English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is it called when the subject of a sentence is the same as the object of the previous sentence?

For example:

I'm going to Freddy's house. Freddy lives down the block. The block is paved with gravel. The gravel is jagged.

share|improve this question
Given these two pairs of sentences, I'd say the proper word is verbose: "I'm going down the block to Freddy's house." and "The block is paved with jagged gravel." Otherwise, it's called baby talk, because only a book for very young children would be written this way. – user21497 May 22 '13 at 2:57
There's no English word for it. The Greeks probably had a term, but then they had a term for everything, and nobody uses them any more. – John Lawler May 22 '13 at 3:57
Welcome to the site! You could call it anaphora, which basically means "repetition", but that's less specific. I doubt whether there is a word for this that is actually in use; why do you need a special word? One could argue that this style is characterised by excessively short and numerous sentences. – Cerberus May 22 '13 at 4:51
Anadiplosis is used in this passage, but that has no bearing on which words are subject and object. – tylerharms May 22 '13 at 8:36
@tylerharms: Not being terribly computer savvy, I can't help but ask you how you provide the OP with a hyperlink by simply typing one word, instead of by copying and pasting a complete address? If the procedure is too involved, perhaps you could send me to a website that 'splains it real good?! – rhetorician May 22 '13 at 16:31

I'm not aware of a specific term that denotes the use of the object of the previous sentence as the subject of the next. But your sentences follow a common pattern in English syntax called Given-New. Speakers and writers typically start with information that is known to the recipient and follow it with new information.

There is a good introduction to this here: Given-New.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.