What is epistrophe?

Epistrophe is the repeating of words or phrases at the end of sentences or clauses.

It is used to emphasise a point.

Making epistrophe

Making epistrophe is simple:
1. choose a strong point
2. repeat that point at the end of each clause.


What did he talk about? His mother. What did he quote? His mother. Who did he call? His mother. I think it is easy to tell who he loves: his mother.When we went to the bar, we drank. When we went to the club, we drank. When we wandered the street, we drank. When we got to my friend’s house, we drank. That whole night, we drank. There is no secret to why I feel awful now.
The heat killed me. The people killed me. The food killed me. The whole place killed me.

Famous examples

Epistrophe is often used in writing and speeches to make a point.

…this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

– from ‘The Gettsburg Address’ speech by Abraham Lincoln
I want the best, and we need the best, and we deserve the best.

– John F. Kennedy
There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem.

– Lyndon Johnson
…when we have faced down impossible odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes we can. It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes we can. It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes we can.

– Barack Obama