Polysyndeton (paulee-SIN-dih-tawn): Figure of addition and emphasis which intentionally employs a series of conjunctions (and, or, but, for, nor, so, yet) not normally found in successive words, phrases, or clauses; the deliberate and excessive use of conjunctions in successive words or clauses.


"In years gone by, there were in every community men and women who spoke the language of duty and morality and loyalty and obligation."

-- William F. Buckley

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"And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good."

-- Genesis 1:24-25 (KJV)

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"They all tasted to me like undersexed morons who had blundered or trickled into the wrong beds in automatic response to sexy advertisements, or to make themselves feel modern and emancipated, or to reassure themselves about their virility or their "normalcy," or even because they had nothing else to do."

-- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

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"I ask you to look back on your moments of powerlessness. Look back to that moment where you had to get on your knees and scrub and sweep and mop and wax and buff and buff and buff and rebuff and buff again, a floor that someone was going to walk on and promptly scuff two minutes later. That feeling is what it is to be human. Humble yourself and accept your humanity -- and don't deny it in others."

-- DeCarol Davis, 2008 US Coast Guard Academy Commencement Address

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"It's [football] a way of life, really, to those particular people who are a part of it. It's more than a game, and regardless of what level it's played upon, it still demands those attributes of courage and stamina and coordinated efficiency and goes even beyond that for [it] is a means -- it provides a mental and physical relaxation to everybody that watches it, like yourself."

-- Vince Lombardi

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"We must change that deleterious environment of the 80's, that environment which was characterized by greed and hatred and selfishness and mega-mergers and debt overhang...."

-- Barbara Jordan, 1992 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address

Note: Can you spot the conduplicatio?

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"As soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers, in Congress and out, had concocted a story that I'd left him behind on the Lucian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three or eight or twenty million dollars, his Scot soul was furious."

-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt (on his dog, Fala)

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"[World War II] veterans here today will tell you that the first thing they noticed about basic training was breakfast. You could eat all that you wanted. Many got their first new pair of boots or trousers in basic training after a young life of hand-me-downs. Many will also tell you that before war came to America at Pearl Harbor they were opposed to this country getting involved. But when the Japanese attacked and the Germans declared war they converted overnight and transformed America into a mighty military machine -- in uniform and factories and laboratories and shipyards and coal mines and farm fields and shops and offices.

-- Tom Brokaw, WWII Memorial Dedication Address

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"Racial bias isn't epidemic in law enforcement any more than it's epidemic in academia or the arts. In fact, I believe law enforcement overwhelmingly attracts people who want to do good for a living -- people who risk their lives because they want to help other people. They don't sign up to be cops in New York or Chicago or L.A. to help white people or black people or Hispanic people or Asian people. They sign up because they want to help all people."

-- James B. Comey, Address on Race and Law Enforcement

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"I think it is fair to say that both in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union, Communism, Marxism-Leninism, as an organizing principle, is dead. That is to say, it no longer motivates in any significant degree public policy. There are still communist regimes in power, for example, in Korea or in Vietnam or in China or in Cuba which assertively proclaim their fidelity to the communist doctrine. But even there, public policy is no longer motivated by the doctrine. That is to say, public policy is not committed to the construction of a socialist or, eventually, a communist society. If one goes back to the party program adopted by the Soviet Communist Party in the early 60s in the days of Khrushchev, one would still find in it a commitment to the attainment of the state of communism, the condition of communism. But this no longer animates Soviet policy either. Soviet policy, internally, whether in its economic planning or in its economic reforms or in its discussion of the future of the political structure of the Soviet system, is no longer animated by a conscious, deliberate commitment to the doctrine. The doctrine is discredited -- and itís dead."

-- Zbigniew Brzezinski, Address on Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union

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"Because terrorism relies on brutal violence as its only tool, it will always be the enemy of democracy. Democracy rejects the indiscriminate or improper use of force and relies instead on the peaceful settlement of disputes through legitimate political processes. The moral bases of democracy -- the principles of individual rights, freedom of thought and expression, freedom of religion -- are powerful barriers against those who seek to impose their will, their ideologies, or their religious beliefs by force. Whether in Israel or Lebanon or Turkey or Italy or West Germany or Northern Ireland, a terrorist has no patience for the orderly processes of democratic society, and, therefore, he seeks to destroy it."

-- George P. Shultz, "Terrorism and the Modern World"

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"Oh, my piglets, we are the origins of war -- not history's forces, nor the times, nor justice, nor the lack of it, nor causes, nor religions, nor ideas, nor kinds of government -- not any other thing. We are the killers."

-- delivered by Katherine Hepburn (from the movie The Lion in Winter)

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Rhetorical Figures in Sound

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American Rhetoric.
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