...to represent the oppression of and the violence against women.

I don't think I need commas here, but when I read this I would naturally leave a slight pause after "of" and "against", which is usually indication that something is needed. I considered dashes. Any help is appreciated (and would also love to know a grammatical term this problem would fall under)!

1 Answer 1


From Richard Nordquist at ThoughtCo:

  • What Is Gapping?

A construction in which part of a sentence is omitted rather than repeated. The missing grammatical unit is called a gap. The term gapping was coined by linguist John R. Ross in his dissertation, "Constraints on Variables in Syntax" (1967), and discussed in his article "Gapping and the Order of Constituents," in Progress in Linguistics, edited by M. Bierwisch and K. E. Heidolph (Mouton, 1970).

Here, it is the prepositional complement women that is not repeated (and the sentence sounds accordingly less clunky):

  • ... to represent the oppression of women and the violence against women.

  • ... to represent the oppression of and the violence against women.

As with a parenthetical, various offsetting punctuation, always balanced as 'and the violence against' is medial, is available.

Dashes and ellipses would be ponderous here, and brackets only fitting if a real contrastive emphasis were required.

That leaves a pair of commas, a very reasonable choice here, signalling as you say slight pauses ... and zero punctuation. I think the smooth-flowing style that opting for zero punctuation affords here is the best choice, and it is certainly my choice.

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