Hyperbaton Examples

Hyperbaton

Hyperbaton occurs when a writer changes the normal order of words or phrases, creating a different structure with the same meaning. Writers do this to force the reader to focus on the words, their meaning, and to create depth in the writing. When the reader has to slow down to read the words, there is more focus on meaning.


One of the best examples of hyperbaton in popular culture is the speech of Yoda from Star Wars. Yoda often uses uncommon word order when he speaks. These are some examples of hyperbaton from Yoda's speech:


Go you must.


Mourn them, do not. Miss them, do not . . . The shadow of greed, that is.


Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight.


If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.

Examples of Hyperbaton:

Examples of Hyperbaton in Literature

From William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream:


The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was."


From Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"


Whose woods these are, I think I know . . .


From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:


His coward lips did from their color fly
And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
Did lose his luster. I did hear him groan,
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books.


From Emily Dickenson's poetry:
From Cocoon forth a Butterfly
As Lady from her Door
Emerged-a summer afternoon-
Repairing everywhere.


From W.B. Yeats "The Isle of Innisfree":


And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made.

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