By: Zachary Grondines


Antimetabole is a literary term or device that involves repeating a phrase in reverse order and is seen in literature, but is heavily present in speeches.


"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country"- John F. Kennedy

"You stood up for America, now America must stand up for you"- Barrack Obama

"We didn't land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock landed on us"- Malcolm X

Antimetabole vs. Chiasmus

A chiasmus is defined as: reversing the order of the words in the second of two parallel phrases. This is similar to antimetabole, except that the words and grammatical structure are reversed, not just the meaning of the sentence in an antimetabole.

Examples of Chiasmus

"Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate"- John F. Kennedy

"Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live." - Socrates

Works Cited

"Antimetabole - Examples and Definition of Antimetabole." Literary Devices. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

"What Is the Figure of Speech Known as Antimetabole?" About. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

"Chiasmus Examples." YourDictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.