Anastrophe is a form of literary device wherein the order of the noun and the adjective in the sentence is exchanged. In standard parlance and writing the adjective comes before the noun but when one is employing an anastrophe the noun is followed by the adjective. This reversed order creates a dramatic impact and lends weight to the description offered by the adjective.

Examples of anastrophe:

“Excited, the children were” – In this sentence, the usual subject-verb-object order is inverted, creating an anastrophe that emphasizes the excitement of the children.

“In the forest dark and deep, I wandered lonely as a sheep” – In this example, the anastrophe creates a poetic effect by reversing the usual adjective-noun order and placing the adjective “dark and deep” before the noun “forest.”

“Strong in the Force, you are” – In this famous line from Yoda in Star Wars, the anastrophe emphasizes his unusual way of speaking and adds to his mystique.

“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes” – In this quote from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” the anastrophe creates a sense of foreboding and mystery.

7 thoughts on “Anastrophe”

    1. An anastrophe is specifically with the adjective or adjective phrase position; inversions can occur with multiple parts of speech and their locations within the sentence. Anastrophes in contemporary language are sometimes called “Yoda-isms” because it is the way Yoda spoke in the Star Wars series.

    1. No, it is the present progressive (or present continuous) tense of the verb “to dwell”

      E.g., one could say: There God dwells (simple present tense) instead of There God is dwelling” (present progressive) –or dines instead of is dining, laughs instead of is laughing, and so forth.

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