College English 12

Vocabulary: Repetition


Repetition is reusing the same words or phrases for rhythmic or rhetorical effect.

Explanation of Term

An instance of using a word, phrase, or clause more than once in a short passage--dwelling on a point.

-Needless or unintentional repetition=distracting and boring.

  • Example's: ". . . who died of a fatal dose of heroin"

". . . a group for one-parent single mothers"

-The purpose of, when used deliberately, repetition can be an effective rhetorical strategy for achieving emphasis. Repetition can wake readers up and help them to focus on a key idea or, at times, even raise a smile.

  • Example's: "I want her to live. I want her to breathe. I want her to aerobicize."

"To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating

oneself endlessly."

Example Section from a Book We've Read:

An instance where this technique is used can be found in any writing and in fact it has been in almost every, if not all the books we've read since freshman year. The Lord of the Flies can be used as a great example when the kids are chanting after the hog kill; "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in." Saying this over and over again helps the reader understand how the boy's are losing their grip on reality and it gets the point across that they're going crazy.

Example Section from Pop Culture:

Repetition is so commonly used that we don't even realize we do it sometimes. Such as when we are telling stories, when we are movie quoting a certain movie, or when we are just writing a paper. Take the movie Major Payne for example, he's an ex-marine who becomes a drill instructure. He's always calling his squad a bunch of turds to dwell on the point that he thinks they're worthless which in sense makes them work harder in the end. The word is used sporadically throughout the movie so that the listener can make a connection with the actors and helps them understand what is going on.

Example Section from Literature We've Read:

In the book, The Things They carried, O'Brien uses repetition to give the reader a better understanding and help them realize the soldiers were almost fighting two different conflicts. Throughout the book, mostly at the beginning, Tim is always stating and talking about all the things the soldiers carried by saying stuff like, "They carried ____" or "They carried ____" By doing this O'Brien helps the reader understand the soldiers and how the war effected them in more ways then one and really stresses the point that they all carried many deifferent things.

Created by Ben Mallo