A few days ago, Ogilvy Group’s Rory Sutherland delivered this irresistible aphorism at TEDGlobal: “Poetry is when you make new things familiar and familiar things new.”
It was followed, quite coincidentally, by a sweet tweet posted by Paul Argenti, a professor of mine: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
Does that pretzel-phrased rhetorical device have a name, I wondered? In fact, it does: Antimetabole (an-tee-meh-TA-boe-lee)—the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed order.
If you’re a word freak stumbling on this blog, check out this Slate article about antimetabole written during last fall’s election. (Think: “We need a president who puts the Barney Smiths before the Smith Barneys.”) Now that you know, know that now you’ll start hearing antimetabolistic twists at every turn.
Image: Detail from “The School of Athens” (Scuola di Atene), by Raphael, via Flickr.com by Image Editor, (cc) some rights reserved.