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daiyu bao
Is this a example of zeugma or ellipsis?

Do you think this sentence is a example of zeugma(syllepsis) or ellipsis?

This decline in vigor with the passing of time is called ageing. It is one of the most unpleasant discoveries which we all make that we must decline in this way, that if we escape wars, accidents and disease we shall eventually "die of old age", and that this happens at a rate which differs little from person to person, so that there are heavy odds in favour of our dying between the ages of sixty-five and eighty.

I think all the three that-clauses are all governed by 'it is one of the most unpleasant discoveries which we all make', i.e.

It is one of the most unpleasant discoveries which we all make that we must decline in this way.

It is one of the most unpleasant discoveries which we all make that if we escape wars, accidents and disease we shall eventually die of old age.

It is one of the most unpleasant discoveries which we all make that this happens at a rate which differs little from person to person.

Am I right to understand this sentence in such a way? Is it a example of zeugma (or syllepsis) or is it simply a kind of ellipsis?

Apr 4, 2019 4:46 AM
Comments · 3

Hello Isaias,

Thank you for your prompt reply!

I have to admit I still have a bit of confusion.

And Isaias since you say in your profile you can read French, I hope you won't mind my quoting a French sentence here which I think might be a similar case to the above sentence:

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Il faut que nous alluminions le feu et que l'air contienne assez d'oxygène pour que cette énergie se dégage.

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I extract this sentence from a French textbook and the author says the second que is a ellipsis of 'il faut que...'.

So I wonder why the sentence 'It is ... that ...., and that ...' is not another instance of ellipsis?

April 4, 2019
Its called a periodic sentence
April 4, 2019
It's niether a zeugma nor an ellipsis.
April 4, 2019
daiyu bao
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