I'm looking for the name of a style of sentence construction.

"That word; I do not think it means what you think it means."

(I know that is not the correct quote. Moving on)

ASL has a common structure of topicizing: presenting the emphasized part of a sentence first, and then talking about it: "CAT, DOG CHASE" means "The dog chased the cat", or more accurately, "The cat, the dog chased it". This emphasizes the cat rather than the more straightforward "DOG CHASE CAT".

Is it just anastrophe or do we have a more specific term?

  • It's a quote from the princess bride. Mar 3, 2014 at 18:07
  • Neither the OED, nor Oxford Dictionaries generally, have heard of 'topicize', and neither, incidentally, has Wiktionary nor Wikipedia.
    – WS2
    Mar 3, 2014 at 18:17
  • 2
    If you say so. I don't care what the Greeks might have called it. The Greeks didn't know much English syntax, after all. Mar 3, 2014 at 18:36
  • 1
    That's another way; there are a lot of grammatical ways to do that. Check the list. Emphasizing is a matter of speaker's intent, not grammar. Mar 3, 2014 at 19:47
  • 4
    "The cat, the dog chased it". -- left dislocation construction. You might be interested in the topic of information packaging.
    – F.E.
    Mar 5, 2014 at 5:34

1 Answer 1


A synonym for anastrophe is hyperbaton, but anastrophe is referred to as a more specific instance of hyperbaton in that the changing of the position of only a single word changes its emphasis.

In this case, anastrophe is the most specific term and the best one.

There are other terms used to describe unusual order (or disorder) of words. These are:

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