Synesis occurs when a writer chooses to construct a sentence according to the meaning of the sentence, rather than following strict grammatical rules. For instance, strict grammatical rules would dictate that a plural subject get a plural verb; however, there are times when we talk about more than one thing as a whole-as a singular thing (see examples below). So, a writer choosing to use a singular verb because it matches the intended meaning would be using synesis.
Cookies and milk is my favorite snack.
I think that five and four make nine.
Smart, beautiful, and kind is how I want everyone to remember me.
Most of the class were tired after the late night basketball game.
Examples of Synesis from Literature
From Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:
What's the use you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and it ain't no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?
From Shakespeare's King Lear:
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall-I will do such things,
What they are, yet I know not.
Literary Terms Examples