Paraphrase Tool


Updated Apr 16, 2023

The Rhetorical Device of Epistrophe: Adding Impact to Your Speech or Writing

Have you ever listened to a speech that left you in awe, with each word resonating in your mind long after it was spoken? Or perhaps you've come across a written piece that had a powerful and lasting impact on you. Chances are, the speaker or writer employed a powerful rhetorical device known as epistrophe.

What is Epistrophe?

Epistrophe, derived from the Greek word "epistrephein," meaning "to turn about," is a rhetorical device that involves the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses or sentences. Similar to its counterpart, anaphora, which repeats words or phrases at the beginning, epistrophe brings emphasis and rhythm to the spoken or written word.

Amplifying Emphasis and Creating Rhythm

Epistrophe is a versatile rhetorical device that can be used in various ways to enhance the impact of your speech or writing. By repeating a word or phrase at the end of each clause or sentence, it amplifies emphasis, adds rhythm, and creates a memorable effect.

For instance, in his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech, Martin Luther King Jr. masterfully employed epistrophe to convey his message of hope and equality:

"...we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

In this excerpt, King repeats the phrase "Free at last!" three times consecutively, driving his message home and evoking strong emotions in his audience. The repetition creates a powerful rhythm, emphasizing the significance of the moment.

Enhancing Persuasion and Memorability

Epistrophe not only adds impact but also enhances persuasion and memorability. By employing this rhetorical device, speakers and writers can effectively emphasize their main points, making them more memorable and persuasive.

Consider the following example from Winston Churchill's famous speech, "We Shall Fight on the Beaches":

"...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; we shall never surrender!"

Churchill's use of epistrophe with the phrase "we shall fight" serves to instill determination, unity, and resilience in his listeners. The repetition of this phrase reinforces his message, making it memorable and compelling.

Epistrophe in Literature and Beyond

Epistrophe is not solely limited to speeches or political rhetoric; it is an effective tool used in various forms of literature and other art forms. Writers often employ epistrophe to create impact, rhythm, and emotional resonance in their works.

One notable example can be found in William Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar." In Antony's funeral oration, he repeats the phrase "Brutus is an honorable man" multiple times, using epistrophe to ironically undermine Brutus's reputation and ultimately sway the crowd's opinion.

Beyond literature, epistrophe can also be found in song lyrics, advertising slogans, and even everyday conversations. Its power lies in its ability to emphasize and make a lasting impression on the listener or reader.


Epistrophe is a rhetorical device that holds the potential to elevate your speech or writing to new heights. By skillfully repeating a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses or sentences, you can amplify emphasis, create rhythm, enhance persuasion, and increase memorability. Whether you are crafting a persuasive speech, writing an impactful essay, or simply engaging in a meaningful conversation, consider incorporating the power of epistrophe to leave a lasting impression on your audience.


About Paraphrase Tool

Getting your wording just right

Paraphrasing is a natural part of the writing process as it helps you clarify your thinking and suit your words to your audience. Using a Paraphrase Tool helps structure and streamline this work, and our paraphrase tool offers 20 modes, many of them free, for accomplishing just this. The 20 modes we offer are diverse, including a summarize tool, a free grammar checker, a mode to simplify text, and a sentence shortener. There are sentence rephrasers and paraphrase rephrase tools, and we pride ourselves on having both, since our reword generator accounts for context at both the sentence and paragraph levels.

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