An Introduction to Prozeugma

Prozeugma is a kind of zeugmaOpens in new window in which the verbOpens in new window that serves all the clausesOpens in new window in a sentence is supplied in the first clause that begins the sentence, and ellided (thus implied) in the succeeding clauses.

    For example:
  • While at church Andy played guitar, Aaron piano, and James violin.

Here, the prozeugma is “played” and without it the sentence will be written: “While at church Andy played guitar, Aaron played piano, and James played violin.

No one will be harassed for constructing a lengthy sentence, but the version with prozeugma brings about elegance, pace, and vibrancy which is key for rhetorical effect.

Notable Examples of Prozeugma
  • “He proposed seven times; once in a hackney-coach, once in a boat, once in a pew, once on a donkey at Tunbridge Wells and the rest on his knees.”
  • Dorrit.

  • “Lust conquered shame; audacity, fear; madness, reason.”
  • Marcus Tullius Cicero.

  • Her beauty pierced mine eye, her speech mine woeful heart, her presence all the powers of my discourse.
  • Puttenham.
Further Readings:
Silva Rhetoricae Prozeugma Opens in new window
George Puttenham; The Art of English Poesy, Critical Edition: Prozeugma Opens in new window