Repetition in Literature: 3 Important Rhetorical Devices


These three important rhetorical devices help deepen the annotation process. All three presented are forms of repetition. When you annotate you want to build a relationship with the text and read for understanding, to make connections, and to reveal independent thinking and communicate your observations about text.

A question I often get from students is,

“How do I know what to annotate in a passage?”

This is a great questions.

The answer goes back to your knowledge of literary devices.  The quality of your annotations for the sake of literary analysis is only as strong as your understanding of literary devices and rhetorical devices before you read.

This post is meant to strengthen you annotations skills by equipping you with three more rhetorical devices you will look for in future texts.  The best way to develop the skill of annotation and ultimately literary analysis is practice.

Annotate every piece of text you can!

3 Rhetorical Devices for Identifying Repetition.

  • Anaphota
  • Epistrophe
  • Tricolon

While the first two, anaphora and epistrophe address the repetition of words or phrases, tricolon presents a repetition of structure.

Investigate each of theses repetitive patterns below.


Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of the sentence.


  • Every day, every night, in every way, I am getting better and better.”
  • My life is my purpose. My life is my goal. My life is my inspiration.”
  • “Buying diapers for the baby, feeding the baby, playing with the baby: This is what your life is when you have a baby.”
  • “I want my money right now, right here, all right?”
  • “The wrong person was selected for the wrong job, at the wrong time, for the wrong purpose.”
  • “Their property was sold, their homestead was sold, and their everything was sold for want.”
  • Who is to blame, who is to look to, who is to turn to, in a tough situation like this.”
  • “In adversity, his close friends left him, his close colleagues left him, and his best close relatives left him.”
  • Everything looked dark and bleak, everything looked gloomy, and everything was under a blanket of mist.”
  • All the people were moving in the same direction; all the people were thinking about the same thing; and all the people were discussing the same topic.”
  • “After a long term of studies, the students wanted to go home, they wanted to play, and they wanted to meet their parents and friends.”
  • The players were much exited for the tour; the players wished to do a lot of shopping; the players planned to go sightseeing.”
  • The young writer was given the award for his best seller. The young writer was exited to get the reward, and he decided to celebrate the occasion in a fitting manner.”