Hyperbaton – Concept, types, examples and literary figures

We explain what the hyperbaton is, its functions, what types exist and examples from the literature. Also, other literary figures.

Hyperbaton allows you to emphasize a part of the sentence by changing its order.

What is the hyperbaton?

The hyperbaton It is a literary figure that consists of the alteration of the natural order of the sentence, in order to emphasize any of its parts or to achieve a certain type of metric or rhyme. It is a figure commonly used in the composition of literary texts, especially in languages ​​that allow greater syntactic freedom.

There are three different types of hyperbaton, each of which has a specific name, and they are:

  • The parenthesis, which consists of the introduction in the middle of a sentence of a phrase or sentence with an intonation different from the rest. For example, in the verses of Calderón de la Barca: “and declaring myself mute (because there are sorrows and anguish that the affections say much better than the mouth), I said my sorrows keeping silent “
  • The anastrophe, which consists of the inversion, within a sentence, of two terms that naturally should be in order. For example, in the verses of the Archpriest of Talavera: “No one should not use or love of women love”.
  • Hysterology, which consists of altering the natural order of the elements of the sentence to begin by saying what would ordinarily be said last, or vice versa. For example, in the verses of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer: “The dark swallows will return / their nests to hang on your balcony”.

Examples of hyperbaton

Other examples of hyperbaton are as follows:

  • In Miguel Arteche’s verses: “Silence is stopped on the wheel / and distance is frozen in brake.”
  • In the verses of Garcilaso de la Vega: “With so much meekness the crystalline lens / Tagus in that part walked, / that the eyes could the path / hardly determine what it was leading.”
  • In the verses of Gustavo Adolfo Becquer: “From the living room in the dark corner, / of its owner perhaps forgotten, / silent and covered in dust / the harp could be seen.”
  • In the verses of Luis de Góngora: “Where the Sicilian sea sparkled / the silver silver foot to Lilibeo / pale ashy signs a plain / the hard trade gives”.
  • In the verses of Fray Luis de León: “From the mountain on the hillside, / by my planted hand I have a garden, / that with spring / covered with beautiful flower / already shows in hope the true fruit.”
  • In Miguel Hernández’s verses: “My loves are more black than sooty / even the lightest details / they detail their regrets with what verve”.

Also examples of hyperbaton are the phrases of everyday language: “Thank God”, “If I remember correctly” or “I don’t even have to say”.

Other literary figures

Besides the hyperbaton, other literary figures are:

  • Synesthesia, which consists of the mixture in a sentence of auditory, visual, taste, tactile sensations, etc., in the style of metaphor (synaesthetic metaphor).
  • The parallelism, which consists of the repetition of a structure within the text, changing an element as it is repeated.
  • Asyndeton, which consists of the suppression or omission of the links that would naturally go in an enumeration, using instead a pause (comma intonation).
  • The polysyndeton, which is the opposite of the previous case, since it consists of the normally excessive use of a nexus or a conjunction within an enumeration of some kind.
  • Paronomasia, which consists of the use of paronyms (words with similar sounds but different meanings) in the sentence to induce a play on words, generally with an ironic or satirical meaning.