1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

syndeton

By

Definition:

A rhetorical term for a sentence style in which words, phrases, or clauses are joined by conjunctions (usually and). Adjective: syndetic. Contrast with asyndeton.

A construction that uses many conjunctions is called polysyndetic.

See also:

Etymology:

From the Greek, "bound together"

Examples and Observations:

  • "He had never before been left with hobbled feet to shift for himself in a prolonged storm of rain, sleet and snow."
    (Zane Grey, Tales of Lonely Trails, 1922)


  • "At the marina, rain and steam rising from the bay shrouded boats and birds, and made the few scurrying people indistinct."
    (Blaize Clement, Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs. Minotaur Books, 2010)


  • "I crawled back under the cover of the boat and huddled there, wet, cold and sobbing."
    (Sam McKinney, Sailing Uphill. Touchwood, 2010)


  • "The fine rain made a desolate, even sound like breathing in the pinewoods, and below, milky layers of mist covered the lake, and were stained here and there by the darkness of the water beneath."
    (Elizabeth Bowen, "Salon des Dames")


  • "You are talking to a man who has laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe."
    (The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz, 1939)


  • Marking Coordination
    "Coordination is usually but not invariably marked by one or more coordinators. Three patterns to be distinguished are shown in (6):
    (6) i SIMPLE SYNDETIC You need [celery, apples, walnuts, and grapes].
    (6) ii POLYSYNDETIC You need [celery and apples and walnuts and grapes].
    (6) iii ASYNDETIC You need [celery, apples, walnuts, grapes].
    The major contrast is between syndetic coordination, which contains at least one coordinator, and asyndetic coordination, which does not. In constructions with more than two coordinates there is a further contrast within syndetic coordination between the default simple syndetic, which has a single coordinator marking the final coordinate, and polysyndetic, where all non-initial coordinates are marked by a coordinator (which must be the same for all of them). The coordinator forms a constituent with the coordinator which follows: we refer to expressions like and grapes as an expanded coordinate, with grapes itself a bare coordinate."
    (Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, "Coordination and Subordination." The Handbook of English Linguistics, ed. by Bas Aarts and April M. S. McMahon. Blackwell, 2006)


  • "Rain, rain all day, all evening, all night, pouring autumn rain. Out in the country, over field and fen and moorland, sweet-smelling rain, borne on the wind. Rain in London, rolling along gutters, gurgling down drains. Street lamps blurred by rain. A policeman walking by in a cape, rain gleaming silver on its shoulders. Rain bouncing on roofs and pavements. Rain on London's river, and slanting among the sheds, wharves and quays. Rain on suburban gardens, dense with laurel and rhododendron. Rain from north to south and from east to west, as though it had never rained until now, and now might never stop.

    "Rain on all the silent streets and squares, alleys and courts, gardens and churchyards and stone steps and nooks and crannies of the city."
    (Susan Hill, The Mist in the Mirror. Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992)
Pronunciation: SIN-de-tin

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.