How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Anaphora is the repetition of words at the start of successive clauses, phrases or sentences.
Run, run, run little piggies!
Three blind mice! Three blind mice!
Now is the time for action. Now is the time to take up arms. Now is the time to fight for your country.
Blessed are the good and blessed are the poor.
The primacy effect says that things at the beginning are remembered. Repetition also enhances memory. Anaphora thus has a powerful effect on hammering home an important point. It thence provides the bedrock on which subsequent words are built.
Anaphora is an partial inversion of anadiplosis, which repeats words at the end.
More generally, anaphora can also mean a reference back to a previous term. Thus subsequent repetitions are references back to previous similar words. In this form, exact repetition is not needed, for example 'Joe is a man, he is good.' ('he' refers back to 'Joe').
Anaphora comes from the Greek 'ana' meaning 'up' or 'back' and 'pherein' meaning 'to carry.'