Posted by David on January 20, 2004
In Reply to: Zeugma posted by ESC on January 19, 2004
: : : : : Hi,
: : : : : I'm trying to come up with a birthday card based on variations of punning phrases. For example, 'How long is a piece of string?' becomes 'How long is a birthday?' The answer will be 'Longer than a piece of string.' There's a substitution involved in making the pun.
: : : : : Similarly, the pun 'Time flies like bananas, fruit flies like an arrow' involves substitution. This pun works because it confuses one meaning of a word with another. I'm trying to think of other words that I can do this with, to create a birthday card that's a series of questions (How long, how far,...) whose answers involve play on those words.
: : : : : Any suggestions?
: : : :
: : : : :::Perhaps psychiatric evaluation.............
: : : They don't work, do they?
: : : Try 'the penis mightier than the sword' - at least a knob-gag will usually get a laugh.
: : Here are three sources you might be able to use;
: : A fat sportsman said, "Call me anything you like, but don't call me late for dinner."
: : Groucho Marks said, "If you can't leave in a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If you can't leave in a huff, you can leave in a minute and a huff."
: : From an earlier thread on this site, "She left in a Chevrolet and a huff."
: ZEUGMA -- \ZOOG-muh\ noun -- The use of a word to modify or govern two or more words usually in such a manner that it applies to each in a different sense or makes sense with only one (as in "opened the door and her heart to the homeless boy"). Example sentence: "She left in a huff and a Chevy," said Jack, employing vivid zeugma to report of Marissa's departure. (The Word of the Day (Merriam-Webster) for November 28, 2003.)
Now THAT is nice to see. I have the 1982 edition of Arthur Quinn's Figures Of Speech, and have only ever heard of zeugma in that context. I never tried this at home:
Ellipsis of a verb from one of two or more usually parallel clauses: "passion lends thempower, time means, to meet".
How many parallel clauses there?