What Is Anaphora? (Deliberate Repetition)


Anaphora is a writing technique that involves repeating terms at the start of sentences.

There are three main types of repetition: anaphora, epiphora, and commoratio.


Anaphora is deliberately repeating terms at the start of sentences. One often-cited example is Winston Churchill's speech:
  • "We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
  • (Sir Winston Churchill)
This is another good example:
  • "The future's bright. The future's Orange."
  • (Telecommunication company Orange's slogan)

Why Should I Care about Anaphora?

As repetition creates pattern and rhythm, it is widely used in verse (poetry and song). In business writing, its use is less common, but repeating words or ideas in a business document can be useful. Used sparingly, deliberate repetition can make your message more impactful and memorable as well as portray you as confident.

Here is an example of how anaphora might appear in business correspondence:
  • Itís the cheapest solution. Itís within the companyís control, and itís quick to implement.

See Also

What is epiphora? What is commoratio? Glossary of grammatical terms