Rhetorical Device: Hyperbaton

Hyperbaton is a rhetorical device used to create emphasis in public speaking. It is created by changing the normal order of words for dramatic effect. By rearranging words, phrases, or clauses in an unexpected way, the speaker can draw attention to certain points and increase the impact of their message. It can be used to create a sense of anticipation and surprise as well as emphasizing important concepts while maintaining an engaging rhythm in speech. The use of hyperbaton allows speakers to heighten their audience’s interest and enrich their speeches with vivid imagery, color, and sound. It is closely related to anastrophe which by some is considered to be a sub-type of hyperbaton, although many sources use both terms interchangeably.


This much we pledge -- and more.John F. Kennedy, "Inaugural Address" (20 January 1961)

Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer. Winston Churchill, "Remarks at Harrow School" (29 October 1941)

We dare not tempt them with weakness.John F. Kennedy, "Inaugural Address" (20 January 1961)

WeWriteSpeeches rhetorical device explainer card on hyperbaton
The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.Winston Churchill, "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" (4 June 1940)

Further reading

  • Silva Rhetoricæ: The Forest of Rhetoric Visit
  • ProWritingAid: Using Anastrophe and Hyperbaton Visit
  • Wikipedia: Hyperbaton Visit