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.


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.

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    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
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    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

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