Hendiadys is a literary device commonly used in literature and poetry. It’s a common term for non-fiction writers but it doesn’t have to be just for them.

In hendiadys, two nouns are linked by a conjunction instead of being joined by a verb.

It can be used to describe a single noun/idea or for emphasis. An example of it is “the sun and moon” instead of “the sun and the moon.”

What Is Hendiadys?

Hendiadys is a literary device that involves the use of two words connected by a conjunction to express a single idea or concept.

This figure of speech, which originated in Ancient Greek literature, is used to add emphasis and clarity to a phrase or sentence.

One of the most notable examples of hendiadys can be found in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” where Juliet declares, “My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep” to convey the idea of her boundless love.

In this case, the words “bounty” and “sea” are used together to emphasize the vastness of her love.

Hendiadys can also be used to create a sense of complexity or layers of meaning within a phrase.

For instance, the phrase “the heat and sweat of toil” uses hendiadys to describe the physical discomfort of hard work, while also hinting at the mental and emotional strain that can come with it.

Despite its rich history and versatility, hendiadys is often overlooked in modern writing. This may be because it can be difficult to use effectively without sounding forced or overly convoluted.

However, when used skillfully, hendiadys can add depth and nuance to a sentence, making it a valuable tool for writers who want to elevate their prose.

Overall, hendiadys is a literary device that can add emphasis, complexity, and clarity to a phrase or sentence.

Its use may require a deft hand, but the rewards of employing it in one’s writing can be well worth the effort.

A hendiadys is a literary device that uses two nouns, phrases or clauses joined by a conjunction to describe a single idea.

The word literally means “one through (two)” in ancient Greek and was popularized by poet John Milton in his epic poem Paradise Lost.

Hendiadys is commonly used in literature and poetry to describe simple ideas with complex ones.

For example, if you were writing about an athlete who broke his finger while playing basketball, you could write: “He had broken his finger while playing basketball.”

This statement implies that your friend was injured because of the sport he plays.

However, if you wanted to emphasize just how badly injured he is (and perhaps add some humor), you could use hendiadys instead: “He broke his finger while playing basketball – there went his dribbling career!”

In this case, “dribbling career” describes what happened when one thing happened: namely that person’s injury.

Examples of Hendiadys In Use

Hendiadys is often used in Latin poetry. There are many examples in Virgil’s Aeneid, e.g., Book 1, line 54: vinclis et carcere, literally translated as “with chains and prison” but the phrase means “with prison chains”.

Exodus 15:4 markəbǒt par‘õh wəḥêlô the chariots of Pharaoh and his army for “the chariots of Pharaoh’s army”

In Leviticus 25:47, the Hebrew says ger v’toshav, literally translated as “an alien and a resident”, but the phrase means a “resident alien”

In Lamentations 2:9, the Hebrew says ibbad v’shibar, literally translated as “ruined and broken”, but the phrase means “totally destroyed”.

In Isaiah 4:5, the phrase literally translated as a cloud by day, and smoke is sometimes interpreted as a hendiadys meaning “a cloud of smoke by day”.

In Mark 11:24, the Greek says “ὅσα προσεύχεσθε καὶ αἰτεῖσθε”, literally translated as “whatever you pray and ask”, but the phrase means “whatever you ask in prayer”.

William Shakespeare uses hendiadys throughout his canon, most notably in Hamlet where their use is replete. 

When cautioning his sister Ophelia, Laertes makes use of this rhetorical trope repeatedly with “safety and health” (1.3.20), “voice and yielding” (1.3.22), and “morn and liquid dew” (1.3.41). 

Perhaps the most famous use of hendiadys in the play is Hamlet’s own “Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I” (2.2.538).

Hendiadys Is A Common Term In Non-Fiction Writing

Hendiadys is a term used in nonfiction writing, but it isn’t necessarily exclusive to that genre.

You can use hendiadys in any type of writing and it describes two nouns or phrases that are linked together.

For example, if you want to describe someone as “the sun and moon” it means they are the light source for everything around them, which is pretty cool.

Hendiadys is also useful for describing a single noun/idea instead of saying two separate things about it because sometimes using both words at once helps create imagery or make your point clearer — for example:

“The stars shone brightly in the dark sky.” You could also say “The stars were shining brightly” but adding “in the dark sky” makes your sentence more interesting because now we know where they’re shining from!

Hendiadys is a literary device, in which two nouns are linked by a conjunction instead of being joined by a verb.

The conjunction (the word “and” or “or”) can be used to link two nouns together to create either one idea or focus on the first phrase and then state what is similar about it and something else.

For example:

“The book was boring and uninteresting—it had no excitement at all!”

This sentence says that the book was boring and uninteresting or that it lacked excitement altogether.

More Hendiadys Examples

Hendiadys is a figure of speech that uses two nouns, verbs, or adjectives together to express one idea. It traditionally has been associated with Latin, but it has also been used in English since the 17th century.

Hendiadys can be used to describe a single noun/idea or for emphasis. For example: “Life is short.” (one idea) vs “Life is but an ocean.” (one idea + emphasis)


For example, we could say that the hendiadys is used in poetry because poets often tend to use repetition and imagery with their words.

In other types of writing like non-fiction or fiction, however, it may be harder to spot this device being used unless you pay close attention to details such as word choice while reading what they’ve written out loud — a technique known as “sound reinforcement.”

Hendiadys As An Elegant Way To Say Two Things At The Same Time

Hendiadys is a literary device, which means that it’s a clever way to say something in writing.

It’s commonly used in poetry and literature and can also be used effectively in non-fiction writing, though it’s not just limited to those genres.

Hendiadys is usually used to describe one noun or idea with two words. For example: “The cat is black.”

Here we’re saying that the cat has black fur, but we could also be saying that the cat is dark or mysterious (or both).

In this example from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”:

“To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache and the thousand natural shocks !”

Hendiadys – Wrapping Up

Hendiadys is a great writing technique that can be used in both fiction and non-fiction. It’s not just for non-fiction writers, though — anyone can use hendiadys to describe their ideas more eloquently.

The next time you want to say two things at once or emphasize something important, try using this ancient rhetorical device!