Cataphora

An Introduction to Cataphora

Cataphora (derives from the Greek Kataphora, Kata “downward,” and phero “I carry” meaning “a downward motion”), is a stylistic device by which an element is used in an earlier clauseOpens in new window or phraseOpens in new window to specify, modify, refer or describe another element mentioned in subsequent clause in the same sentence.

In cataphoric construction, the preceding expression, that defines or describes the subsequent expression, is sometimes called “forward anaphora”. In the following examples, cataphors are bolded and their referents are italicized.

Examples of Cataphora
  • Too scared to buy before they sell, some brokers aim for a trade.
  • Once it landed safely, the helipad opened its doors.
  • Because it receives so little rain, Death Valley is a desert.
  • A few days before he left, Uncle Mike gave me a fancy gift.
  • Finding the right gadget was a hassle. I finally settled with a digital camera.
  • Because she studied really hard, Gretchen made nice grade in her exams.