A play he's written and starring in

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Isabelle Le Martret, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. Isabelle Le Martret Senior Member

    French- France
    Hello !
    I've just found the following sentence in a short story: "He gives us a flyer for a play he's written and starring in." At first I thought there was a grammatical error, or a typo. Then I wondered whether it is possible that " 's " can mean at once " has " and " is ". If so, is it correct ?
     
  2. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I'd say it's wrong because, as you imply, the sentence only makes sense if the 's means both "has" and "is".
     
  3. Isabelle Le Martret Senior Member

    French- France
    OK...I'm not sure I understand what you're telling me. Should I add "is" between "and" and "starring" (for a future reader) because there's clearly an error ?
     
  4. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    Yes.:thumbsup:
     
  5. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    Agreed.

    A play he has written and is starring in (or "and stars in") — apostrophe+s can't mean two things at once.
     
  6. Isabelle Le Martret Senior Member

    French- France
    Thank you for your answers. Have a nice sunday afternoon !
     
  7. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    I think you underestimate the imagination of English speakers (and listeners). Haven't you heard of a zeugma?

    The sentence may be a mistake, but let's be generous and call it a delightfully economical play on words.
     
  8. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    It's a horrible mistake. Don't try to emulate it.

    Edit: I don't mean it's an error on the part of the writer (though I suppose it could be since we don't know who wrote this) . I mean that, if you or I write like that, our readers will definitely see it as an error.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  9. Isabelle Le Martret Senior Member

    French- France
    Thank you Keith and Velisarius,
    No Keith, I've never heard of a zeugma but I'll look it up at once ! Sounds fascinating.
    Veli, the book in question is We Don't Know What We're Doing, by Welsh author Thomas Morris.
     
  10. Isabelle Le Martret Senior Member

    French- France
    I'm reopening this recent thread because I've found, in The Handbook of Literary Terms, the following explanation for " zeugma":
    "Two nouns governed by the same verb with a difference in meaning and with one of the two links grammatically incorrect.
    e.g. He was watched and his friends followed (instead of "were followed")
    It is often used as a synonym of syllepsis."
    Keith, you were absolutely right ! (I never doubted it)
     

Share This Page

Loading...