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Anastrophe

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Anastrophe

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Anastrophe is a reversal of a normal word order, with words or phrases being juxtaposed.

Example

Blessed are the meek. (vs. The meek are blessed.)

Good, it is. Strong in the force, you are. (Star Wars' Yoda speaks in anastrophe!)

Tripping the light fantastic.

Discussion

Anastrophe retains the meaning of a sentence whilst creating a little attention-causing confusion as the listener spends a little more time than usual working out what is being said.

A typical anastrophe is created by putting an adjective after a noun rather than before it (or adverb after a verb), such as 'He's a man happy' instead of 'He's a happy man'. Another way is to put the verb at the end of the sentence, such as in the Yoda example above.

Anastrophe has a slightly foreign and archaic feel and is common in poetry. Using it too much, however, opens you to parody (perhaps as in the fun had at Yoda's expense).

Anastrophe comes from the Greek 'anastrephein', meaning 'to turn up', or 'to turn back', which in turn come from 'ana', meaning 'up', and 'strephein', meaning 'to turn'.

Classification: Rearrangement

See also

Confusion principle

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