Constructio ad sensum

Constructio ad sensum, also Constructio kata synesin or synesis and synesis, is a grammatical conspicuousness that can also be used as stylistic means. The point is that sentences that are syntactically related to one another do not coincide in number, sometimes also in genus. Often, the stylistic figure is found when the speaker uses a singular term, which is thus in the singular, and constructs the further sentence in the sense of the plural. However, this is also possible in reverse. In addition, the Constructio ad sensum can also occur through the superposition of the grammatical gender by the natural.

The word sequence Constructio ad sensum is composed of the Latin noun constructio for construction and the word pair ad sensum, which signifies meaning. Thus, the style-figure already betrays, by means of its translation, what is at issue here: namely, a thing whose construction is analogous. In this case, however, no matter is meant, but a sentence. An example:

The girl, who has always annoyed us, which has always only bothered, has now become a wonderful woman.
The example above begins with the subject “The Girl”. The article that indicates that the grammatical gender of the word is real. Thus, all the words that refer to it in the sentence would have to fit into gender (genus) and number.

In the first subordinate sentence, so that has always annoyed us is the case. The relative pronoun that adjusts itself here to the grammatical gender of the girl. As a relative pronoun, it replaces the noun, which has already been mentioned before.

The second subordinate clause is not so. The relative pronoun, which is synonymous here for the girl, but does not fit the grammatical gender, but the natural gender. After all, a girl by definition is a child of female sex. Consequently, the grammatical gender is superimposed on the natural.

Note: In the above example the Constructio ad sensum was shown by a superposition of the grammatical gender by the natural. The grammatically correct this became thus in the subordinate to that which corresponds to the actual, thus the natural sex. This case, however, is rare – rather, plural and singular are changed.

Examples of the style figure
Examples are shown below. Some of these examples are constructed, others are taken from the everyday language and the last one comes from the German television landscape.

A large quantity of plums fell from the tree in the garden.
In the example above, there is a large amount. This quantity is in the singular, for otherwise quantities would be mentioned. The predicate of the theorem, ie, the verb, refers to this set. It should therefore be dropped because it is the third person singular, which stands in the preterite.
However, it is true that the plums, which are in the plural, will fall. This is meaningfully correct, but grammatically false and therefore a constructio ad sensum.

I or you can then buy the ticket!
In this example as well, the predicate of the sentence, that is, the word can not be adapted to the number of the subject. “I can buy the tickets!” Is quite correct, but in the second person, this is not the same anymore – “You can buy the tickets!” Is grammatically wrong, since the verb can be here.
A final example can be found in the advertising of a beer brand. The corresponding slogan was needed especially before the turn of the millennium. Sometimes the Constructio ad sensum does not appear in the commercial, even if the stylistic is quite striking.

Decisive are the last seconds of the clip. Here we can hear: “King Pilsener. The King of Beers! “, Ignoring the grammatical gender of the nominee king, which is actually male. By the article, however, it is actually needed.

In the clip, the Constructio ad sensum is used to create attention. Here, the use is very clear, which leads to the fact that the slogan remains certain in the ear. This is one of the main reasons why we are very often able to make styling in the advertising market.

Overview: The most important thing about the Stilfigur at a glance
Constructio ad sensum, also Constructio kata synesin or synesis and synesis, is a grammatical conspicuousness that can be used as stylistic means. The stylistic figure means a syntactic link that is formally violating the rules of grammatical congruence but is correctly correct.
The predicate or attribute of a sentence does not match the grammatical form of the subject. There are usually examples whose number is not the same, and more rarely also for the genus.
The Constructio ad sensum is also found in literary texts and in advertising, but is also typical of the everyday language. In this case, however, it is more of a mistake than a stylistic figure.
It occurs above all when the predicate and the subject to which it refers are very far apart in one sentence since the speaker often completes the sentence according to its meaning and not according to its grammatical rules (see: first Example).


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