Asyndeton, a Rhetorical Device

Rhetorical devicesRhetorical Devices attract and hold attention with words. Asyndeton is one in which conjunctions are omitted deliberately from a series. Julius Caesar eliminated “and” when he said, “I came. I saw. I conquered.”

Asyndeton produces a hurried rhythm in a sentence. It creates a concise, dramatic effect. Abraham Lincoln used asyndeton when he said, “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Perhaps a character could be described as “She had cold feet, cold hands, cold heart.”

Maybe another character could speak Italian, French, German. An athlete could claim, “I play football, baseball, soccer, hockey.” A college student lists his subjects: “I’m taking Statistics, Physics, English, Film.”

In 2007. Steve Jobs described the new smart phone, “Thinner than the Q, thinner than the BlackJack, thinner than all of them.”

Have you used asyndeton in your writing?

2 Comments

Filed under Rhetorical Devices

2 responses to “Asyndeton, a Rhetorical Device

  1. Gary Lea

    Yes, I have used asyndeton in my writing. I just never knew that was what it was called. I use it fairly often (but try not to overdo it). Recently, when I used it, some simpleton told me it was “grammatically incorrect”. Lord, please save me from “experts”.

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