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Zeugma is the use of one part of speech in a sentence (usually the main verb, but sometimes a noun) to modify two or more other elements in the sentence, frequently in different ways.

Governing Verb

Prozeugma is the use of a single verb at the beginning of a series of clauses to modify the entire series. The verb is implied in each subsequent clause.


"Ann wanted a new beginning; John, forgetfulness; and I, forgiveness."

"He won the war and her heart."

Hypozeugma is the use of a single verb at the end of a series of clauses to modify the entire series.


"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears..." (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar)

"Neither you, Simon, nor the fifty thousand, nor the Romans, nor the Jews, nor Judas, nor the Twelve, nor the priests nor the scribes, nor doomed Jerusalem itself understand what power is..." (Andrew Lloyd-Weber)

Epizeugma involves placing the governing verb at either the very beginning or very end of the sentence.


"Cry out to the hills, to the meadows, to the Heavens above..."

"By fair means or foul, by any means possible, I triumph."

Mesozeugma is the use of a unifying verb in the middle of a series of clauses.


"As his prospects fell, so, too, his spirits."

"His fist hit my face; my face, the floor."

Governing Noun

Diazeugma is a construction wherein one subject governs several verbs.

"You have mocked my beliefs, scorned all that I hold beautiful, and scoffed at the notion of common decency."

Considerable debate exists on the precise difference between zeugma and syllepsis. While syllepsis is generally considered to be a specific type of zeugma in which the two modified elements are not parallel in grammar or meaning, arguments frequently occur over whether a specific example is zeugma, syllepsis, or both.