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The Gap-Sentence Link

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Asyndeton (6) is connection between parts of a sentence or between sentences without any formal sign, becomes a stylistic device if there is a deliberate omission of the connective where it is expected to be according to the norms of the literary language.

"Soames turned away, he had an utter disinclination for talk, - like one standing before an open grave, watching a coffin slowly lowered."

The crucial problem in ascertaining the true intonation pattern of a sentence composed of two or more parts lies in a deeper analysis of the functions of the connectives, on the one hand, and a more detailed investigation of graphical means—the signals indicating the correct interpretation of the utterance—, on the other.

Polysyndeton (7) is the stylistic device of connecting sentences, or phrases, or syntagms, or words by using connectives (mostly conjunc­tions and propositions) before each component part, as in:

"The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect."

J The repetition of conjunctions and other means of connection makes an utterance more rhythmical. The conjunctions and other connectives, being generally un­stressed elements will cause the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables. One of the functions of polysynde­ton is a rhythmical one.

Polysyndeton has a disintegrating function. It generally combines homogeneous elements of thought into one whole resembling enumeration. But, unlike enumeration, which integrates both homogeneous and heterogeneous elements into one whole, poly­syndeton causes each member of a string of facts to stand out conspic­uously. It has a disintegrating func­tion. Enumeration shows things united; polysyndeton shows them iso­lated.

"She and that fellow ought to be the sufferers, and they were in Italy" (Galsworthy)


In this sentence the second part, which is hooked on to the first by the conjunction and, seems to be unmotivated. After a more careful analysis it becomes clear that the exact logical variant of the utterance would be:

“Those who ought to suffer were enjoying themselves in Italy (where well-to-do English people go for holidays).”

Consequently, GSL(8) is a way of connecting two sentences seemingly unconnected and leaving it to the reader's perspicacity to grasp the idea implied, but not worded. Every detail of the situa­tion need not be stated. Some must remain for the reader to divine.

The device of GSL is deeply rowed in the norms of the spoken language. The intonation helps in deciphering the communication.

"She says nothing, but it is clear that she is harping on this en­gagement, andgoodness knows what." (Galsworthy)

The gap-sentence link requires a certain mental effort to embrace the unexpressed additional information.

The gap-sentence link is indicated by and or but.

The gap-sentence link as a stylistic device is based on the peculiarities of the spoken language and is used in represented speech.

The gap-sentence link serves to signal the introduction of inner represented speech; it may be used to indicate a subjective evaluation of the facts; it may introduce an effect resulting from a cause which has already had verbal expression. In all these functions GSL displays an unexpected coupling of ideas.

GSL aims at stirring up in the reader's mind the suppositions, associations and conditions under which the sentence uttered can really exist.


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