Paraphrase Tool


Updated Jun 29, 2023

Understanding the Rhetorical Device of Anacoloutha


In the world of rhetoric, numerous devices are employed to captivate an audience, persuade readers, or simply enhance the overall effect of communication. One such device is anacoloutha, a powerful tool that can add emphasis, surprise, or even humor to a discourse. In this article, we will delve into the definition of anacoloutha, explore some accurate examples, and examine how this rhetorical device can elevate the impact of speech or writing.

What is Anacoloutha?

Anacoloutha, derived from the Greek word meaning "lack of sequence," is a rhetorical device that intentionally disrupts the grammatical structure of a sentence or phrase. This disruption often involves a sudden change in the syntax, tense, or subject, creating a surprising or unexpected effect. By breaking the expected flow, anacoloutha can grab the audience's attention, highlight a particular idea, or even convey a sense of disorder or chaos.

Examples of Anacoloutha

To comprehend anacoloutha more fully, let's explore a few accurate examples that demonstrate how this rhetorical device operates:

  1. "I cannot believe how much time I waste, wasted on trivial things." - In this sentence, the shift from present tense ("I cannot believe") to past tense ("wasted") disrupts the grammatical sequence, drawing attention to the speaker's regret over past actions.

  2. "She promised to meet me at the park, but instead, I found myself waiting in vain." - Here, the unexpected shift from the anticipated continuation of the subject ("She promised to meet me") to the sudden shift in focus ("I found myself waiting") creates a surprise effect, emphasizing the disappointment experienced by the speaker.

  3. "The boy, with his puppy in tow, he happily skipped down the street." - This example showcases anacoloutha through the sudden introduction of a new subject ("he happily skipped down the street"), causing a temporary interruption in the expected flow of the sentence.

The Effectiveness of Anacoloutha

Anacoloutha can be a highly effective rhetorical device because of its ability to capture the audience's attention and create a lasting impact. By intentionally disrupting the expected structure, anacoloutha can surprise, intrigue, or even generate humor, making the discourse more memorable and engaging. This technique is particularly useful in persuasive writing or speeches, where the goal is to persuade the audience and leave a lasting impression.


In the realm of rhetoric, anacoloutha stands as a valuable tool for communicators seeking to elevate the impact of their discourse. By intentionally breaking the grammatical flow, this rhetorical device captivates audiences, draws attention to specific ideas, and fosters a deeper engagement with the message being conveyed. Whether used to surprise, emphasize, or entertain, anacoloutha exemplifies the power of language manipulation in its ability to create an indelible mark on the minds of listeners or readers.

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