Syndeton is the coordination of elements in a sentence, generally with a conjunction (although not always, as with the title of this post). For example:
Lars Peterson provides writing and editorial services.
Polysyndeton is the use of conjunctions between all of the elements requiring coordination.
Visitors to lpeds.com will find Lars Peterson’s resume and a portfolio and contact information and a blog about writing.
Asyndeton is the absence of conjunctions between the elements requiring coordination.
At www.lpeds.com, visitors can see Lars Peterson’s resume, his portfolio, his contact information, his blog about writing.
Asyndeton and polysyndeton are not limited to coordinating items in a series. Both can be used with phrases and clauses, too.
Phrases and Polysyndeton:
A successful freelance project requires understanding client goals and developing familiarity with the material and transforming both into a compelling read.
A successful freelance project requires an understanding of client goals, familiarity with the material, solid language skills.
The freelance writer, who has worked in publishing and who has worked in education and who has worked in fishing and who has worked in shipbuilding, brings lessons learned from all of his experiences to each of his projects.
The freelance writer has worked in publishing, he has worked in education, he has worked in fishing, he has worked in shipbuilding, and he brings lessons learned from all of his experiences to each of his projects.
When clauses are linked using polysyndeton, they can take on a sort of Biblical tone, which may or may not be appropriate to the material. Ernest Hemingway often connected clauses this way, particularly long strings of simple sentences. Polysyndeton can also make the copy sound laborious and tedious, which can be useful if the copy is describing something laborious and tedious:
The indexer read the page and looked for indexable words and finding one, noted it on an index card and began to look for another word for the index and finding one, noted it on the card below the previous candidate and turned to the next page and put the index card on the stack with all the other “used” index cards and drew another fresh index card from the deck and began to read the new page and looked for indexable words and not finding any continued to the next page and so on until all the pages in the manuscript had been pored over. Then the indexer collated the index cards and moved them to the new stack and began again at page one to double check his work.
Or, polysyndeton can give a list of items a sense of endlessness — and thoroughness.
Today the freelancer has to exercise and buy office supplies and do some marketing and fix the fountain in the front yard and teach in the afternoon and work on one of his spec projects.
Asyndeton can give coordinated elements a sense of hurried incompleteness — as if more of the same exists beyond the edge of the sentence or page.
The freelancer searches for new clients among online job-boards, among his friends and colleagues, among his neighbors, among his current clients’ contacts.