The Dandelion Group

Technique of the week

Rooting interest

Using complex terms does not make expats come across as experts. Augment your repertoire and play with the root.

Polyptoton should not put anyone in a quandary. Although it is hard to pronounce, you have certainly been entertained by its artful appearance. One finds examples in the bible, where it reads “Judge not, that ye be not judged“; Captain Ahab went for the more complex ones and famously said, “The prophecy was that I should be dismembered; and—Aye! I lost this leg. I now prophesy that I will dismember my dismemberer.“

How to craft polyptotons

  1. Include the active and passive form of a verb in the same sentence, or the verb and noun.
    (e.g. Judge not, that ye be not judged. The actor was caught in the act.)

  2. Once you have mastered the first step, try to use two nouns with the same root.
    (e.g. one the one hand, there is politics; on the other, the politician. )

  3. Another option is to alternate the tense of verbs or using different degrees of adjectives.
    (e.g. “Human intellect has progressed, is progressing and will progress". - Dickens)

  4. The ultimate challenge is to form a polyptoton by pairing a verb with its object.
    (e.g. “All form is formless, and order orderless.” - King John)


Antonella Bundu was the first black woman to run for mayor in Florence, Italy. She led a coalition of radical left-parties and is fervently fighting the right in Italy. Create three catchphrases for her campaign about Italy using polyptotons.

Learn the techniques. Boost your confidence. Make your point.
here to jump the curve.

Ben WilhelmComment