Hyperbaton // is a figure of speech that consists of an alteration of the logical order of the words in a sentence, or in which normally associated words are separated. The term may also be used more generally for all different figures of speech which transpose natural word order in sentences.
"Hyperbaton" is a word borrowed from the Greek hyperbaton (ὑπέρβατον), meaning "transposition," which is derived from hyper ("over") and bainein ("to step"), with the -tos verbal adjective suffix.
- "Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end" — William Shakespeare in Richard III, 4.4, 198.
- "Object there was none. Passion there was none." — Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart.
- "The helmsman steered, the ship moved on; / Yet never a breeze up blew" — Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
- "From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned" — Kant
- "For while the tired waves, vainly breaking, seem here no painful inch to gain" – Arthur Hugh Clough, Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth.
- "Dangerous and disturbing this puzzle is. Only a Jedi could have erased those files. But who, and why, harder to answer. Meditate on this I will." – Yoda, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
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The separation of connected words for emphasis or effect is possible to a much greater degree in highly inflected languages, where sentence meaning does not depend closely on word order. In Latin and Ancient Greek, the effect of hyperbaton is usually to emphasize the first word. It has been called "perhaps the most distinctively alien feature of Latin word order."
- ὑφ' ἑνὸς τοιαῦτα πέπονθεν ἡ Ἑλλὰς ἀνθρώπου (Demosthenes 18.158, "Greece has suffered such things at the hands of one person": the word "one", henos, occurs in its normal place after the preposition "at the hands of" [hypo], but "person" [anthrōpou] is unnaturally delayed, giving emphasis to "one.")
- πρός σε γονάτων (Occurs several times in Euripides, "[I entreat] you by your knees": the word "you" [se] unnaturally divides the preposition "by" from its object "knees.")
- ab Hyrcanis Indoque a litore siluis (Lucan 8.343, "from the Hyrcanian woods and from the Indian shore": "and from the Indian shore" is inserted between "Hyrcanian" and "woods" [siluis])
- "quam Catullus unam/ plus quam se atque suos amauit omnes" (Catullus 58a, "whom alone Catullus loved more than himself and all his own": "alone" is separated from "whom," and "all" is placed away from "his own" and after the verb, possibly to emphasize it)
Donatus, in his work On tropes, thus includes under hyperbaton five species: hysterologia, anastrophe (for which the term hyperbaton is sometimes used loosely as a synonym), parenthesis, tmesis, and synchysis.
- Kevin Wilson; Jennifer Wauson (2010). The AMA Handbook of Business Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Style, Grammar, Usage, Punctuation, Construction, and Formatting. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. p. 224. ISBN 978-0-8144-1589-4.
- Stephen Cushman; Clare Cavanagh; Jahan Ramazani; Paul Rouzer (26 August 2012). The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition. Princeton University Press. p. 647. ISBN 978-1-4008-4142-4.
- Andrew M. Devine, Laurence D. Stephens, Latin Word Order: Structured Meaning and Information (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 524 (as cited by M. Esperanza Torrego in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006.09.33).
- Smyth, Herbert Weir (1920). Greek Grammar. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. p. 679. ISBN 0-674-36250-0.