Pearson Adult Learning Centre Home
Pearson Adult Learning Centre
  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (November 13, 2006)

Learn from the Greeks: Zeugma

Zeugma includes several similar rhetorical devices, all involving a grammatically correct linkage (or yoking together) of two or more parts of speech by another part of speech.

The main benefit of the linking is that it shows relationships between ideas and actions more clearly.

Specific Types of Zeugma

Prozeugma: the yoking word precedes the words yoked. For example, you could have a verb stated in the first clause understood in the following clauses.

Diazeugma: When a single subject is used with multiple verbs.

Zeugma: When a single subject is used with two or more direct objects:

Zeugma can also create a linkage in which the verb is understood in a slightly different way in at least two different objects.

A Writing Sample Using All the Above Forms

Can you identify each type below?

Rain swept the mountain; the wind, his cheeks. The mountain was shrouded in grey. John struggled with the tarp, held onto his hat, and just missed slipping into the gully. With a mighty blast, the wind knocked him from his feet and a branch from a tree high above.

Too late he saw the branch come crashing down, the tree rearing back and then the limb slash into his arm. The wind rose up, the trees bowed, the rain blew in sideways, unrelenting. He cradled his arm and his flashlight, hoping for any lull, any chance to erect some shelter from this cruel wind.

Bob had warned him about bears, Bill the unpredictable weather, Judy the dangers of hiking alone. Now, John faced the night, without shelter, the wind tearing at his only hope, a tattered tarp.


See our most recent tips.

Tips from November 2001 to April 2002

Tips from September 2000 to October 2001.

Tips from January to August 2000
Tips from January to December 1999


Visit our Contact Us page to send email to the centre.
Copyright 1997 to 2009 Pearson Adult Learning Centre, New Westminster School District 40
Web Site Created by The Educated Web
Last modified: July 31, 2009