Literary Techniques of Repetition

Repetition in poetry (and literature) is a rhetorical device of using ideas, words, sounds, lines, or stanzas more than once in one poem. Literary Techniques of Repetition are used to increase: emphasize, enhance rhythm, deepen meaning, produce a powerful sound effect, increase memorability.

woman at a flower field
Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on

Poetic Examples of Literary Techniques of Repetition


A hyperbole is an intentional exaggeration. Hyperbole is a synonym for amplification. In some cases you can use “Hyperbole” instead a noun “Amplification”. Amplification is the technique of embellishing a simple sentence with more details to increase its significance. This literary technique involves repeating a statement or idea, intending to describe it or give more details about it. Amplification is used to clarify an idea and for emphasis.

example of poetry: Poems by Alice Eaglefeather

Freedom matters

Yes, Freedom matters

But no one knows if she breathes.

Is Freedom free to choose,

Free to go

Free to love

Free to be

Free to vote

Free to die

Free to debate?

And I want to reiterate

Freedom of the Press

Of course, Freedom matters

But does she live?

Sweet will be the day Freedom is

Free from bias

Free from prejudice

Free from the past

Free from clutter

Free from anxiety

Free from debt

If only Freedom was rent-free

Alas, Greed has her cold wicked blade

Pressed against Freedom’s throat

Greed is jealous, and at times, vile.

She has blood on her shoes

Those possessed by Greed are treacherous

They care not for their kin

“Pay for your beloved Freedom!” Greed howls-

Far away from the war, in some grand old hall

And you will. Because it is an honor to live and die

Fighting for the day Freedom rules


This is a combination of anaphora and epistrophe. That means one word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of a line and another at the end.

Look at you now

Look at you,

Now that you’ve lost me.

Just look at you now.

What a pity!

You didn’t listen to me. You didn’t care enough to know

Belittled my love, made me hate loving you. I bet you wish you hadn’t done that

What a crying shame. No really, it’s too bad.

Now you’re the one suffering. And I’ve moved on, my heart has a new love.

And you can do whatever you want! You’re no longer my concern

You put my love aside. You tore my dreams apart.

You were unkind. You broke my heart.

You stepped on all my sandcastles. You threw away the burning passion. It’s too late now

What a pity! What a shame, love.

Today, you’re the one crying. Now that it’s too late. 

Just look at the state of you

What are you doing here? Who would’ve thought we’d be here?

Oh, now you’re ready to listen

Fine, I’ll tell you. It’s not my fault that you made a mistake.

No, don’t say his name. He has nothing to do with this.

You see that door? It’s open. You can leave now.

No, I don’t need to tell you what he has that you don’t.

But here’s the truth. He was happy to take my hand when you let go

He accepted me and my flaws. He was there to dry my tears after you left.

He helped me up when all you did was put me down.

And I am with him now.

Read about other Types of poems here

Common literary devices of repetition

The following is an alphabetical list of various forms of literary devices of repetition:


Alliteration is the repetition of the same consonant sound at the start of one or more words near one another. It is often used to emphasize an emotion or reveal a stronger description.


Anadiplosis is a figure of speech in which a word or group of words located at the end of one clause or sentence is repeated at or near the beginning of the following clause or sentence. This line from the novelist Henry James is an example of anadiplosis: “Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task.”


“I have a dream” is repeated in eight successive sentences, and is one of the most often cited examples of anaphora in modern rhetoric. In rhetoric, an anaphora (Greek: ἀναφορά, “carrying back”) is a rhetorical device that consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses, thereby lending them emphasis. In contrast, an epistrophe (or epiphora) is repeating words at the clauses’ ends.


A famous example of antanaclasis is Benjamin Franklin’s statement that: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” In this example, the first time “hang” appears it means “stay” or “stand,” while the second time it refers to being “hanged.”


One antistasis example is the common expression “Working hard or hardly working?” Here, the words “work” and “hard” are repeated, but with completely opposite meanings.


Assonance involves using repeated vowel sounds in words that are close to each other. It is sometimes referred to as a slant rhyme: “that, spat and bat”.


Chiasmus is reversing the grammatical order in two otherwise parallel phrases or sentences.

Example: Dog owners own dogs and cats own cat owners.


Consonance involves repeating consonant sounds in words that are close together. There are many examples of consonance, including: “She wears short skirts/ I wear t-shirts”


“Life is not lost” followed by “Life is lost.” This is an example of elaborative diacope in that the repeated phrase is clarified or re-defined. Others include “minute” and “day.” Benet emphasizes the passing of time through the repetition of measures of time.


Repetition of a common name so as to perform two logical functions: to designate an individual and to signify the qualities connoted by that individual’s name or title. The president is not the president when he compromises his morals and our trust so basely. “Boys will be boys.”


A device in which a line or a stanza is repeated so as to enclose a section of verse, as in Sir Thomas Wyatt’s “Is it Possible?”.


Figure of emphasis in which the same word or words both begin(s) and end(s) a phrase, clause, or sentence; beginning and ending a phrase or clause with the same word or words. Example: “Nothing is worse than doing nothing.”


Epimone (e-pi’-mo-nee) is the repetition of a phrase or question; dwelling on a point. “Remember thee? / Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat / In this distracted globe. Remember thee?” Hamlet, 1.5.99.


The proverbial principle “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” is an example of epiphora.


In his Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln urged the American people to ensure that, “government of the people, by the people, for the people,shall not perish from the earth.” His repetition of “the people” at the end of each clause is an example of epistrophe.


Rhetorical device Fitzgerald used in The Great Gatsby is epizeuxis. An epizeuxis is a repetition of a word or a short phrase in succession to each other. One of the examples from The Great Gatsby of an epizeuxis is:

Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!’ shouted Mrs. Wilson. ‘I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai–


Repetition of the same word(s) at the beginning and middle of successive sentences. ” I was looking for a paper. I was anxious for a paper.”


Mesodiplosis is the repetition of a word in the middle of each phrase or clause. For example, “One, but not two; three, but not four; five, but not six.”

negative positive restatement

A method of achieving emphasis by stating an idea twice, first in negative terms and then in positive terms. One of the most famous negative-positive restatement examples are JFK’s words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”


The rhetorical repetition within the same sentence of a word in a different case, inflection, or voice or of etymologically related words in different parts of speech. “Who shall watch the watchmen?”


A ballade is a lyric poem that follows the rhyme scheme ABABBCBC. Ballades typically have three, eight-line stanzas and conclude with a four-line stanza. The last line of each stanza is the same, which is called a refrain.

Rhyme – See types of rhyme here


Parallelism is using grammatically similar phrases or sentences together. Sometimes three or more units are parallel; for example, “Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man” (Francis Bacon, “Of Studies”).


Closely related to motifs, symbolism is when objects, characters, actions, or other recurring elements in a story take on another, more profound meaning and/or represent an abstract concept. 

Example: In J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (and The Hobbit), it is said the ring of Sauron symbolizes evil, corruption, and greed, which everyday people, symbolized by Frodo, must strive to resist. 

%d bloggers like this: