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The term anaphora is actually used in two ways.

In linguistics, anaphora (/əˈnæfərə/) is the use of an expression whose interpretation depends upon
another expression in context (its antecedent or postcedent). In a narrower sense, anaphora is the use
of an expression that depends specifically upon an antecedent expression and thus is contrasted with
cataphora, which is the use of an expression that depends upon a postcedent expression. The anaphoric
(referring) term is called an anaphor. For example, in the sentence Sally arrived, but nobody saw her, the
pronoun her is an anaphor, referring back to the antecedent Sally. In the sentence Before her arrival,
nobody saw Sally, the pronoun her refers forward to the postcedent Sally, so her is now a cataphor (and
an anaphor in the broader, but not the narrower, sense). Usually, an anaphoric expression is a proform
or some other kind of deictic (contextually-dependent) expression. Both anaphora and cataphora are
species of endophora, referring to something mentioned elsewhere in a dialog or text.

Anaphora is an important concept for different reasons and on different levels: first, anaphora indicates
how discourse is constructed and maintained; second, anaphora binds different syntactical elements
together at the level of the sentence; third, anaphora presents a challenge to natural language
processing in computational linguistics, since the identification of the reference can be difficult; and
fourth, anaphora tells some things about how language is understood and processed, which is relevant
to fields of linguistics interested in cognitive psychology.

In a broad sense, it denotes the act of referring. Any time a given expression (e.g. a proform) refers to
another contextual entity, anaphora is present.

In a second, narrower sense, the term anaphora denotes the act of referring backwards in a dialog or
text, such as referring to the left when an anaphor points to its left toward its antecedent in languages
that are written from left to right. Etymologically, anaphora derives from Ancient Greek ἀναφορά
(anaphorá, "a carrying back"), from ἀνά (aná, "up") + φέρω (phérō, "I carry"). In this narrow sense,
anaphora stands in contrast to cataphora, which sees the act of referring forward in a dialog or text, or
pointing to the right in languages that are written from left to right: Ancient Greek καταφορά
(kataphorá, "a downward motion"), from κατά (katá, "downwards") + φέρω (phérō, "I carry"). A proform
is a cataphor when it points to its right toward its postcedent. Both effects together are called either
anaphora (broad sense) or less ambiguously, along with self-reference they comprise the category of
endophora.[3]

Examples of anaphora (in the narrow sense) and cataphora are given next. Anaphors and cataphors
appear in bold, and their antecedents and postcedents are underlined:
Anaphora (in the narrow sense, species of endophora)

a. Susan dropped the plate. It shattered loudly. - The pronoun it is an anaphor; it points to the left
toward its antecedent the plate.

b. The music stopped, and that upset everyone. - The demonstrative pronoun that is an anaphor; it
points to the left toward its antecedent The music stopped.

c. Fred was angry, and so was I. - The adverb so is an anaphor; it points to the left toward its antecedent
angry.

d. If Sam buys a new bike, I will do it as well. - The verb phrase do it is an anaphor; it points to the left
toward its antecedent buys a new bike.

Cataphora (included in the broad sense of anaphora, species of endophora)

a. Because he was very cold, David put on his coat. - The pronoun he is a cataphor; it points to the right
toward its postcedent David.

b. His friends have been criticizing Jim for exaggerating. - The possessive adjective his is a cataphor; it
points to the right toward its postcedent Jim.

c. Although Sam might do so, I will not buy a new bike. - The verb phrase do so is a cataphor; it points to
the right toward its postcedent buy a new bike.

d. In their free time, the kids play video games. - The possessive adjective their is a cataphor; it points to
the right toward its postcedent the kids.