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Re: Hendiadys

Posted by Smokey Stover on March 21, 2010 at 00:51

In Reply to: Hendiadys posted by Anders on March 20, 2010 at 16:11:

: A horse and a man is more than one / Hendiadys and concord

: Hello forum
: A hendiadys is a figure of speech involving two words that work together so as to establish a single, compound, complex meaning. But does this have implications in terms of concord, I wonder? Thus, if I were to say: "A person's entire strength and energy" (conceiving of strength and energy as a hendiadys, both modified by entire) would I be justified in continuing with an "is"?

: Oh, by the way: I take my headline quote from Shakespeare, prompted by this article which I discovered while trying to find a solution on the Internet to the question hereby given.

: http://www.jstor.org/pss/461987

: Best regards

You want to know if treating the two nouns as having a combined meaning is justified. Who among us is qualified to judge?

The two quotations from Shakespeare at the start of the article you cite are both in the nature of whimsical comments on language, in fact, on the use of the plural as opposed to the singular.

Justifying your practice by the example of Shakespeare may not always win the hearts and minds of editors. But editors do not make the rules of English--nor does anyone else. If a particular locution (like your quotation from Shakespeare) sounds right to you with a singular verb, write it that way, and see if the heavens fall. There are many situations in which the rule of number agreement is ambiguous or applied differently by different speakers. If the sentence flows smoothly and unambiguously, nobody will question the number agreement.

Thanks, I guess, for the word, hendiadys. Now if I can just think of some way to use it in a sentence other than as a definition.