An Introduction to Anastrophe

Anastrophe is a deviation from the correct syntactic order of words, by which the normal English order of the subjectOpens in new window, verbOpens in new window, and objectOpens in new window are put into inverse order of object-subject-verb.

    For example:
  • the sentence “mango is a lovely fruit” might be constructed instead as, “lovely fruit is a mango”

Anastrophe is often used in poetryOpens in new window through which the poet is able to achieve a rhythmic effect. It is also considered as an alternative term for hyperbatonOpens in new window, but is occasionally referred to as a more specific instance of hyperbaton: the changing of the position of only a single word.

Examples of Anastrophe

Anastrophe occurs whenever normal syntactical arrangement is violated for emphasis; as in the following:

The verb coming before the subject (noun)

    Anastrophic form
  • Glistens the dew upon the morning grass.

Normal syntax follows the order of subject (noun) before verb:

    Normal form
  • The dew glistens upon the morning grass

Adjective coming after the noun it modifies

    Anastrophic form
  • She looked at the sky dark and menacing.

Normal syntax is adjective before noun, as:

    Normal form
  • She looked at the dark and menacing sky

The object preceding its verb

    Anastrophic form
  • Troubles, everybody's got.

Note that normal syntax is the verb coming before its object, as:

    Normal form
  • Everybody's got troubles
Further Readings:
Silva Rhetoricae, Figures | Anastrophe Opens in new window