What Is Commoratio? (Deliberate Repetition)


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


Commoratio is deliberately repeating an idea back to back, but in different words. For example:
  • "It's not pinin'. It's passed on! This parrot is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late parrot! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolical processes are of interest only to historians! It's popped the twig! It's shuffled off this mortal coil! It's run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This is an ex-parrot!"
  • (Monty Python's Dead Parrot Sketch)
  • "Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.
  • (From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, 1952-2001)

Why Should I Care about Commoratio?

Deliberate repetition is common in verse (poetry and song). It is less common in business writing, but repeating words or ideas in a business document can be impactful. Used sparingly, deliberate repetition such as commoratio is useful for emphasis or to make your message more memorable. It can also portray you as confident.

Here is an example of how commoratio might appear in business correspondence:
  • We have considered your solution and are impressed by its practicality. It looks very viable. Very viable indeed.

See Also

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