Speak Like Shakespeare In 5 Minutes

Speak Like Shakespeare In 5 Minutes
Photo by Taha / Unsplash

There is a science behind eloquent writing, speaking, conversing, whatever, and it can be learned.

Shakespeare is Shakespeare partly because of that magnificent beard--my goodness--but also because he understands the elements of eloquence written about by Mark Forsyth. Through ingraining even one of these techniques the next time you write, you can sound a gigillion (it's a number I made it up) times more eloquent the next time you write. Without further ado, here are 25, 30, 35--I'm too lazy to count--elements of eloquence.

For each element I explain what it is and give three examples using my interests in Personal Knowledge Management, gamification, content creation, meta-learning, psychology, and more.


Alliteration is simply writing with words that start with the same letter.

Combining content creation with coffee is so powerful it should be considered cheating.

Learning before learning, how to learn, Is like building a house without a foundation. Oh, and using chopsticks as the material.

Focus on focusing, it's the foundational life skill.

And that's an example of Polyptoton.


Polyptoton is when you use one word two different ways in the same sentence.

Game the game of life.

The Universe is one universe waiting to be sung.

Lose your fear of losing, and you'll gain the gains of failing.

And that's an example of Antithesis.


Antithesis is putting two opposites or at least stark contrasts next to each other.

The only thing I don’t resonate with is not learning to resonate with everything.

Creativity is connecting things. Intellectual death is not creating.

Intrinsic learning feels like cooking from a homemade recipe. The focus is on the experience, the smells, the textures, the flavors, the satisfaction of creating something from scratch. Grade first education feels like cooking strictly to win a competition. There might be aspects to the experience you could love, but you can't savor them while hellbent on winning.

And that's an example of synesthesia.


Synesthesia is describing one sense through another.

She looks the opposite as a boys locker room smells after a soccer game.

Gamifying your life makes every activity taste more like a delicious peanut butter ice cream, even if it’s a turnip.

Writing in the morning feels like the smell of fresh coffee... Like the smell of fresh coffee... Excuse me while I go get some coffee...

And that's an example of aposiopesis.


Aposiopesis is when you delay a sentence with those dot thingies. It usually indicates thinking, death, or tension.

Aposiopesis is when… Aposiopesis is… It’s…

Writing about something you don’t know much about is… It’s hard to write about… Writing…

Humans are made up of cells... Cells are made up of atoms. Atoms are made up of quantum particles... Quantum particles are made up of, huh...

And that's an example of Merin.


Merin is when you describe a whole by its parts.

A system with goals, rules, and feedback, now you have a game. Time to play Terraria!

Letters, make up words, make up a sentence. Crazy how that works.

Unfulfilled, lies the person without a self-made hierarchy of goals to pursue their purpose.

And that's an example of hyperbaton.


Hyperbaton is when you put words in an odd order, basically you're Yoda.

Nothing ever better was made by projecting emotion.

Uneasy, stands the horse without an apple.

Anger, fear leads to. Hate, anger leads to. Suffering, hate creates.

And that's an example of anadiplosis, kind of, it's hard to do hyperbaton and anadiplosis together.


Anadiplosis is simply starting the next sentence with the last word or idea of the previous, usually to make a logical chain.

Focus funnels what information you find relevant. Information influences your thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings influence your behavior. Behavior determines your results. Results run your life.

Create a self-made hierarchy of goals, rules, and feedback systems for solving your problems. Consume and act on relevant information until you solve it. Help others solve similar problems. Repeat.

The man made the toast. The toast buttered the roast. The roast ate the man. What am I saying?

Well, at least it's an example of Piraxis.


Parataxis is English as it was meant to be done. Simple subject + verb + object. That's it.

Aidan found diamonds.

The woman ate the cake.

The cake ate the woman.

Unfortunately, I can't do an example of hyperaxis with piraxis which will become clear once I explain what it is.


Hypotaxis is the opposite of parataxis. You create super long windy sentences that don't end until they do. And I'm way to lazy to give an example and you wouldn't want to read that anyway and neither would I want to write it?

At least that was an example of Polysyndeton.


Polysyndeton is using a whole bunch of conjunctions in one sentence.

And than he took my candy, and than, and than, sniffle, and than he took my integrity.

And and and and and and and and and. Satisfied you conjunction prude?

I won't. I won't do it. I won't do it I swear. I won't use another conjunction.

And that's an example of asyndeton (but not polysyndeton).


Asyndeton is when you don't use any conjunctions at all.

You thought there would be a conjunction here.

Here too.

And here?

Whoops, but that was an example of erotesis.


Erotesis is a rhetorical question you don't expect an answer to.

Why do all Greek words have to be so hard to pronounce?

Why are games so much more engaging than real life?

Why are people so bad at doing things that make them happy?

Because donuts. Badum chush. And that's an example of hypophora.


Hypophora is when you pose a rhetorical question you immediately answer. There is no faster way to come across as a prick at a party.

Why do all Greek words have to be so hard to pronounce? Because God needs some form of entertainment when he watches people from above.

Why are games so much more engaging than real life? Because they provide a meaningful hierarchy of goals, rules, and a feedback system for following them. Oh and diamonds.

What is the meaning of life?

If I answered that, it wouldn't be an example of aporia.?


Aporia is when you ask a question you have no answer to.

Why is the sky blue?

To eat or not to eat? That is the question.

Can you play through the game and the storming?

And that's an example of hendiadys?


Hendiadys creates fuzz. It's when you take an adjective and a noun, and than turn the adjective into another noun.

So instead of saying "I'm going to the smelly city" you say "I'm going to the smell and the city."

I'm running through the city and the smell.

I'm running through the cheese and the smell.

Doesn't even make sense but at least those last two sentences are an example of epistrophe.


When you end each sentence with the same word, that's epistrophe. When you end each clause with the same word, that's epistrophe. When you end each paragraph with the same word, that's epistrophe. See what I did there.

The answer to life, peanut butter.

The healthy thing to eat every day, peanut butter.

What's nutty, and nutritious, and nice? Peanut butter.

And that's an example of tricolon.


Tricolon is saying things in threes. It's the ultimate rule of comedy and a staple of the writing world.

I came, I saw, I died. - Aidan after he encountered Supreme Calamitis in Terraria.

I came, I saw, I conquered. - Aidan aspiring to be Julius Caesar.

I slept, I slept, I slept. - Winnie The Pooh, always.

And that's an example of ezeuxis.


Ezeuxis is really easy, it's just repeating a word over and over again in the exact same sense.

So Simple. Simple. Simple.

Oops. Oops. Oops.

Funny. Funny. Funny. Funny how this whole article I have made you think, disappointed, and laugh.

And that's an example of syllepsis.


Syllepsis is when you use one word in two incongruous ways.

Unintentionality is a habit that first takes your agency, than your life.

You play life for survival, than security, than happiness, than love.

I'm going to be honest I have no idea how to connect this one with the next, so aWwaAyY we go.


Isocolon is when two clauses are grammatically parrallel.

Roses are red. Violets are purple. No wait.

We project ourselves on the Universe; The Universe projects itself back on us.

You laughin. I laughin.

And that's an example of enallage.


Enallage is a purposeful grammatical mistake.

I'm a Psychology major. One of my favorite things to do after I see someone do something stupid with a friend is say, humans silly.

I confuse. Now you confuse also.

Life is a journey. Seasonal life is too.

And that's an example of Chiasmus.


Chiasmus is similar to Isocolon but two clauses are mirrored rather than grammatically parallel. For example, one sentence goes noun adjective the next goes adjective noun.

To read is to journey through the thoughts of others, and through this journey, our own thoughts find new paths.

To explore the self is to discover the world. In discovering the world, we explore deeper into ourselves.

Learn to organize, and by organizing, learn.

And that's an example of epanalepsis.


Epanalepsis is when you begin and end a sentence, paragraph, clause, or even book with the same word.

Games, once my escape from reality, now make reality the ultimate game.

Boss battles, in games, they end with loot; in life, they end with lessons, and sometimes loot—if you're lucky.

What's my name? Helfant, Aidan Helfant, but you can just call me Helfant.

And that's an example of Diacope.


Diacope is when you take the same two words and stuff another one in the middle. Ye know, Bond. James Bond.

Read, oh read, if not for knowledge, for the sheer joy of telling others you did.

Games, goodness games, where failure means a restart, not a quarter-life crisis.

Quests, lovely quests, where daily chores turn epic, and even laundry becomes a dragon to slay.

And that's an example of Catachresis.


Catachresis is when something is so startingly wrong, it's right. Like laundry becoming a dragon to slay.

My podcast, a sonic brew, where ideas ferment into a heady conversation, and more often utter nonsense.

The game controller, a scepter that rules over pixelated kingdoms and quests yet unwon.

Navigating my PKM system isn't exactly a walk in the park, unless the park is a labyrinth, made not of hedges but of hyperlinks and notes.

And that's an example of litotes.


Litotes is saying something is the case by saying what it's not.

Not a prick could be heard, not a mouse in sight, not a bird chirped. If you don't get it, I'm essentially saying it's quiet.

My enthusiasm for reading is not unlike taking a big snort of cocaine. Except, without the drug addiction, ye know.

The excitement I get eating peanut butter is not unlike eating a piece of astonished filet mignon, savoring its taste.

And that's an example of a transferred epithet.

Transferred Epithet

A transferred epithet takes a adjective and applies it to the wrong noun. That's how you describe someone as astonished by saying they took an astonished toast from the toaster. It's just funnier than saying they were astonished.

My coffee, brimming with anticipation, fuels mornings filled with the pursuit of knowledge.

The podcast microphone, buzzed on enthusiasm, eagerly awaits another session of me talking to myself like it's an audience. I'm so lonely (joke).

And that's an example of prolepsis.


Prolepsis is when you use a pronoun before announcing the noun it's describing.

They're practically dinosaurs to todays generation, books.

They're hard to find, a good romantic partner.

They can engage you more than life can, and stop you from pursuing real life rewards. Games.

Scesis Onomaton

Scesis Onomaton is when you create a sentence without a main verb. You don't need a main verb to have a sentence. You can just have a noun. That's what scesis onomaton is best at, setting scenes.

Psychedelics. The things I want to take but can't seem to get a hold of.

Happiness. The harder you chase it the farther away it runs.

Minecraft. Minecraft is the world I spent 3000+ hours of my life in as a kid.


Anaphora is simply starting each sentence with the same word.

Every time I open a new tab for research, my browser laughs at my optimism. Every time I open a new tab for research, my to-do list sighs in disbelief. Every time I open a new tab for research, my internet history plots its next escape plan.

Every time I reminisce about my gaming days, my current self gives me a pat on the back, or is it a nudge towards the console? Every time I reminisce about my gaming days, my books and journals form a support group, wondering when they'll be back in the spotlight. Every time I reminisce about my gaming days, my game console winks from its retirement spot, knowing it's just a matter of time.

I laugh every time I see a peanuts that aren't peanut butter. I laugh every time I hear something funny. I laugh every time I do something silly. I laugh a lot.

Honorable Mention: Defamiliarization

Defamiliarization wasn't mentioned in the book but I want to include it anyway because I use it all the time and think it's hilarious. Essentially you describe a normal thing in a weird way to make people see it differently.

Let's say you're at Chipotle. "Excuse me, could I get some of the land meat in the aluminum oval shaped thingy?"

It's not caffeine, it's neurostimulative enhancing serum.

And finally it's not "you're done with the article," it's "read the rest of my stuff with religious fervor because it would make me very happy."