Why is Enjambment Used

What is Enjambment?

Although the term enjambment may seem strange and new to you, this actually refers to a very common feature in poetry. Enjambment is the incomplete syntax at the end of a line. You may have read many poems where lines continue to the other lines. Thus, enjambment is the continuation of a sentence from one line to another, without terminal punctuation.

Read more about Enjambment.

The opposite of enjambment is end-stopped lines. In end-stopped lines, the phrase, clause or sentence ends at the end of the line.

Read more about the difference between End-stopped lines and enjambment.


Let’s look at examples of enjambments in order to understand this literary device more clearly.

“I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew
Perchance shall dry your pities; but I have
That honorable grief lodged here which burns
Worse than tears drown….”

-“The Winter’s Tale” by William Shakespeare

“When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.”

– “Birches” by Robert FrostWhy is Enjambment Used

Why is Enjambment Used

Enjambment allows a poem to carry an idea naturally beyond the restrictions of a single line. It also facilitates the smooth flow or continuation of an idea from one line to another. It can help the readers to continue thinking about the idea which is expressed in one line, which then continues to the other lines.

The pause in the line-end and the suggestion to continue prompted by the incomplete meaning, also create a kind of tension. Therefore, enjambment is used by poets to add surprise and tension to their poetry. Some poets also use enjambment to create humor.

Moreover, enjambment introduces a sense of natural motion to the poem. This also allows the poet to create a strong rhythm. A poet can also use enjambment to express a complicated concept or idea in multiple lines.

Summary of Enjambment Usage

  • Enjambment is the continuation of a sentence from one line to another, without terminal punctuation.
  • Enjambment allows a poem to carry an idea naturally beyond the restrictions of a single line.
  • Enjambment introduces a sense of natural motion to the poem.
  • Enjambment is used to create surprise, tension, and humor in a poem.

Image Courtesy:

 By William Blake – (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

Related pages

alpaca llama differenceexamples of enjambment in poetrydifference between pure honey and raw honeytransnational companies definitiondifference between mitosis and meosiswhat is the difference between a dietician and nutritionistdictionary and thesaurus booktips on writing an expository essaydifferentiate between acids and basesconsumer and producer surplusprotostome vs deuterostome developmentstructural formula of ribosecharacteristics of omnivoreswhat is difference between atomic mass and mass numberautophagy vs apoptosisferrous and ferric irondifference between typhoon and hurricanwhat is the difference between stereotype and prejudicedarwinism vs lamarckismwhat is difference between ton and tonnedifference between center of mass and centre of gravitywhat is enjambmentleukoderma causesprohibited meaning in hindichemical formula for methyl alcoholstructure of eosinophilsdefinition of overtonewhat is the difference between a cation and an anionprepositional verbs and phrasal verbsdifference between glycemic load and indexamerican bully dog breed infopost office international drivers permiticing vs frostingcomplain nouncolors of belgian malinoisenquiries vs inquiriesgalvanometer as voltmeterwhat is the difference between cold sores and canker soresdog malamute vs huskystars on australian flag meaningeubacteria shapeswhen did delhi became the capital of indiathe difference between verse and prosedifference metaphor and similedifference between canker sore and cold soredifference between 5star and 7 star hotelbiennial plant definitionwhat is the difference between a nutritionist and a dieticianseizes definitionmodal verbs auxiliary verbsdefinition of monocotsexplain the difference between a mixture and a compoundwhat is the si unit of thermal conductivitywhat is the meaning of paralanguagedifference between culture race and ethnicitymetaphor vs simile vs analogydifference between polar and nonpolar bondsdefine polyploidypostures meaningdefinition for vaporizationsystemic synonymintermontane plateau definitionwhat is the difference between denotative and connotative meaningdifference sushi and sashimiflocculation vs coagulationintermolecular forces and intramolecular forceswhat are the differences between balanced and unbalanced forcesflare flairclassical and operant conditionwhat does a micrometer measureppf model economicshow are metallic bonds similar to covalent bondswhat is the difference between spanish and hispanicdefine valency in chemistrywhat is the difference between diploid and haploid