Asyndeton in English


The asyndeton is a literary figure that intentionally omits the conjunctions or links that appear between words, sentences or enumerations, in order to expedite and give greater fluidity to the text.

The word asyndeton derives from the Greek asyndeton, which means “deprivation,” “unlinked.”

Asyndeton affects the syntactic construction of a sentence by not including in these the conjunctions or links necessary to express an idea. Therefore, it is replaced by a pause that is generated by the intonation of the comma “,” between words.

The absence of conjunctions and links is used in order to generate greater dynamism and intensify the intonation of the statement in question. For example, “Love became everything, little, nothing.”

The asyndeton modifies the syntactic construction of the statements and opposes another literary figure, the polysyndeton, which on the contrary is characterized by employing and repeating links unnecessarily in order to generate greater expressiveness.

For example, “I don’t like your way of being, or your way of speaking, or the things you do, or how you treat me.”

Asyndeton examples

“On land, in smoke, in dust, in shadow, in nothing.” (Gongora)

Poor, silly, naive, but pretty.

Be happy, don’t expect from others, expect a lot from you. (Anonymous)

“Faint, dare, be furious

rough, tender, liberal, elusive,

encouraged, deadly, dead, alive,

loyal, traitor, coward and courageous. ” (Lope de Vega)