Anapodoton


Anapodoton (an’-a-po’-do-ton): A figure in which a main clause is suggested by the introduction of a subordinate clause, but that main clause never occurs.

Anapodoton is a kind of anacoluthon, since grammatical expectations are interrupted. If the expression trails off, leaving the subordinate clause incomplete, this is sometimes more specifically called anantapodoton. Anapodoton has also named what occurs when a main clause is omitted because the speaker interrupts himself/herself to revise the thought, leaving the initial clause grammatically unresolved but making use of it nonetheless by recasting its content into a new, grammatically complete sentence.

If you think Iowa killed my chances to make it all the way–if you think my one loss is every other candidate’s gain–well let me remind you of a thing or two, or three, or four . . .

Or:

There are many ways to deal with global warming–I can’t imagine that anybody wants to see their coastlines flooded–let’s not let another year go by without joining the international community and devoting our fair share of resources to reasonable efforts–to developing and implementing plans and policies–that will heal our planet.

  • Post your own anapodoton on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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