Are the following sentences grammatically correct?

A: He is nice and a grocer.

B: He is nice and is a grocer.

  • 1
    The first one is much worse, but neither are idiomatic. Why would you want to connect the two statements "He is nice" and "He is a grocer" with "and"? – FumbleFingers Oct 16 '14 at 23:50

They are both "correct" in the sense there's nothing much ungrammatical there.

However, we do not propagate POSs and clauses forward across disparate things like a person's disposition (nice) and occupation (grocer). The overall semantic coherence is effected.

Not just the is but also the He needs to be provided again.

He is nice and he is a grocer.


There is a word for the first example, He is nice and a grocer. It is called zeugma, meaning yoking, an allusion, I suppose, to the biblical injunction not to yoke an ox with an ass. The device can be used to literary effect: "Eggs and promises are easily broken." The absurdity of joining the statements of this fellow's disposition and his profession is not much helped by making two clauses by inserting a second "he is" unless you want to suggest it is unusual for a grocer to be nice.

  • It still doesn't look like a zeugma to me at all, though. – Kris Oct 18 '14 at 5:21

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