I have zero idea what this construction is called. Here are a few examples that I've just whipped up:

He was fired, and his friend punished.

He was robbed, and his brother kidnapped.

The idea is that the second part of the sentence takes the same verb as the first. Kind of like continuity of the sentence.

  • 1
    You don't need to repeat the same word/phrase in one sentence. "He was fired and his friend was punished". The second "was" is omitted because it could be redundant.
    – user140086
    May 18, 2016 at 16:04
  • 1
    Each sentence is a coordination of two main clauses in which the auxiliary verb "was" has been ellipted in the second coordinate, but is anaphorically retrievable.
    – BillJ
    May 18, 2016 at 18:12

2 Answers 2


Those are gapping constructions. Gapping deletes a repeated verb and other repeated constituents, leaving behind two constituents, one of which (in Ross's formulation) must be inside the verb phrase and the other must be outside the verb phrase. A classic of grammatical analysis was Ross's paper Gapping and the order of constituents, which showed that the basic word order of a language predicts whether gapping will go from left to right (as in English), or from right to left.

Here is the Wikipedia account: Gapping. (I see that BillJ also gave the correct answer in a comment.)

  • I thought about this, but I was reluctant to post an answer (just a comment) as I can't tell the difference between "gapping" and "coordination". How can you tell the difference?
    – user140086
    May 18, 2016 at 18:54
  • @Rathony, coordination is a way of building up a construction from two like parts. Gapping is a way of reducing a coordinate construction by omitting predictable parts.
    – Greg Lee
    May 18, 2016 at 19:16
  • As far as I can make out, my "incorrect answer" got deleted before you finished writing your post. May 20, 2016 at 12:33
  • @Rathony, Further on the relationship between coordination and gapping, it would clarify things to just forget about "Conjunction Reduction". IMO, there is no such rule. Even though McCawley thinks there is, he shows that all the previous formulations in TG have been mistaken, and his discussion is excellent.
    – Greg Lee
    May 20, 2016 at 18:19

It's an example of coordination (i.e., two elements linked with "and"). Elements common to the two coordinands can often be omitted in the second one.

Eg, coordinated subjects, common predicate:

John and Mary went to the shops.

Coordinated verbs, common object:

John noticed, and bought, a painting.

Coordinated objects, common subject and verb:

John bought a painting and a tapestry.

Coordinated predicates, common subject:

John bought a painting and examined a carving.

Coordinated predicates with direct vs indirect objects, common object:

John greeted, and chatted to, Mary.

Coordinated predicates with the same verb, but different complements or adjuncts:

John walked slowly and Mary quickly.

Mary waited patiently and John on tenterhooks.

He was fired, and his friend punished. (your example).

  • Very helpful. Thank you. So I take it additional info can be added like with a regular sentence; for example, "He has been patient but his sister anxious because she had more on the line." I'm asking because for some reason, it sounds strange to me.
    – ABC
    May 18, 2016 at 16:22
  • @ABC, I would say that that example is grammatical but infelicitous: I'm not exactly sure why it doesn't read well. A comma after "anxious" would rescue it, because it makes the "because" clause an afterthought.
    – Colin Fine
    May 18, 2016 at 16:28
  • "My account has been reset on the first try and the theme changed, not so with the other email client I tried though." In the second part, I'm trying to say, "however, it was not the case with..". I just can't seem to be able to phrase it any other way without dropping some part of the sentence or making it sound awkward. Can you help with this, please?
    – ABC
    May 18, 2016 at 17:06

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