How to Write an Asyndeton
Because asyndeton is the absence of conjunctions usually in use,
- Begin with a normal sentence using a conjunction.
- Remove that conjunction.
For an example, consider the emotional sentence:
Normal Sentence 1:
I’m sick and tired and tired of being tired!
Sentences with Asyndeton 1:
I’m sick, tired, and tired of being tired!
I’m sick and tired, tired of being tired!
Both of these sentences’ omissions create a more emotionally-charged feeling in that conjunctions, usually considered necessary, have been omitted.
For a second example, consider this straightforward phrase:
Normal Sentence 2:
I came, I saw, and I conquered.
Sentence with Asyndeton 2:
I came, I saw, I conquered.
This phrase, also known as Veni, vidi, vici, has more power and immediacy in its asyndetic form.
When to Use Asyndeton
Asyndeton can be used in everyday conversation, poetry and prose, movies and plays, and advertisements and speeches for a variety of reasons. Asyndeton can be used to increase or slow the rhythm of a list, depending on its subject. It can make the series of ideas more memorable and remarkable. Whereas the “and” usually gives a list a definitive end, the omission of such a conjunction signifies time is still moving, the list is not complete, or the list does not completely explain the entirety of a situation. It can signify trailing off in dialogue or allow equally strong phrases to stand alongside one another without the interruptive conjunction. On the other hand, asyndeton should not be used in less expressive and more technical texts. In a technical paper, it would be inappropriate to write “Thompson studies literary theory, cognitive science, evolutionary theory together” rather than “Thompson studies literary theory, cognitive science, and evolutionary theory together.”