Paraphrase Tool


Updated Jun 17, 2023

The Art of Persuasion: Unleashing the Power of Polyptoton


In the realm of rhetoric, where words hold immense power, skilled speakers and writers employ a range of techniques to captivate their audience and leave a lasting impression. One such technique is polyptoton, a rhetorical device that adds depth and impact to a message. In this article, we will delve into the world of polyptoton, exploring its definition, purpose, and providing examples that showcase its persuasive prowess.

Understanding Polyptoton

Polyptoton, derived from the Greek words "poly" meaning "many" and "ptosis" meaning "falling," is a rhetorical device that involves repeating a word in a different grammatical form. This technique serves to emphasize certain ideas, evoke emotions, and enhance the overall effect of a message. By using the same root word in various forms, speakers and writers can create memorable and impactful phrases.

The Power of Repetition

Repetition is a powerful tool in rhetoric, and polyptoton takes this concept a step further by introducing variation through different grammatical forms. This technique allows the writer or speaker to explore different shades of meaning and create a more nuanced and dynamic message. By repeating a word in various forms, polyptoton not only reinforces a central idea but also adds rhythm, depth, and aesthetic appeal to the language used.

Examples of Polyptoton

  1. "When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free." - Charles Evans Hughes

In this example, the word "lose" is repeated twice, once as a verb and once as a noun. By using polyptoton, Hughes emphasizes the consequences of losing individuality, highlighting the connection between freedom and embracing diversity.

  1. "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds." - William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's famous line from Sonnet 116 showcases polyptoton by repeating the word "alter" in different forms. By doing so, he emphasizes the constancy and enduring nature of true love, even in the face of change.

  1. "The pen is mightier than the sword."

This well-known phrase, coined by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, employs polyptoton through the repetition of the words "pen" and "sword." By contrasting these two objects, the phrase highlights the power of words and ideas as a force for change and persuasion.

  1. "I dreamed a dream in time gone by." - Les Misérables

In this line from the famous musical, polyptoton is used through the repetition of the word "dream" in both verb and noun forms. This creates a poetic and evocative effect, emphasizing the nostalgic and fleeting nature of the dream described.


Polyptoton is a powerful rhetorical device that allows speakers and writers to amplify their message through the strategic repetition of words in different grammatical forms. By harnessing the power of polyptoton, one can create compelling and memorable language that engages the audience on multiple levels. Whether used in speeches, literature, or everyday communication, polyptoton adds depth, rhythm, and persuasive impact. So, embrace the art of polyptoton and unlock new dimensions of persuasion in your own writing and speaking endeavors.

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