Notecard: Antimetabole

There is a famously musical rhetorical device — with a sadly unmusical name: antimetabole — where an idea is expressed in parts, and the key words in the first part are reversed in the second part. For example: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Like so much music, John F. Kennedy’s quote balances repetition and variety in a way that feels softly surprising when you reach the end of the sentence. Music is a delivery system for memory. So, don’t be afraid to write musically. Or, to rephrase that sentiment with a dash of antimetabole: If you want people to remember your writing, write to be remembered.

Why Simple is Smart by Derek Thompson via The Atlantic

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