Anastrophe is the deliberate changing of normal word order for emphasis.

Easy Examples of Anastrophe

  • She stared into the dog's eyes deep and menacing
  • (Normal order: She stared into the dog's deep and menacing 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.)

More Examples of 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)

Why Should I Care about Anastrophe?

Breaking the expected word order places emphasis on the misplaced words. Anastrophe is commonly used in poetry, but it has utility outside 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 analysing someone else's writing and they've used anastrophe, you ought to recognise it.

Key Point

Emphatic are misplaced words.
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