Top 20 figures of speech


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Top 20 figures of speech

  1. 1.  The repetition of an initial consonant sound.
  2. 2.  The Repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or verses. (Contrast with epiphora and epistrophe.) Example – “I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. By Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My lovely,1940.
  3. 3.  The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases. Example – “Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing” By Goethe
  4. 4.  Breaking off discourse to address some absent person or thing, some abstract quality, an inanimate object, or a nonexistent character.
  5. 5.  Identity or similarity in sound between internal vowel in neighbouring words. Example – “ If I bleat when I speak it‟s because I just got….fleeced.” By Al Swearengen in Deadwood, 2004
  6. 6.  A verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first but with the parts reversed. Example- “Nice to see you, to see you, nice!”
  7. 7.  The substitution of an inoffensive term for one considered offensively explict. Example – Paul Kersey : You‟ve got a prime figure. You really have, you know. That‟s a euphenism for fat.
  8. 8.  An extravagant statement; the use of exaggerated terms for the purpose of emphasis or heightened effect.
  9. 9.  The use of words to convey the opposite of their literary meaning. A statement or stuation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea. Example – Women: I started riding these train in the forties. Those days a man would give up his seat for a woman. Now we‟re liberated and we have to stand. Elaine – It‟s ironic. Woman: What‟s ironic? Elaine – This, that we‟ve come all this way, we have made all this progress, but you know we‟ve lost the little things, the niceties.
  10. 10.  A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite.
  11. 11.  An implied comparison between two unlike things that actually have something important in common. Example – “ A man may break a word with you sir, and words are but wind.” By William Shakespeare, from „The Comedy of Errors.‟
  12. 12.  A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated; also, the rhetorical strategy of describing something indirectly by referring to things around it.
  13. 13.  The use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to. Example – “Chug, chug, chug, puff, puff. Ding-dong, ding-dong. The little rain rumbled over the tracks.
  14. 14.  A figure of speech in which incongruous or contradictory terms appear side by side. Examples – act naturally, random order, original copy, conspicuous absence, found missing, alone together , criminal justice, old news, peace force, even odds, awful good, student teacher, deafening silence, definite possibility, definite maybe, terribly pleased, ill health, turn up missing, jumbo shrimp, loose tights, small crowd, and clearly misunderstood.
  15. 15.  A figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstraction is endowed with human qualities or abilities. Example-The wind stood up and gave a shout. He whistled on his fingers and kicked the withered leaves about and thumped the branches with his hand. And he said he‟d kill and kill and kill, and so he will, so he will. By James Stephen(The Wind).
  16. 16.  A statement that appears to contradict itself. Examples – “ War is Peace.”, “Freedom is slavery.” , “ Ignorance is strength.” By George Orwell, (1984)
  17. 17.  A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words. Example – A vulture boards a plane, carrying a two dead possums. The attendant looks at him and says, “I‟m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”
  18. 18.  A stated comparison ( usually formed with “like” or “as”) between two fundamentally dissimilar things that have certain qualities in common. Example – “Good coffee is like friendship: rich and warm and strong.” (slogan of Pan-American coffee bureau)
  19. 19.  A figure of speech in which a part is used to represent the whole (for example, ABCs for alphabet) or the whole for a part(“ England won the World Cup in 1966.”) Example – “The sputtering economy could make a difference if you‟re trying to get a deal on a new set of wheels.”
  20. 20.  A figure of speech in which a writer or a speaker deliberately makes a situation seem less important or serious than it is. Example – The grave‟s a fine and a private place, but none, I think, do there embrace.” By Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”