Diazeugma: Definition and Examples

Diazeugma is a figure of speech in which a single subject is link with multiple verbsOpens in new window or verb phrasesOpens in new window. The phrases are usually arranged into parallel form to make the sentence easier to follow and to give it a balanced feel. This is the opposite of zeugmaOpens in new window.

In a syntactic construction of the diazeugma, a noun is modified by multiple subsequent verbs without the nounOpens in new window being repeated, for example:

“Ruth woke up, leapt out of bed and got dressed”.

Without diazeugma, the sentence would read:

Ruth woke up, Ruth leapt out of bed and Ruth got dressed”.

Observe also the following:

  1. [The book as subject ] The book reveals the extent of counterintelligence operations, discusses the options for improving security, and argues for an increase in human intelligence measures.
  2. [Andy as subject ] Andy followed his victim to the vicinity of the pool; there shot his horse with a pistol; dispatched the rider with its butt end; possessed himself of the pocket-book; and, supposing the horse dead, dragged it with great labour to the brambles by the pond.
  3. [Captain Jim as subject ] Captain Jim picked up the typewriter, tied the rope around it, and threw it overboard to anchor his boat.
  4. [We as subject ] We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

    John F. Kennedy

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