Asyndeton refers to a practice in literature whereby the author purposely leaves out conjunctions in the sentence, while maintaining the grammatical accuracy of the phrase.


  1. Read, Write, Learn.

  2. Watch, Absorb, Understand.

  3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Source: Literary Devices

If we replace the commas with periods what device would it be, if any?

  1. Read. Write. Learn.
  2. Watch. Absorb. Understand.
  3. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
  • Perhaps a bulleted list with the bullets misplaced. Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 16:34
  • They're simply three-part lists, which I have heard described as the most powerful tool in the English language… though I don't recall by whom. Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


The examples with colons are known as tricolons, which are a type of isocolon. The most famous tricolon is probably Julius Caesar's

Veni, vidi, vici [I came; I saw; I conquered]

Replacing the colons with full stops can be a way of creating longer pauses between the individual parts of the tricolon. I'm not aware of a name for this literary device.

As Rob_Ster pointed out in a comment, "veni, vidi, vici" is also an example of a asyndeton, which Wikipedia defines as "a figure of speech in which one or several conjunctions are omitted from a series of related clauses." (But the link in the question already referenced a page about "asyndeton".)

  • 1
    One could probably accuse the speaker of asyndeton as well.
    – Rob_Ster
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 18:54
  • @Rob_Ster Thanks. I had forgotten about that, so I have now updated my answer.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 19:10

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