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This is a sentence from my dictionary:

She carried herself straight and with confidence.

The sentence is fairly strange to me, for the extra conjunction "and". Normally I would say something like this:

She carried herself straight with confidence.

This is more regular to me. For example, I would say "She stood here, smiling with confident." But I wouldn't say "She stood here, smiling and with confident." So why did the original sentence add an extra "and"?

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Note that and is a conjunction, not a preposition. –  Damkerng T. Jun 11 at 11:01

2 Answers 2

up vote 25 down vote accepted

She carried herself straight and with confidence.

Including and tells us that both straight and with confidence describe carried. The sentence means this:

She carried herself straight. Also, she carried herself with confidence.

If you leave out and, then with confidence describes straight.

She carried herself straight with confidence.

This means that she was straight because she was confident.

For example:

She stood there, smiling with confidence.

With confidence is how she smiled, not how she stood. In this sentence, she expressed her confidence through her smile.

I wouldn't say "She stood here, smiling and with confidence."

I would probably construct this sentence a little differently, but it's perfectly sensible. Here, she expressed her confidence with the way she stood. Also, she was smiling at the same time.

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I think the non-parallel construction calls attention to itself and makes the sentence a little more interesting. I also like the rhythm.

It could have been written with a comma to make it clearer what the prepositional phrase is modifying.

She carried herself straight, with confidence.

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