Where can we find anacoluthon nowadays?

An anacoluthon <…> is a rhetorical device that can be loosely defined as a change of syntax within a sentence <…>. Grammatically, anacoluthon is an error; however, in rhetoric it is a figure that shows excitement, confusion, or laziness.

Apart from poetry and rhetoric, can you give examples of anacoluthon nowadays?
Is this technique widely used in popular media?

My thought is since anacoluthon is an intentional grammatical error it would rather appear in newspaper headlines (where everybody understands will never be errors) than in article text? Can you give examples?


I’d never heard the term anacoluthon before but after reading about it, it seems to be the very common phenomenon of when you begin a sentence with a particular syntactic structure and then halfway through uttering it realize that your thought can’t be expressed within the confines of the structure already uttered. You can either hesitate and restart, or just finish the sentence as though you had begun it with a different syntactic structure. The latter option is anacoluthon. This happens all the time in speech, and is a type of speech error, or slip of the tongue.

Now, when composing written language, you are generally expected to fix mistakes like this by deleting or crossing out the incompatible syntax and writing a sentence that is syntactically valid. If you don’t do this, it is either because you want to, to achieve some effect—typically to represent some aspect of spoken speech—or because you don’t realize you made an error.

Source : Link , Question Author : pmod , Answer Author : nohat

Leave a Comment