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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.

Example:

  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.
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  • 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

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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".)

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    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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