Asyndeton (from the Greek: ἀσύνδετον, "unconnected", sometimes called asyndetism) is a figure of speech in which one or several conjunctions are omitted from a series of related clauses.[1][2] Examples are veni, vidi, vici and its English translation "I came, I saw, I conquered". Its use can have the effect of speeding up the rhythm of a passage and making a single idea more memorable. Asyndeton may be contrasted with syndeton (syndetic coordination) and polysyndeton, which describe the use of one or multiple coordinating conjunctions, respectively.

More generally, in grammar, an asyndetic coordination is a type of coordination in which no coordinating conjunction is present between the conjuncts.

Quickly, resolutely, he strode into the bank.

No coordinator is present here, but the conjoins are still coordinated.

It does not involve omission, but is grouped with its opposite.


Omission of conjunction "and"

Aristotle wrote in his Rhetoric that this device was more effective in spoken oratory than in written prose:

Several notable examples can be found in American political speeches: Aristotle also believed that asyndeton can be used effectively in endings of works, and he himself employs the device in the final passage of the Rhetoric:

Another frequently used, extended example, is Winston Churchill's address, "We shall fight on the beaches":

See also


    • Corbett, Edward P.J. Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student. Oxford University Press, New York, 1971.
  1. Smyth, Herbert Weir (1920). Greek Grammar. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. p. 674. ISBN 0-674-36250-0.

External links

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