Anastrophe: What It Is and How To Use It

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

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What is an anastrophe?

According to Your Dictionary, anastrophe is a type of syntax used in prose and poetry in which the sentence inverts the subject-verb-object order. In Ancient Greek, anastrophē, from the Greek verb anastrephein(ana-strephein), means turning around. This device is often used synonymously with hyperbaton. This device alters the normal word order to form an order of words with an intended rhythm in certain stanzas. This could utilize the changing of the position of a single word in order to emphasize the displaced word, or a rearrangement of the normal syntactical arrangement or normal order of the words to form a rhyme scheme, while it may alter the normal syntax.

What are examples of anastrophe?

Anastrophes 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 examples of anastrophes that can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use.  Take a look at these anastrophe examples from Your Dictionary, Soft Schools and Grammar Monster and see how many you know! 

  •  “For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life.” – (Melville, Moby Dick)
  •  “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” – (Tolkien, The Hobbit)
  •  Into the water dove the boy.
  •  “Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer.” (Prime Minister Winston Churchill)x
  •  “It only stands our lives upon, to use our strongest hands.” (Playwright William Shakespeare)
  •  “Here on the edge of hell/Stands Harlem -/Remembering the old lies,/The old kicks in the back,/The old “Be patient”/They told us before…/…So we stand here/On the edge of hell/In Harlem/And look out on the world/And wonder/What we’re gonna do/In the face of what/We remember.” – (Hughes, “Harlem”)
  •  In the night sky shimmered the moon.
  •  “O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,/The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,/The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,/While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;/But O heart! heart! heart!/O the bleeding drops of red,/Where on the deck my Captain lies,/Fallen cold and dead.” – (Whitman, “O Captain! My Captain!”)
  •  “Intelligent she was not. In fact, she veered in the opposite direction.” (American writer Max Shulman)
  •  “Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear, and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live.” – (Morrison, The Bluest Eye)
  •  “And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss.” – (Henry, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”)
  •  “My country, ’tis of thee,/Sweet land of liberty,/Of thee I sing;/Land where my fathers died,/Land of the pilgrims’ pride,/From ev’ry mountainside/Let freedom ring!” – (Smith, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”)
  •  Bright he was not.
  •  “Powerful you have become. The dark side I sense in you.” – (Yoda, Star Wars series)
  •  “Now the trumpet summons us again – not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need – not as a call to battle, though embattled we are – but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”–a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.” – (Kennedy, 1961 Inaugural Address)
  •  “Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.” – (Chief Joseph, 1877 Surrender)
  •  “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?/Thou art more lovely and more temperate:/Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,/And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:/Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,/And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;/And every fair from fair sometime declines,/By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d…” – (Shakespeare, “Sonnet 18”)
  •  “Of pain you could wish only one thing: that it should stop. Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the face of pain there are no heroes.” – (Orwell, 1984)
  •  A roast is what we will have for dinner.
  •  “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)
  •  On a black cloak sparkle the stars.
  •  Patience I lack.
  •  She stared into the dog’s eyes deep and menacing.
  •  Excited the children were when Santa entered the room.
  •  “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all – to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – (Shakespeare, Hamlet)
  •  “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing.” (Writer Edgar Allan Poe)
  •  “And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made: Nine bean-ros will I have there.” (Irish poet William Butler Yeats)
  •  “The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail” – (Churchill, “We Shall Fight on the Beaches”)
  •  “And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that: after 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm.” – (Reagan, 1989 Farewell Address)
  •  “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?” This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—Merely this and nothing more.” – (Poe, “The Raven”)

Overall, the word anastrophe menas inverting the words in a sentence.


  1. 45+ Literary Devices and Terms Every Writer Should Know | Reedsy 
  2. Anastrophe: Famous Examples in Literature and Speech | Your Dictionary  
  3. Examples of Anastrophe | Grammar Monster 
  4. Anastrophe Examples | Soft Schools