Consider the following sentence:

Local Man Loses Pants, Life; Beaver Rescue Falls Short

I've seen this named before where a sentence has two endings but I've been unable to find it on any grammar or linguistics websites.

  • 1
    Often called syllepsis.
    – Cerberus
    Dec 13, 2012 at 18:15
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    And sometimes a zeugma.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 13, 2012 at 18:43
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    While Greek names inevitably falute higher than mere English ones, what this really is is Headlinese. I.e, it's a characteristic set of journalistic tics (like leaving out and and substituting a comma) that Anglophone editors have come to depend on to save characters in headlines. This is not grammar; this is typography.
    – jlawler
    Dec 13, 2012 at 20:11
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    This particular example is also a joke, in that it's from an episode of the Simpsons. Not that it makes the question any less legitimate - however, humor often contains linguistic play outside the bounds of normal discourse. Dec 14, 2012 at 20:51
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    I think he means two direct objects without a conjunction. That clearly isn't normal English grammar; it's headlinese. One has to be pretty inventive answering questions here (as in class) because people often don't know exactly how to talk about what's bugging them, and often focus on something exterior to the real issue.
    – jlawler
    Dec 15, 2012 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


A semicolon alone can be used to coordinate two main clauses; this signals a closer relationship between two independent clauses. Some refer to this stylistic device as the Semicolon Alone Method.

Quoted from http://dictionary.reference.com/writing/styleguide/punctuation.html :

Semicolon (;) ... Punctuation sometimes regarded as a weak period or strong comma and used in ways similar to periods and commas. A semicolon can mark the end of a clause and indicate that a clause following is closely related to the previous clause. ... Separates (but also links) independent clauses in place of a coordinating conjunction or ellipsis, e.g. The package was due last week; it arrived today.

The rhetorical figure of leaving out conjunctions (in this case 'and' before 'Life') is called asyndeton, or asyndetic listing.

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