Is there a word to describe the repeated usage of the same word at the beginning of a phrase or sentence? For example:  "As if he were trying to say something, as if he intended to explain, as if he meant to clarify the point."  Is there a word for that literary device?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The post above has identified the term you are most likely looking for - anaphora. In the study of literature and writing, anaphora refers to the first words in successive sentences and phrases. 

In rhetoric, an anaphora (Greek: ἀναφορά, "carrying back") is a rhetorical device that consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses, thereby lending them emphasis.

Anaphora can be understood as a special form of parallelism also, where a sentence structure or sentence type is repeated. So, parallelism is another (more general) term that applies to the example you've provided. 

Anaphora also falls into the rhetorical category of repitition

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial