Elements of Eloquence Single Line Challenge, Chapters 14, 15, 16 and 17: Hendiadys, Epistrophe, Tricolon and Epizeuxis

These four Rhetorical Figures lead into one another neatly, in the entertaining, short, and informative chapters 14 – 17 of our Challenge textbook: The Elements of Eloquence, by Mark Forsyth. I piously hope the effort of distinguishing these four similar figures, and then using them together, will sharpen our minds and, metaphorically, our metaphorical pencils. Plus, I didn’t want to write 38 separate posts.

Fair Use Doctrine probably forbids me from summarizing the content of these chapters. Not that my posts would be the equivalent of Forsyth’s witty little mini-essays, but that I might thereby allow someone to participate in the challenge without reading the book, effectively stealing the author’s essential work and central information without adding any substance of my own!

Here’s the challenge. I plan to have lots of fun writing lines – not whole poems or stories, just lines – in the comment section below. These will be throw-away lines, practice lines, lines invented for the sole purpose of making myself a better writer. These lines will contain Hendiadys, Epistrophe, Tricolon and Epizeuxis.

And when that is done I will feel smart, and a sense of accomplishment. (That’s Syllepsis by the way; we’ll get to it next post.)

Join me!

Chapters 12 and 13
Chapters 18, 19 and 20


  1. Now this is perplexity and a situation. For though she seemed sweet in the night, she appeared in the sharpness and light of morning a barbarian and bitch.

    This is he: my son! With a roundness and a face such as you see, he was born. Is he not dear? Is he not the very image and dearness of his mother?

    The lakes of winter are broken mirrors.

    I longed to know the stars. The purity and the slivers and the light; it wasn’t enough to see it. I wanted my skin sensitive enough to feel it. I wanted it bad enough my arms prickled, and I thought it was the starlight touching me.



  2. All the way home, we fought. Getting ready for bed, we fought. Whispering furiously across the pillows, backs turned away and knees brought up to chests, we fought. Only in the morning, when I woke first, I saw there were tear-stains on her face. I felt a little ashamed, then. What had I said to her? Why had I not stopped to understand what she was protecting?

    Oh yes, it’s just fine. True, I’m about to lose my house and my car – but it’s fine. I could go to jail – but that’s fine, too. In fact, why not just chop off my fingers and toes one by one? I’m sure it will all be fine.

    I remember you.
    Morning work, weaving words;
    watching windblown daffodils at tea;
    digging garden trenches, choring all afternoon;
    I remember you.
    Kissing the child, and teaching him letters;
    while he sleeps,
    weaving more words by lamplight:
    I remember you.



  3. Time, tide, and the chance to make a million bucks. You know what they don’t do.

    Titchy, witchy, and wild – that was our little girl.

    I don’t love it, I don’t like it, and I don’t even want it in the same room as my favorite mug.

    She stumbled, stopped, and stared.

    Then there was the guy the newspapers called The Burping Burglar. He was dishonest and dyspeptic, but above all he was dismally unlucky.

    The advent of everlasting chewing gum was unexpected, incredible, and (as it turns out) a complete lie.



  4. The flavor, the flavor! It’s heaven on a skewer!

    Oh, Dad, Dad, Dad. You’re hopeless about girls’ feelings; you know that?

    After that, it was nothing but ice cream, ice cream, ice cream all day long. Never sign a contract with a 7-year-old legal genius.

    Under the influence of playing Abender every night for five years, he grew startling and inconsequential. I once heard him shout sententiously, “Bear feet! Bear feet! Bear feet!” on entering the kitchen first thing in the morning – which for him was about eleven. His longsuffering sister begged him to make sense for just a minute, as she was planning a trip which would get them all out of the house out of the city out of the country, and was sure to do them all a lot of good. “A lot of good that will do,” he replied. “Well, yes – ” she started. But then he just went around saying, “A lot of good; a lot of good indeed!” and she sat down and cried. I watched this from the kitchen doorway and wondered what I had done to the poor lady.



Comment rules: name and email required; website not required. No more than 2 links, please. Markdown is enabled. Enclose with 1 asterisk for italics, or 2 asterisks for bold.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.