3

Must I repeat the same word twice if the meanings or usages are different? For example, conjugating the following two sentences is easy.

I make donuts. + I make muffins. = I make donuts and muffins.

Then is this valid?

I make robots. + I make them move. = I make robots and them move.

I intuit that “I make robots and make them move.” is better if not paraphrase, but want to revisit the reason again in a more general way. Thanks for your reading.

3

I think the issue here is that make is two different verbs in your second sentence, or at least has two distinct meanings.

I make robots = I manufacture robots.
I make them move = I force them to move.

Consequently you have to repeat the verb, just as you would if you were to use the equivalents:

I manufacture robots and force them to move.

In your first sentence, both instances of make mean manufacture, so you don't have to repeat the verb.

The answer is yes: you do have to repeat it if the sense is different.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    I would argue that the problem isn't with make, it's with move. Robots is a noun but move is a verb. The following would be fine without repeating make: I make robots and their movement. If you're going to mix a noun and a verb, you need to repeat the initial verb. If I followed your argument I could not combine I made robots + I made a move into I made robots and a move. But I believe that's possible (although not normal) because both robots and a move are nouns. In that example, made takes on different senses by the end of the sentence. – Jason Bassford Oct 7 '19 at 1:42
  • 2
    It's an example of syllepsis en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeugma_and_syllepsis – Kate Bunting Oct 7 '19 at 9:26
  • @JasonB I disagree profoundly with your comment. Neither of what you suggest as possible is possible. – Andrew Leach Oct 7 '19 at 9:35
  • @AndrewLeach It happens in writing, it's accepted as a literary device, and it's understandable. (If the link in the comment above hadn't been posted, I would have posted it myself.) – Jason Bassford Oct 7 '19 at 15:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.