End-Stopped Line in Poetry: Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Friedrich Schiller: Biography & Poems

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:05 End-Stopped vs Enjambed
  • 1:13 Examples of End-Stopped Lines
  • 2:20 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

In this lesson, you'll read about how ideas and grammar come together in poetry. Learn how to define end-stopped lines and test your understanding with a quiz.

End-Stopped vs. Enjambed

Not all lines of poetry come to a pause at the end. Not all lines of poetry wrap up a complete thought, either. When a poem's line finishes with a pause, usually as a result of punctuation, and it comes to the end of its idea at the same time, then the line is called end-stopped.

The opposite of an end-stopped line is an enjambed line. Often, lines of poetry require the reader to continue to the next line to finish the thought being developed. These are enjambed lines. Enjambed lines do not receive a pause at the end. End-stopped lines do.

Let's look at these two lines, both from William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. One line is enjambed and the other is end-stopped.

The first line exhibits enjambment. To get the full sense of what is being said, the reader must go on to the second line, without pause, and finish the thought. The second line is end-stopped. When the reader reaches the end of this line, he understands that these lovers, both from rival families, are fated to commit suicide. The idea ends and the reader pauses at the semicolon.

Examples of End-Stopped Lines

To take another example from Shakespeare, this poem, known as Sonnet 43, begins with four lines, all of which are end-stopped.

'When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,

For all the day they view things unrespected;

But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,

And darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account