She liked the cake and ate it

What is the term for such structure? Can I combine, past, present and future verbs in one sentence with a single subject?.

She spoke to the man and will get the money later

And can I use progressive verb after conjunction and clause for one subject?

She watched the news and is now cleaning the bed

I've searched for the term of the structure of having one subject for multiple verbs, yet I haven't found one, can someone please explain me the rules and the official term of the sentence? Thank you.

  • A lecturer of my department called it ''membrum'' but it's unfortunate even google does not recognise that. He also said when many subjects share a verb, it is called a ''zeigma''. Both appear to be his personal development. I will ask him more about the terms.
    – norah uza
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 15:10
  • According to Fahnestock's Rhetorical Style: The Uses of Language in Persuasion, it is called membrum. It is on page 172, chapter 7.
    – user63365
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 18:27

2 Answers 2


I don't know a name for this. There might be one, but there isn't a one-word name for everything you could possibly do. I'd call it "one subject with multiple verbs".

As to whether it's legal: yes, certainly. It's very common. It's an effective way to express a connection between past and future events. "The committee started its work yesterday and will finish tomorrow."

  • Hey thanks for the answer, it helps a lot 😊, but I still confuse if we have a progressive for the second verb. Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 22:00
  • Is it possible to use present progressive tense after conjunction and a past verb? Like the third example I gave above. Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 22:02
  • Any combination of verb tenses is grammatically valid. Whether it makes logical sense is, of course, a different question. "I will build a bicycle tomorrow and ride it yesterday" doesn't make logical sense (unless you have a time machine as well as a bicycle).
    – Jay
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 22:03
  • But sure, "Sally bought a new dress and will be wearing it every day next week". "Bob lost his car keys and he has been losing them regularly for years." "I was answering questions on Stackexchange but I will be too busy next week." Etc.
    – Jay
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 22:05
  • 3
    You can call these structures compound predicates or coordinate predicates. "Liked the cake" is one predicate, "ate it" is another, and the two predicates are joined by the coordinating conjunction "and". Compound subjects are also possible, as in "A rabbi, a priest and a minister walk into a bar." Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 16:13

I call it shared or common subject as in such sentences two or more than two verbs share one subject.

  • Can you cite a source for this term?
    – Davo
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 12:09

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