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 anantapodotonAnapodoton 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 I’m going to shop my head off . . .

Or:

Marriage is always an option–living in a two-person cage, having to share everything, tripping over each other’s dirty clothes, entertaining each other’s friends until one of us dies–an option that seems bleak until you realize that, no matter what, we are here together and that there’s something singularly beautiful about love’s desolation and the spacious emptyness it provides for the negotiation of our otherness in a spirit of endless openness.

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

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