugmas, I find it more enlightening to consider them as examples of ellipsis.

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