Anaphora (Rhetorical Scheme)


Anaphora means "the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of a succession of clauses".

Anaphora may build intensity, emphasize emotion, and sometimes may contribute an incantatory quality to speech.


Martin Luther King, "I Have a Dream" (para. 19).

[19.1] This is our hope. [19.2] This is the faith that I go back to the South with. [19.3] With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. [19.4] With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. [19.5] With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

Sentences 3-5 start with the repeated clause, "With this faith."

"Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts" (Bush, para. 1.1).

Richard Nixon also uses anaphora in his resignation speech:

“I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so…I have never been a quitter…I must put the interest of America first.”

Each sentence starts with "I" which was a shrewd attempt by Nixon to not only connect with a nation of listeners, but also is an emotional connector through a display of pathos.

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