Anaphora: Definition and Examples of Anaphora in Speech and Writing

When looking at grammar within the English language, one of the things you are sure to come across is anaphora. But what is this and are we to use it? We are going to look further into anaphora and look at some examples of it being used in both conversations and in literature.


Anaphora Definition

Anaphora is when a particular word or phrase is used repeatedly within a speech or text to add artistic effect. For example, you might use the word ‘we’ over and over in a sentence for a more dramatic effect. Such an example might look like this “We are going to the shops and we are going to buy fruit so that we can eat healthily.”

Using anaphora is also a way to emphasis a particular point, item, person or place within the speech or text. By hearing the word repeated throughout what is being said it draws greater attention to it.

Anaphora Examples

Examples of Anaphora in Speech

There may be many times that you will hear anaphora being used in a day to day conversation. We will now take a look at some examples of sentences that contain anaphora so that we can fully understand its use. Whenever anaphora appears within these examples it will be highlighted in bold.

  • We will work hard every day, every week and every year until the job is done.
  • My life is my purpose, my life is my inspiration, my life is my goal.
  • There is so much to do when you’re a parent, you need to feed the baby, you need to wash the baby, you need to play with the baby.
  • He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person.
  • They had lost their jobs, they had lost their home and now they had lost each other.
  • Who can we ask? Who would know the answer? Who can help us?
  • Everyone knows it was him, everyone saw him do it and everyone will corroborate the story.
  • The boat floated out to sea, the boat began to sink, the boat was no more.
  • Man rules the world, man can change the world but man has ruined the world.
  • You must tell them to make a right, and tell them to enter the room then tell them to wait quietly.
  • My friends are my world, my friends are my rock, my friends are my support.
  • It is hot in summer, the sun is bright, the sun is powerful, the sun is relentless.
  • My mantra is I am strong, I am confident, I am capable.
  • I am so disappointed in this, you have let me down, you have broken my trust, you have caused me pain.
  • My wife is so kind, my wife is so beautiful, my wife is so smart.
  • I love London because it is fun, I love London because it is fun, I love London because it is cultured.
  • The cat ate the mouse, the cat ate the bird, the cat ate the fish.
  • I love blue eyes, I love blue birds, I love blue seas.
  • The world was quiet, the world was hushed, the world was cold.
  • In her eyes I see my future, in her eyes the sun shines, in her eyes love is given.
  • The children are playing in the garden, the children are playing well, the children are having fun.

Examples of Anaphora in Writing

Reading literature is a great way to spot anaphora being used. We are now going to take a look at some examples of where anaphora has been used in poetry, fiction and other types of written work. As with the previous set of examples, any time that anaphora is used, it will be highlighted in bold.

  • In the famous speech made by Martin Luther King, anaphora can be seen as follows; “So let the freedom ring in the hills of New Hampshire, let the freedom ring in mountains in New York, let the freedom ring from Pennsylvania.
  • In William Blake’s poem, London, we can see another example of anaphora in use. “In every cry of the men, in every fearful infants cry, in every voice and in every ban.”
  • Anaphora can even be seen in the Holy Bible, here is one example of the many times it appears. “O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger, O Lord I am weak, O Lord heal me.”
  • In the play, Richard II by William Shakespeare, we see the use of anaphora in the second act. It appears in the following text; “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
  • The novel, A tale of two cities, written by Charles Dickens also shows us an example of anaphora, let’s take a look at an example from this written work. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
  • William Wordsworth wrote a poem called Tintern Abbey, in which we see another example of anaphora in use. “Five years have passed, five summers with the length of five winters.”
  • In a speech written by ex-prime minister, Winston Churchill we can see how anaphora is used many times. Here is a short excerpt from this speech “We shall not fail, we shall go on up to the end, we shall fight in Europe and we shall fight on seas and on the oceans.”
  • In a sonnet by William Shakespeare, we see anaphora being heavily used. “And needy nothing trimmed in jolly. And purest faith not happily sworn. And gilded honour now misplaced. And virtue strumpeted rudely. And perfection disgraced wrongfully.”
  • From The Catcher in the Rye written by J D Salinger, we can see another example of anaphora being used. “It rained on his tombstone, it rained on the grass, it rained everywhere.”


As we have discovered, anaphora is an extremely popular way in literature which authors have used to give much more of an emphasis on a phrase. It is simply the use of a repeated word in order to give a more dramatic effect to a piece of written work or in speech.

Anaphora Infographic


Latest posts by 7ESL (see all)

1 thought on “Anaphora: Definition and Examples of Anaphora in Speech and Writing”

Leave a Comment