7/31/2007

(It Figures) of Speech

Oh, No!
Not another "educational" post!

In a post a couple of years ago I was discussing tips for writing by offering my own methods. I mentioned that I try to use figures of speech as much as possible. I listed a few that I try to use while also noting that there were others I might use without knowing I had used them. One person commented that she would have to look some of them up if she were to try to use them.

....That got me to thinking that I should provide a list of them and give an example(s) of each. While such a list can be useful to others, it will be helpful to me as well. Perhaps I will reacquaint myself with them. Also by posting a list of them, it will be here in the archives to refer to from time to time. There are some that I really am not familiar with, let alone use them. A definition is one thing, but by including an example of each, the list may prove useful for anyone so interested.

(a) Simile - a comparison of two things by using like or as: "White as chalk." "A baby's feet, like sea-shells pink" "Quick as lightning"

(b) Metaphor - unlike a simile, a metaphor does not use like or as, but instead makes an implied or direct comparison: "A tower of strength" "Hours and minutes are dollars and cents"

(c) Personification - inanimate things are given human attributes: "the hands of time" "The ball screamed when hit by the bat." "the flowers danced"

(d) Alliteration - the use of a succession of words with the same initial letter: "fine feathered friends" "babbling brook" "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers"

(e) Onamatopeia - the use of words or a phrase to imitate the sound of something: "the buzz,buzz of bees" "Bow Wow!" "Rat a tat"

(f) Euphemism - a mild expression used in the place of an unpleasant statement: "He passed away" (instead of He died) "fender bender" (instead of accident)

(g) Epithet - descriptive word or phrase used for an important meaning or a vivid picture; there are two kinds of epithets:

Essential - names or qualities that are always associated with thing described: "green grass" "blue skies"

Conventional - adjectives that become associated with certain names: "Honest Abe" "Doubting Thomas"
(h) Epigram - short forceful expression that implies just the opposite: "The silence was audible."

(i) Interrogation - phrase that asks a question with an implied negative answer: "Am I a dog?" "What am I chopped liver?"

(j) Antithesis - a contrast of opposite terms or ideas: "Rich and poor" "Hot and cold"

(k) Irony - expression stating the opposite of what is meant: From Julius Caesar, Marc Antony's "..And they are honorable men."

(l) Allusion - a reference is made made of something to which reader is familiar: "A Napoleon of finance" "A Daniel come to judgment."

(m) Assonance - a recurrence of the same vowel sound in a group of words: "Hark! Hark! The lark!"

(n) Synecdoche - figure where part of an object is used to signify the whole, or vice versa: "A thousand hands waved farewell." "The city welcomed the returning soldiers."

(o) Metonymy - figure by which the cause is put before the cause, or vice versa: "Gray hairs should be respected." "He was the sigh of his mother's soul."

(p) Litotes - figure by which a strong affirmative is expressed by a negative to the contrary: "The storm of no small force drove our vessel before it." "a citizen of no mean city."

(q) Climax - arrangement of words in ascending order of importance, with strongest expression last in order: "I know it, I concede it, I confess it, I proclaim it!" "Veni, Vidi, Vici!" (I came, I saw, I conquered.)

(r) Hyperbole - an exaggeration to gather attention: "Every word that Webster used weighed a pound."

(s) Apostrophe - expression that turns aside usual order of words addressing an object: "O Grave! Where is thy victory?" "O Death! Where is thy sting?"

(t) Vision - similar to an apostrophe, but less forceful, describing a scene, object or event as if it were in view: "I see before me the gladiator lie."

(u) Euphony - pleasing effects of sounds produced by combining words in sentences or of phonetic elements of spoken words: "The bells of Shandon that sound so grand on/ The Pleasant waters of the river Lee."

For Litotes, Hyperbole and Euphony, I had to do a search to find sentences. I don't know if I ever have used, ever tried to use, or ever thought about using either one of these three figures of speech.

Armed with these, you are primed to write!

No.51

4 comments:

Serena Joy said...

Good post, Mike! Great stuff to know.

Hale McKay said...

I find that I have used some of these at times and didn't realize it. Do authors say..."I think I'll put in a Hyperbole here .. an allusion here ... some assonance there ...and how about a little metonymy for good measure in chapter three?"

I do, don't we all? LOL!

Serena Joy said...

I personally will use anything that works. Especially when I need filler for purposes of upping word count. LOL.

jimh said...

I find that I use hyperbole at least once every twenty minutes.