This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Nuts and Bolts: anastrophe.

Right, you know what a catastrophe is?

The word catastrophe is from the Greek strephein, to turn, and kata, which means...well, pretty much anything, really...down, away, against, thoroughly...

Anyway, so that means that anastrophe, with the Greek beginning ana (up, back, again) at the front must mean...


It's not necessarily simply going to mean something to do with disaster, is it.

And, indeed, disaster, it is not, though simple it is. In fact it's so simple I managed to get two examples of anastrophe into that last sentence. 

Yes, I know it made me sound like Yoda, but never mind.

Anastrophe is where you put words into an unusual order in order to emphasise your point.

You come across it a lot in poetry. This is a splendid example from Coleridge's Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.

"Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

Normally someone would say Soon he dropped his hand...except that that line doesn't really mean Soon he dropped his hand, but 'Very soon indeed he dropped his hand'; otherwise the whole exchange is even more ridiculous than it is at the moment. 

Dear old Coleridge! 

Thing To Use Today: anastrophe. This word comes from...but I've done all this already, haven't I.

I still have no idea how to sort out these intermittent spacing problems. Sorry.

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