Kathy Edens
Copywriter, ghostwriter, and content strategy specialist
Published Nov 06, 2018

ProWritingAid

If you’re like me, you love learning about literary devices and how to use them. I was in a literary forum recently where someone posted, "What’s the difference between Anastrophe and Hyperbaton?"

Frankly, I had to look them up.

Contents:

  1. Definitions
  2. Anastrophe examples
  3. Hyperbaton examples
  4. Anything Yoda said
  5. Final thoughts

Definitions

Hyperbaton is transposing the order of words in a sentence for emphasis or to make your reader think a little bit more.

Anastrophe is a type of hyperbaton that transposes a single word.

Yes, good idea. Let’s look at some examples.

Anastrophe examples

This I’ve got to see.

And you decided to stick it up your nose why?

Honesty, I value most.

"Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer."—Winston Churchill

Hyperbaton examples

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing."—Edgar Allan Poe, 'The Raven'

She wouldn’t, for all the money in the world, to that boastful, lying, ignorant man, capitulate.

Steady she sails against the wind.

Anything Yoda said

Any line Yoda speaks is either anastrophe or hyperbaton. Seriously, think about it.

"This one a long time I have watched."

"Patience you must have."

"Powerful you have become."

"Ready are you? What know you of ready?"

"The dark side I sense in you."

"Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things."

"Do not underestimate the power of the Emperor or suffer your father’s fate you will."

"If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice."

Final thoughts

See how powerful anastrophe and hyperbaton can be? Of course, you would really need to use it sparingly, unlike Shakespeare who was a big fan. While he, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, W. B. Yeats, e.e. cummings, and Aristotle can get away with it, the rest of us need to save it for when we need the biggest emphasis.

Or you could base an entire character on speaking in anastrophe and/or hyperbaton. But then, George Lucas already did that, so you’d just be copying.

What is your favorite literary device? Let us know in the comments below.

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Kathy Edens
Copywriter, ghostwriter, and content strategy specialist

Kathy Edens is a blogger, a ghost writer, and content master who loves writing about anything and everything. Check out her books: The Novel-Writing Training Plan: 17 Steps to Get Your Ideas in Shape for the Marathon of Writing and Creating Legends: How to Craft Characters Readers Adore... or Despise.

Be careful "Or you could base an entire character on speaking in anastrophe and/or hyperbaton. But then, George Lucas already did that, so you’d just be copying." Mmm, isn't this a bit like saying 'Don't write a novel in French because Voltaire has already done it'? I doubt readers will care two hoots what George Lucas has done before if the mechanism makes the characters sound different.

By derettens on 08 November 2018, 03:04 PM

I don't know what it's called, but really brief, sarcastic hyperbole, as in "She burns water"--said (I don't know by whom, either) of a sister complaining about the breaking of TG traditions to which she is manifestly incompetent to contribute meaningfully. Another: standing things on their head, verbally: "Work is the curse of the drinking class" (Wilde;); "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly" (Chesterton).

By julian_woodruff on 09 November 2018, 02:57 AM

I don't know what it's called, but really brief, sarcastic hyperbole, as in "She burns water"--said (I don't know by whom, either) of a sister complaining about the breaking of TG traditions to which she is manifestly incompetent to contribute meaningfully. Another: standing things on their head, verbally: "Work is the curse of the drinking class" (Wilde;); "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly" (Chesterton).

By julian_woodruff on 09 November 2018, 02:58 AM

Metaphors. Would like to quote some Gabaldon's words here, but don't know if that is permitted. But there are times I almost can't breathe, her words are so beautiful. Someone was reading "The Highwayman" recently, which I hadn't heard for at least forty years. "The road was a ribbon of moonlight . . ." Wish I could write such visually striking phrases!

By mcarvin1 on 09 November 2018, 04:05 AM

This is really interesting and how I sometimes have to deny my editor with what she sees as one way of saying something and in my head it needs a different emphasis. I never knew it had a name until now! Thanks!

By mphcoach on 09 November 2018, 12:51 PM