Wednesday’s Word: Anadiplosis

Anadiplosis [an-uh-di-ploh-sis] is the repetition of the last word (or group of words) of a clause or sentence at or near the beginning of the next clause or sentence.  It is derived from two Greek words that mean “to reduplicate” or “to double back again.”

Anadiplosis is a powerful rhetorical device, a device often used to propel a point to its final climax.  Although “anadiplosis” is not really a word that you would use in a sentence, it is quite useful when constructing a sentence, particularly in poetry and speech writing.

Here are a few examples of an anadiplosis in action:

I am Sam, Sam I am.  — Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham

suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us…. — Romans 5:3-5

Creation smiles in various beauty gay,
While day to night, and night succeeds to day:
                                     — Phillis Wheatley, excerpt from “Thoughts on the Works of Providence”

Literary devices such as the anadiplosis are reminders that there is great power in the careful use of words.  Words make up sentences, sentences convey ideas, and ideas touch our hearts and minds in fleeting or lasting ways.

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