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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Syllepsis December 29, Figures of Speech

First he made himself emperor,
then a nice salad.
Syllepsis: A type of pun in which a single word is used with two different senses in the same sentence.   "The sky was falling and so were my hopes," "I called her a tramp and myself a taxi."  Writers from Alexander Pope - "great Anna! whom three Realms obey, Dost sometimes Counsel take - and sometimes Tea" - to Tim O'Brien - "He carried a strobe light and the responsibility for the lives of his men" have used syllepsis.   The master of the syllepsis, of course, was Groucho Marx, who said, "You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff."

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