Zeugma: telling stories and jokes

You’d be forgiven for thinking we’ve strayed off the topic of the English language as we introduce the topic of zeugma (zyoog-ma). Actually, the term comes from the Greek for “yoking” or “bonding”, and it refers to a literary device whereby a single word – usually a verb or adjective – applies to more than one noun, thereby joining together ideas that are logically and grammatically different.

Or, if you’d like a technical dictionary definition: “A construction in which one word or phrase is understood to fill a parallel syntactic role in two or more clauses or phrases“. Continue reading