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Monday, October 12, 2015


Improve Your Writing, You Will 
by Valerie Ipson

If you thought your high school English teacher taught you everything you need to know about good writing, think again. Have you considered employing the use of antimetabole, chiasmus, anaphora, epistrophe, anadiplosis, and isocolon

Apparently these are real things...called tropes and schemes. They're techniques used in writing to create a particular cadence or rhythm. (The names are Greek.)

Some definitions: "Departures from literal meaning such as metaphor and simile are called tropes." (Who knew?) "Departures from normal word order are called schemes."1

We've all imitated Yoda's speech pattern a time or two. He employed a "scheme of inversion." 

There are also schemes of repetition and two of these are discussed in this week's lesson. I've actually heard of the second one, chiasmus: "the repetition of grammatical structure without repetition of the same words or phrases, as in 'It's hard to make time, but to waste it is easy.'"2 

I've seen poems that are written in this form, and I know there are articles written about how chiasmus is used in the Bible, and how the Book of Mormon is one big chiasmusAnother example of a line of chiasmus: "What is stolen without remorse, with guilt must be repaid."3

Now what in the world is ANTIMETABOLE? It's's the repetition of words in reverse order. Example: "Everyone who loves his country is a patriot, but not every patriot loves his country."4

There you can see repeated words on each side of the comma.

1 Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 228
2 Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 228
Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 229
Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 228


  1. I read it as 'an timetable'--LOL. Good luck remembering the names of these schemes and tropes. How about this antimetabole: Every writer is a reader, but not every reader is a writer?