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What is an End-Stopped Line?

A line of poetry that ends with a punctuation mark.

All Good Things Must End...With Punctuation: The End-Stopped Line in Poetry

In poetry, the end-stopped line is a powerful tool in communicating to readers. These lines are characterized by the presence of a punctuation mark at the end, indicating a full stop, pause, or point of closure.

End-stopped lines are particularly useful in emphasizing a thought or idea, serving as a moment of contemplation or reflection for readers. They also give poems a more structured and organized feel, as opposed to enjambment, or the continuation of a sentence or phrase across multiple lines without punctuation.

The end-stopped line has its roots in early English poetry and has persisted through the centuries as a fundamental technique in poetic composition. Whether you're composing sonnets, haikus, or free verse poetry, mastering the end-stopped line is key to crafting a memorable and impactful poem.

Take Note for the Test: Famous Examples of End-Stopped Lines

The end-stopped line has been used throughout literature to convey themes and emotions, and here are two famous examples:

"Do not go gently into that good night" by Dylan Thomas

This poem features many end-stopped lines, including the opening line: "Do not go gentle into that good night, / Old age should burn and rave at close of day;" which emphasizes the urgency and intensity of the speaker's message.

"The Waste Land" by T.S. Eliot

In this famous work of modernist poetry, end-stopped lines are used to signify the fragmented, disjointed nature of modern society, such as in the line "The chair she sat in, like a burnished throne, / Glowed on the marble, where the glass / Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines / From which a golden Cupidon peeped out" which emphasizes the separation of ideas and lack of unity within the world of the poem.