English Grammar Basic Grammar and syntax

What is anastrophe? (with examples)

What is anastrophe? (with examples)

Anastrophe is the deliberate change of normal word order for emphasis or other rhetorical effect. (A rhetorical effect is any effect that elicits a response from the reader, for example, makes the reader pause for thought.)

Examples of Anastrophe

These are some examples of anastrophe:

  • She stared into the dog’s eyes deep and threatening.
    (Normal order: She stared into the dog’s deep and threatening eyes.)
  • On a black cloak sparkle the stars.
    (Normal order: The stars sparkle on a black cloak.)
  • Bright he was not.
    (Normal order: He was not bright.)

Anastrophe Is Figurative Language

When most people think of figurative language, metaphors, similes, personifications, hyperboles, idioms, and euphemisms usually come to mind. However, the term“figurative language“also covers unusual or imaginative word constructions. Therefore, it also includes alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia, logoglyphs and anastrophe.

Yoda’s Speech is Anastrophic

“Powerful you have become. The dark side I sense in you.“– (Yoda)

“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.“– (Yoda)

More Examples of Anastrophe

  • “And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made: Nine bean-ros will I have there.“(Irish poet William Butler Yeats)
  • “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing.“(Writer Edgar Allan Poe)
  • “It only stands our lives upon, to use our strongest hands.“(Playwright William Shakespeare)
  • “Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer.“(Prime Minister Winston Churchill)
  • “Intelligent she was not. In fact, she veered in the opposite direction.“(American writer Max Shulman)

Why Should I Care about Anastrophe?

Breaking the expected word order puts emphasis on words that are out of place. Anastrophe is commonly used in poetry, but has utility outside of poetry.

  • “City Beautiful“was a movement in 1890s to introduce beautification and monumental grandeur in US cities.
    (The expected word order is“Beautiful City.“Placing“Beautiful“in the“wrong“place gives it more emphasis.)
  • If you’re analyzing someone else’s handwriting and they used anastrophe, you should own up to it.


    • Emphatic are words out of place.

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