2

Example 1:

These sets are potentially infinite, can be subjective, and change all the time.

Example 2:

Stack Exchange is a useful website, a helpful resource, and full of awesome people.

In the first example, the three predicates (" are potentially infinite", "can be subjective" and "change all the time") link back to the subject "These sets". In the second example the three predicates "a useful website", "a helpful resource" and "full of awesome people" all link back to the main verb "is"; the subject and verb don't need to be repeated because they're understood to carry across for the other predicates. Is there a general term for this process, where parts of the sentence (such as but not limited to the subject and verb,) are understood to apply to more than one other part of the sentence?

1
  1. These sets are potentially infinite, can be subjective, and change all the time.

  2. Stack Exchange is a useful website, a helpful resource, and full of awesome people.

Coordination. Your first example involves a coordination of three verb phrases, and that construction works just as you had described. Your second example involves a coordination of predicative complements, and it works just as you had described it.

Your two examples use simple-syndetic coordination--because they use the coordinator "and" only once and there is three or more coordinates.

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The general term is...

ellipsis - the omission from a clause of one or more words that are nevertheless understood in the context of the remaining elements. There are numerous distinct types of ellipsis [blah blah]...

In OP's examples the "strike-through" elements are deleted...

1: These sets are potentially infinite, these sets can be subjective, and these sets change all the time.
2: Stack Exchange is a useful website, Stack Exchange is a helpful resource, and Stack Exchange is full of awesome people.

  • Okay, I have heard of ellipsis, and I understand that it refers to the omission of parts of the sentence. But I was more specifically wondering if there was a term that reflects the distributive property of "These sets" and "Stack Exchange is"; a term that means that a grammatical item is applied to several different parts of the sentence at once. – Lou May 13 '14 at 14:13
  • There's Equi NP deletion ("equivalent noun phrase deletion"), but that's a more specialised context. But if I say "That's all well and good", for example, do you really think there would be a specific technical term describing the fact that you could interpret the utterance as "That's all well and that is all good"? I kinda doubt it, but structurally it's not obvious to me my example is any different to yours. – FumbleFingers May 13 '14 at 14:27
  • It's not, it's just looking at the same phenomenon from a different perspective. – Lou May 13 '14 at 17:39

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