Ancient knowledge of how to choose words to influence listeners appreciates repetition (very much). In the end, they increase the coherence and clarity of expression. Do you know how to use rhetorical figures such as poliptoton or epanaleps to strengthen the text?
In the elements of eristics and rhetoric we read: “In statements, keywords should be repeated or replaced with words related to them semantically.“
Of the four advantages of praising (brightness, correctness, appropriateness and ornamentation), repetitions affect two. Thus, thanks to repetitions, the statement becomes clearer (specifically: consistent) and decorative. They will also make it easier for the specialist text reader to remember the most important information.
How to increase consistency through repetition
Have you often heard the phrase: “Replace repetition with a synonym“? Well, I have interesting news for you: a synonym is also a repetition! Only inaccurate. Both exact and inaccurate repetitions and discussions, i.e. periphrases, help to make the text consistent. What repetitions will give the text consistency?
– the same word – when
necessary, e.g. Google
values timeliness. If you expand an old article by adding some new paragraphs
to it, Google will see it and index it again. Although you can replace the word
“Google” with the word “search engine” in this sentence,
Google will be more precise.
– a synonym, She liked to wear a hat with a feather. The decorative headgear attracted the attention of passers-by.
– a more general word, e.g. People surrounded Angelina with a wreath. This squat woman with a distracted look knew all the latest news.
– replacement of one name with another, i.e. metonymy, e.g. The actor read the poems of the master. The words of the master from the forest, heard years later, seemed different than in school times.
– pronoun, John made an appointment with Julia. He invited her to a concert of his favorite band.
– discussion, or periphrase, e.g. We ordered a chicken stew. Pieces of meat in white sauce served with loose rice turned out to be a good choice.
So when should you avoid repetition? And how, if the synonym is also a repetition? Let’s look at the sentence: A terrified neighbor ran out to the staircase. The man shouted: “People, thief!“. Repetition of an inaccurate male neighbor is superfluous and additionally confusing. Is the man who shouted a neighbor or someone else? So let’s apply the most effective editing rule: remove the unnecessary word. A terrified neighbor ran out to the staircase. He shouted: “People, thief!“
How to decorate and strengthen the text with repetitions
Writers, repeating words, do it on purpose. In addition to creativity, rhetoric helps them in this difficult art. Ways of deliberate repetition have already been discovered in ancient times.
According to the rules of rhetoric, repetition belongs to the word figures by joining. Unlike the figures by dropping, which serve to condense the content, the figures by attaching contribute to its elongation. Unnecessary? Only seemingly.
Repetition as an ornament helps to highlight words, draw the reader’s attention to them, and also play with the language. How to create such a repetition? Learn the word figures that will help you.
Poliptoton helps to focus attention on the repeated word
Repeat the same word. In this way, you’ll notice how important it is, e.g. Is there anything more valuable than time? Lost foaming can be recovered, lost time – never. And yet, when we share time with a loved one, we multiply it. Poliptoton will work better in oration than in the text. Very often we hear it in the speeches of politicians who want to emphasize the importance of a thought in this way.
Anadiplosis adds pathos
Begin the sentence with the word that finished the previous sentence, e.g. We are trying to catch up with the world and the world is not waiting for us. In this way you will emphasize the continuity of thought. Ireneusz Iwański aptly notes that anadiplosis gives the expression a shade of pathos.
Anaphora serves to strengthen
Repeat the same word or phrase at the beginning of the following sentences. According to Marek Walas, anaphora enlivens the text and makes it more emphatic. This is probably why you can often see it in advertising slogans, and they repeat it three times, e.g. in the slogan My Life. My world. My furniture. Use anaphora to stress the voltage. Let each subsequent sentence sound stronger than the previous one. Finally, anaphora, from Greek, means “lifting,” for example. She was beautiful. She was perfect. She was so haughty that I was afraid to look her in the eye.
You can repeat the selected word more than three times. Thanks to this, the tension will last even longer. Here is a statement by Captain McAdams about his last boat trip. Subsequent subordinate sentences begin with the word no:
“Not a solemn farewell in New York, not the journey itself without interesting events, not a couple of weeks waiting in Hong Kong for handing over the ship recycling facility, not even the moment of deliberate grounding or leaving the flag. I was most moved by the last descent on the gangway and the reflection from the side of the motorboat taking us. The ship was about to cease to exist. “
Epifora highlights the end of the sentence
If you repeat the same word not at the beginning but at the end of the text passages, you will receive an epiphora. Usually it appears in texts in which the subsequent parts have a similar structure, so they are parallel.
It is difficult to write a few sentences with the thought that each of them
will end with the same word and make the whole sound natural. Despite this, the epiphorus appears quite often in advertising.
Then the repeated word – often the brand name – appears as an
answer to the recipient’s problems, e.g.
Fever? New Healthy Brand!
Sore throat? New Healthy Brand!
Overwork? New Healthy Brand!
Epanalepsa shows what the point is
Put the repeated word in important places – preferably at the beginning and end of the sentence – to emphasize what you think is the most important, as in the example: History belongs to us and the people create history. Epanalepsa will also add drama.
Diafora discovers a new sense of the word
Use the same word twice, but in such a way that the repetition prompts the reader to think about its proper meaning, e.g. What steel is steel.
Paronomasia encourages linguistic play
Use similar wording with different meanings. In this verbal fun you can also use words that sound the same, but differently written. Advertising often uses paronomasia as a set of words that differ in one or more letters.
Repeat to make it easier for the reader to remember
All information that reaches you at a given moment goes to the sensory memory, in which it remains for a maximum of 2 seconds. The ones you pay attention to are supposed to be stored in short-term memory for about 20 seconds. From there, the road leads to long-term memory. It will contain only a small part of what you have stored for a moment in short-term memory.
Proposal? Only information that he draws attention to has a chance to get to the reader’s long-term memory. You’ll increase this chance by repeating important words. “Repeating is kind of lengthening attention.“
This way you can also help the reader remember more. Because repetitio mater studiorum est. How and what to repeat in an expert article?
At the beginning of the article, pay attention to the dates you will write about – for the time being to make them interesting. You can ask a question that will direct your attention. For example, at the beginning of this article I asked a question in which two names appeared: “Do you know how to use such rhetorical figures as polyptoton or epanaleps to strengthen the text?”
Explanations and definitions in the further part of the entry will cause that the announced date will be repeated in the article. I described both polyptotonoton and epanalepsis in subsequent parts of the text.
Repetition is also a summary. You can summarize the knowledge after each important passage, or collect mainly thoughts in conclusion, as I will do now:
– Thanks to repetitions, we increase consistency, add expressiveness and
– Exact repetition, synonym, pronoun, generic word, and discussion affect consistency.
– Accidental repetition often confuses or delays the content.
– Intentional repetition helps to focus attention on a selected word, emphasizes part of the sentence, encourages linguistic play or shows what the core of thought is.
– To make it easier for the reader to read a specialist text, repeat key terms and summarize messages.