By Kristen Altieri


Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses. It is the deliberate repetition of the first part of a sentence in order to achieve an artistic effect in either prose or poetry.


  • "It rained on his lousy tombstone, and it rained on the grass on his stomach. It rained all over the place." (J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye)

  • "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness..." (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)

  • In Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, he repeated "I have a dream" several different times.

Why Use Anaphora?

Anaphora is used to emphasize in an argument or phrase successive verses, paragraphs, or clauses. It adds rhyme to literature, making it more enjoyable to read and easier to remember. Also, when used as a rhetorical device, it is used to appeal to the emotions of the audience.