Anaphora Examples: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know what anaphora is? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on anaphora, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What is anaphora?

According to Your Dictionary, anaphora has two meanings. In grammar, anaphora is the use of a pronoun or similar word to refer back to an earlier word or phrase. The original noun is known as the antecedent. In figurative language, anaphora  is a rhetorical device that consists of repeating a specific word or phrase at the beginning of successive lines or passages. This is used to add rhythm to a passage or intensify the overall meaning of the piece. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean anaphora. You may notice that some of these translations of anaphora look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that likely have the same root or language of origin, causing them to sound the same. The below list of translations of anaphora is provided by Word Sense

  •  Icelandic: klifun‎ (fem.), runklifun‎ (fem.), anafóra‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Anapher‎ (fem.)
  •  Dutch: anafoor‎ (fem.), anafora‎ (fem.)
  •  Italian: anafora‎ (fem.)
  •  Russian: ана́фора‎ (fem.)
  •  French: anaphore‎ (fem.)
  •  Catalan: anàfora‎ (fem.)
  •  Serbo-Croatian: anafora‎ (fem.)
  •  Spanish: anáfora‎ (fem.)
  •  Portuguese: anáfora‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: anafora‎ (fem.)
  •  Swedish: anafor‎ (common)
  •  Hungarian: anafora‎
  •  Tagalog: saulit‎
  •  Basque: anafora‎

What are examples of anaphora?

The common types of anaphora can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word or literary technique in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize what it is, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this term of the day in a sentence today! Below are a couple of famous examples of anaphora from Your Dictionary that can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use. 

  • Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech : “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state, sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”
  • T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land”: 
    A woman drew her long black hair out tight
    And fiddled whisper music on those strings
    And bats with baby faces in the violet light
    Whistled, and beat their wings
    And crawled head downward down a blackened wall
    And upside down in air were towers
    Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours
    And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.
  • Winston Churchill’s We Shall Fight Speech: “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.”
  • Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right …”
  • The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: “It rained on his lousy tombstone, and it rained on the grass on his stomach. It rained all over the place.”
  • William Blake’s “London”: “In every cry of every Man, In every infant’s cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban”
  • William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 66”:
    Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
    As to behold desert a beggar born,
    And needy nothing trimm’d in jollity,
    And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
    And gilded honour shamefully misplac’d,
    And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
    And right perfection wrongfully disgrac’d,
    And strength by limping sway disabled
    And art made tongue-tied by authority,
    And folly – doctor-like – controlling skill,
    And simple truth miscall’d simplicity,
    And captive good attending captain ill

What are other literary techniques and devices?

There are many different literary and grammatical techniques and devices that you might see when you are reading prose or poetry. It is important to recognize these devices because they are always used for some purpose. Knowing these devices can help readers understand the author’s deeper meaning and why they are using such a device. Take a look at the below list of literary devices from Reedsy and see how many you know! Then try researching ones that are unfamiliar to you. 

  •  Malapropism
  •  Cumulative sentence
  •  Point of view
  •  Anachronism
  •  Irony
  •  Satire
  •  Allusion
  •  Soliloquy
  •  Tone
  •  In Medias Res
  •  Paradox
  •  Personification
  •  Aphorism
  •  Chiasmus
  •  Zoomorphism
  •  Frame story
  •  Dramatic irony
  •  Repetition
  •  Oxymoron
  •  Symbolism
  •  Motif
  •  Polysyndeton
  •  Anaphora
  •  Foreshadowing
  •  Simile
  •  Metonymy
  •  Hypophora
  •  Euphemism
  •  Metaphor
  •  Colloquialism
  •  Allegory
  •  Tragicomedy
  •  Synecdoche
  •  Tmesis
  •  Litotes
  •  Archetype
  •  Flashback
  •  Onomatopoeia
  •  Exposition
  •  Juxtaposition
  •  Isocolon
  •  Anastrophe
  •  Anthropomorphism
  •  Tautology
  •  Imagery

Overall, the use of anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase. 


  1. Literary Devices | Reedsy
  2. Anaphora Examples | Your Dictionary 
  3. anaphora: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense