A-bed-of-roses, no, epanorthosis? Neither one sounds
like it makes much sense, though they do sound pretty
similar. Actually, the word epanorthosis refers to
a technique of emphasis using immediate word replacement.
Most often used as a self-corrective measure in speech,
epanorthosis emphasizes the corrected or stronger word
interjected after its original. The words in italics
below are the examples of epanorthosis.
A-bed-of-roses, no, epanorthosis? (This is also the
first sentence above, using the second word to correct the
him—slip him the money, I mean! (This uses the
could make thousands, millions, perhaps
trillions of dollars off this pyramid scheme. (With
each new word the emphasis heightens.)
had to visit the tyrant—er, his mother—last weekend.
( This is a sarcastically corrective use.)
Interjectory words like “no” and “er” and punctuation like
dashes and commas help illustrate the break in wording and
the sudden correction or alteration that follows. Again, we
use most of these devices in everyday speech, as well as in
“No” is one
epanorthosis technique you’ve probably heard in some
archaic, almost inflated uses.
Ex. I have
conquered, my lord, three, nay, four kingdoms in thy
less common in the United States. J.K. Rowling uses it
frequently in her characters’ dialogues throughout the
Harry Potter series, as it is more common to British
on those techniques likely to be useful to add emphasis in
academic or business writing.
understanding of how epanorthosis typically works with
punctuation in writing, we’ll look at some hypothetical
examples and their effects.
exploring remedial classes as a solution to diminished
reading and writing levels among entering freshman, colleges
can raise drastically, in fact, exponentially, the
number of students who will succeed in upper level-language
The use of
“exponentially” here seems to multiply the stress on just
how much the research mentioned would raise success rates
among college freshmen.
show that currently cattle feed contains artificial hormone
levels four times what they were in 1950 and can no longer
be proven absent of—rather, purified of—cancer-causing agents.
“purified” here makes the correction sudden and bold. The
writer seems to be saying that it is not only problematic
that cattle feed contains artificial hormones, but also that no
one is apparently doing anything to remove the hormones