What is anaphora?

Anaphora is the repeating of the same words or phrases at the beginning of clauses.

It is used to add effect, or add emphasis.

Famous examples of anaphora

Many great writers and speech-makers have used anaphora.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…
(Charles Dickens, beginning of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’)

We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.
(Winston Churchill, speech during World War II)

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state, sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

(Martin Luther King, ‘I Have a Dream Speech’)

How to make anaphora

Making anaphora is simple: simply choose a key phrase that puts emphasis on the subject.

Good food. Good drink. Good women. Good times.

She was a terrible girlfriend. I met her mother. I met her father. I met her cousins, her friends, her entire family. I even met her cat. None of them liked me.

They were smart. They were beautiful. They were well-connected. They were rich. They were everything he wanted to be.

It was a mistake. It was a mistake to talk to her. It was a mistake to ask her. It was a mistake to worry. It was the biggest mistake of my life, and I shall never make that mistake again.