Within a couple of days I could stand, even make two, three steps.

It is the original sentence. And I have a strong belief that the and is deleted as below.

Within a couple of days I could stand, (and) even make two, three steps.

"And" is deleted, but I do not know why that is possible. This seems to be a very unusual situation to me, because if "even" was not there, this sentence would just sound off to my ear. What's more, "stand" and "make" are two verbs, not adjectives. So what rule or usage makes it possible to delete "and"?

  • Have a look at John Lawler's post and link on conversational deletion here. 'Let me reiterate that this phenomenon only occurs in speaking English, and in other informal communication systems like email and txting that work like speech. It is not good formal written style, except for reporting dialog in a story.' – Edwin Ashworth Aug 27 '15 at 21:55
  • I looked at it, but it seemed to be slightly different. I cannot say why, but maybe because this is a question concerning deletion of "and", a conjunction, whereas the conversational deletion handles subject deletion (I have no idea whether I used correct grammar terminology - sorry for that.) – sooeithdk Aug 27 '15 at 21:59
  • If it seems strange to you, then probably you are not be a native speaker. Since we don't know what you really are, we cannot say why it might seem strange to you. You should try, maybe make an attempt at least. – tchrist Aug 27 '15 at 22:01
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    This food looked horrible, (and) even grotesque. This sentence is acceptable, since the deleted "and" makes "even grotesque" modify the food. This form, to me, is very similar to this: I was doing horrible, desperate to win. So this one is not informal. I just thought the sentence "Within a couple of days I could stand, even make two, three steps" works in this type of way. – sooeithdk Aug 27 '15 at 22:16
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    I've found a previous post. 'Conversational deletion' may, as you suspect, not extend to deletion of coordinators; I was mainly highlighting the unsuitability of this style (as used in this particular example) for use in formal registers. The difference between the example given in the duplicate (He called her, emailed her, texted her, tweeted her – all to no use.) and this one (with stacked asyndetons) is marked. I think that perhaps a semicolon as a super-comma after 'stand' might redeem it, but only in a very informal register. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 27 '15 at 22:40

One of the things happening here is

Asyndeton, literary-devices.com


Asyndeton refers to a practice in literature whereby the author purposely leaves out conjunctions in the sentence, while maintaining the grammatical accuracy of the phrase. Asyndeton as a literary tool helps in shortening up the implied meaning of the entire phrase and presenting it in a succinct form. This compact version helps in creating an immediate impact whereby the reader is instantly attuned to what the writer is trying to convey. Use of this literary device helps in creating a strong impact and such sentences have greater recall worth since the idea is presented in a nutshell. Example:

  1. Read, Write, Learn.
  2. Watch, Absorb, Understand.
  3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

In this case the writer is trying to show how the invalid is discovering what they can do. Stand (amazing) take a step (wow) two steps !!!

In your example there is asyndeton with stand and make (a) step and a second with two, three

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