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Friday, December 18, 2015


What are stylistic devices?
In literature and writing, a figure of speech (also called stylistic device or rhetorical device) is the use of any of a variety of techniques to give an auxiliary meaning, idea, or feeling.
Sometimes a word diverges from its normal meaning, or a phrase has a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it. Examples are metaphor, simile, or personification.
Stylistic devices often provide emphasis, freshness of expression, or clarity.
Here is a list of some of the most important figures of speech:
Stylistic Devices

 A figure of speech is just that – figurative language. It might be words with a literal meaning, a certain arrangements of words, or a phrase with a meaning that is something entirely other than that of the words themselves. Figures of speech can be refreshing and fun, but for some – especially those who are not native English speakers – a figure of speech can be very confusing. Here are some of the most common figures of speech and what they mean. 

List of Figure of Speech and Examples



This is a very common figure of speech that involves using words that begin with the same sound. 
For instance, “Sally sells sea shells by the seashore” is alliteration – and try saying it fast to see how difficult it is! It is often used in advertising slogans to create something catchy that more people will remember. 


This figure of speech uses a specific clause at the beginning of each sentence or point to make a statement. 
For instance: “Good night and good luck” is an example of the beginning word being the same. The more it is used, the more of an emotional effect is can evoke among those who are listening. Another example is "Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition!" from King John, II, I by William Shakespeare. 


Remember the phrase “I Like Ike”? It was a very common phase for those who supported Dwight Eisenhower during his presidential run. This is a figure of speech that focuses on the vowel sounds in a phrase, repeating them over and over to great effect. 


“It was as big as a mountain! It was faster than a cheetah! It was dumber than a rock!” This figure of speech makes things seem much bigger than they really were by using grandiose depictions of everyday things. Hyperbole is often seen as an exaggeration that adds a bit of humor to a story. 


This figure of speech tries to use a word in a literal sense that debunks what has just been said. “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” from Dr. Strangelove is a great example. It is often used to poke fun at a situation that everyone else sees as a very serious matter. 
There are different types of irony and here are the details and examples. 


The use of metaphor compares two things that are not alike and finds something about them to make them alike.
“My heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill” from a book by William Sharp is a good example of metaphor. Some writers try to use this style to create something profound out of comparing two things that appear to have nothing at all in common. 


In this figure of speech, two things are compared that are not really the same, but are used to make a point about each other. 
“Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get” is a famous line from the movie Forrest Gump that illustrates the simile. This is often used to make an emotional point about something. The difference between simile and metaphor is that you can obviously see words "like" in the sentence. 


In this figure of speech, one word that has a very similar meaning can be used for another. Using the word “crown” for “royalty” or “lab coats” for “scientists” are two examples. In some ways it can be seen as a nickname for something else; for instance, “The White House said” doesn’t actually mean the White House said it (a house can’t speak!) but that the President said it. However, we all understand the meaning, and so the words are interchangeable. 


This is the use of a word that actually sounds like what it means. Good examples include “hiss” or “ding-dong” or “fizz.” These words are meant to describe something that actually sounds very much like the word itself. This is a trick often used in advertising to help convey what something is really like. 


This figure of speech completely contradicts itself in the same sentence. Famous quotes that illustrate this from George Orwell’s “1984” include: “War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery.” Though we know these things aren’t true, they present an interesting paradox that makes a person think seriously about what they have just read or heard. 


This is a way of giving an inanimate object the qualities of a living thing. “The tree quaked with fear as the wind approached” is an example; “The sun smiled down on her” is another. This can sometimes be used to invoke an emotional response to something by making it more personable, friendly and relatable. 


This play on words uses different senses of the word, or different sounds that make up the word, to create something fun and interesting. For instance: “I would like to go to Holland some day. Wooden shoe?” is a pun that actually means “wouldn’t you?” Sometimes puns are so subtle that they can be tough to pick up unless you are really listening for them. 


This is a figure of speech in which one thing is meant to represent the whole. A few good examples include “ABCs” for alphabet, “new set of wheels” for car, or “9/11” to demonstrate the whole of the tragedy that happened in the United States on September 11, 2001. This is often used in journalism as a type of shorthand. 


This is a situation in which the thing discussed is made to seem much less important than it really is. This famous line from Catcher in the Rye is a good example: “I have to have this operation. It isn’t very serious. I have this tiny tumor on the brain.” Understatement can often be used to comedic effect. 


This is a contradiction that pits two ideas against each other in a balanced way. “You’re easy on the eyes, hard on the heart” is a line from a country song that illustrates this perfectly. This is often used to indicate just how something can be more than one thing at the same time. 


Words that are used to soften the message are often considered euphemisms. “Passed away” is often used in place of “died” or “killed.” A “misunderstanding” might be used in place of “fight” or “argument.” And who could forget “wardrobe malfunction,” which is a fancy way of saying “your clothes fell off.” 


This puts two words together that seem to contradict each other. “Military intelligence,” “real phony,” “civil war,” and “silent yell” are all examples of an oxymoron. Many people use these to promote the humor in a situation. 
A figure of speech is a rhetorical device that achieves a special effect by using words in distinctive ways. Though there are hundreds of figures of speech (many of them included in our Tool Kit for Rhetorical Analysis), here we'll focus on just 20 of the most common figures.
You will probably remember many of these terms from your English classes. Figurative language is often associated with literature--and with poetry in particular.
But the fact is, whether we're conscious of it or not, we use figures of speech every day in our own writing and conversations.
For example, common expressions such as "falling in love," "racking our brains," "hitting a sales target," and "climbing the ladder of success" are all metaphors--the most pervasive figure of all. Likewise, we rely on similes when making explicit comparisons ("light as a feather") and hyperbole to emphasize a point ("I'm starving!").
Using original figures of speech in our writing is a way to convey meanings in fresh, unexpected ways. Figures can help our readers understand and stay interested in what we have to say.

Figure of Speech Examples

A figure of speech is a word or phrase that has a meaning something different than its literal meaning. It can be a metaphor or simile that is designed to further explain a concept. Or, it can be a different way of pronouncing a word or phrase such as with alliteration to give further meaning or a different sound.

Examples of Figures of Speech

Using Alliteration

Alliteration is the repetition of beginning sounds. Examples are:
·         Sally sells seashells.
·         Walter wondered where Winnie was.
·         Blue baby bonnets
·         Nick needed notebooks.
·         Fred fried frogs.

Using Anaphora

Anaphora is a technique where several phrases or verses begin with the same word or words. Examples are:
·         I came, I saw, I conquered - Julius Caesar
·         Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition! King John - William Shakespeare
·         We laughed, we loved, we sang
·         With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, - Abraham Lincoln
·         We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. - Winston Churchill

Using Assonance

Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in words that are close together. Examples are:
·         A - For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore (Poe)
·         E - Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee (Coleridge)
·         I - From what I’ve tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire (Frost)
·         O - Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn (Wordsworth)
·         U - Uncertain rustling of each purple curtain (Poe)

Using a Euphemism

Euphemism is a word or phrase that replaces a word or phrase to make it more polite or pleasant. Examples are:
·         A little thin on top instead of bald
·         Homeless instead of bum
·         Letting him go instead of fired him
·         Passed away instead of died
·         Put to sleep instead of euthanize

Using Hyperbole

Hyperbole uses exaggeration for emphasis or effect. Examples are:
·         I’ve told you a hundred times
·         It cost a billion dollars
·         I could do this forever
·         She is older than dirt
·         Everybody knows that

Using Irony

Irony is using words where the meaning is the opposite of their usual meaning. Examples are:
·         After begging for a cat and finally getting one, she found out she was allergic.
·         A traffic cop gets suspended for not paying his parking tickets.
·         The Titanic was said to be unsinkable.
·         Dramatic irony is knowing the killer is hiding in a closet in a scary movie.
·         Naming a Chihuahua Brutus

Using Metaphor

Metaphor compares two unlike things or ideas. Examples are:
·         Heart of stone
·         Time is money
·         The world is a stage
·         She is a night owl
·         He is an ogre

Using Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like what it is describing. Examples are:
·         Whoosh
·         Splat
·         Buzz
·         Click
·         Oink

Using Oxymoron

Oxymoron is two contradictory terms used together. Examples are:
·         Peace force
·         Kosher ham
·         Jumbo shrimp
·         Small crowd
·         Free market

Using Personification

Personification is giving human qualities to non-living things or ideas. Examples are:
·         The flowers nodded
·         Snowflakes danced
·         Thunder grumbled
·         Fog crept in
·         The wind howled

Using Simile

Simile is a comparison between two unlike things using the words "like" or "as." Examples are:
·         As slippery as an eel
·         Like peas in a pod
·         As blind as a bat
·         Eats like a pig
·         As wise as an owl

Using Synecdoche

Synecdoche is when a part represents the whole or the whole is represented by a part. Examples are:
·         Wheels - a car
·         The police - one policeman
·         Plastic - credit cards
·         Coke - any cola drink
·         Army - a soldier

Using Understatement

Understatement is when something is said to make something appear less important or less serious. Examples are:
·         It's just a scratch - referring to a large dent
·         It is sometimes dry and sandy - referring to the driest desert in the world
·         The weather is a little cooler today - referring to sub-zero temperatures
·         I won’t say it was delicious - referring to terrible food
·         The tsunami caused some damage - referring to a huge tsunami
These examples of figures of speech were selected to show a wide variety of types of words. 

Figures of Speech

·         Adjunction Examples
·         Allegory Examples
·         Alliteration Examples
·         Allusion Examples
·         Anadiplosis Examples
·         Analogy Examples
·         Anaphora Examples
·         Anastrophe Examples
·         Antecedent Examples
·         Anticlimax Examples
·         Antimetabole Examples
·         Antithesis Examples
·         Antonomasia Examples
·         Apostrophes Examples
·         Appositive Examples
·         Assonance Examples
·         Asyndeton Examples
·         Types Of Sentences
·         What Is A Predicate
·         Chiasmus Examples
·         Climax Examples
·         Linking Verbs
·         Prepositional Phrases List
·         Consonance Examples
·         Double Negative Examples
·         Enthymeme Examples
·         Epistrophe Examples
·         Epithet Examples
·         Euphemism Examples
·         False Analogy Examples
·         Funny Metaphors Examples
·         Hyperbole Examples
·         Idiom Examples
·         Imagery Examples
·         Irony Examples
·         Jargon Examples
·         Examples Of Litotes
·         Metaphor Examples
·         Types Of Tenses
·         What Is A Pronoun
·         Metonymy Examples
·         Onomatopoeia Examples
·         Palindrome Examples
·         Paralipsis Examples
·         Types of Clauses
·         Use Of Articles In English
·         Parallelism Examples
·         Parenthesis Examples
·         Personification Examples
·         Polysyndeton Examples
·         Pun Examples
·         Rhetorical Questions Examples
·         Stereotypes Examples
·         Symbolism Examples
·         Synecdoche Examples
·         Tautology Examples
·         Understatement Examples
·         Verbal Irony Examples
·         Zeugma Examples
·         What Are Adjectives
·         Simile Examples
·         Oxymoron Examples
·         Abstract Nouns Examples
·         Commonly Misspelled Words
·         Types Of Verbs
·         Usage Of Semicolon
·         Demonstrative Adjectives
·         When To Use A Comma
·         When To Use A Hyphen
·         Comma Splice Examples
·         Usage Of Colon
·         Apostrophe Usage
·         Helping Verbs
·         List of Prepositions
·         Parts Of Speech
·         What Are Prepositions
·         What Is A Noun
·         Whom Vs Who
·         Types Of Adjectives
·         What Are Adverbs
·         Ensure Vs Insure
·         Empathy Vs Sympathy
·         Degrees Of Comparison
·         Dangling Modifiers
·         Compliment Vs Complement
·         Common Homophones List
·         Common Grammatical Errors
·         Colon Vs Semicolon
·         Affect Vs Effect
·         Passive Voice And Active Voice
·         Subject Verb Agreement Rules
A person can only be a good writer or a good speaker when he or she is familiar with the figures of speech. A certain level of familiarity with the figures of speech can actually help a person get to the level of an expert, the kind of whiz who is maven in the use of the English language. It does not take much to write a piece of text or deliver a speech. However, it takes quite a lot to be creative while still sticking to the rules. The figures of speech, as far as the English language is concerned, are all about rules. Sticking to them will only help you be a better writer or an orator. If you have always been craving to gain efficiency in English language and familiarize yourself with the figures of speech, here is your chance. Read on to discover valuable information on it. Although what is to come your way is a list of sorts, it is nevertheless a comprehensive one and could be put to good use.

List of Figures Of Speech

Personification is all about adding a human trait to an inanimate object or an abstraction.
For example: The picture in that magazine shouted for attention.

A simile is a figure of speech that compares two unrelated things or ideas using "like" or "as" to accentuate a certain feature of an object by comparing it to a dissimilar object that is a typical example of that particular trait.
For example: as big as a bus, as clear as a bell, as dry as a bone, etc.

An analogy is a figure of speech that equates two things to explain something unfamiliar by highlighting its similarities to something that is familiar. This figure of speech is commonly used in spoken and written English.
For example: Questions and answers, crying and laughing, etc.

A metaphor compares two different or unrelated things to reveal certain new qualities in the subject, which you might have ignored or overlooked otherwise.
For example: The streets of Chennai are a furnace.

Alliteration is the duplication of a specific consonant sound at the start of each word and in quick succession. Although alliterations are all about consonant sounds, exceptions can be made, when vowels sounds are also repeated. This figure of speech is commonly seen in poems.
For example: "Guinness is good for you" - Tagline for Guinness

A far-fetched, over exaggerated description or sentence is called as hyperbole and is commonly used in jokes and making backhanded compliments.
For example: When she smiles, her cheeks fall off.

This figure of speech is partly pleasure and partly business. It is used to replicate sounds created by objects, actions, animals and people.
For example: Cock-a-doodle-do, quack, moo, etc.

Imagery is a figure of speech, which employs words to create mental images in the mind of the reader. It is a powerful tool and mostly used by poets, lyricists and authors. For example: "Cloudless everyday you fall upon my waking eyes inviting and inciting me to rise, And through the window in the wall, Come streaming in on sunlight wings, A million bright ambassadors of morning." - A portion of the lyrics to the song 'Echoes' by the band Pink Floyd

Symbol refers to the use of an object or symbol to represent or indicate something else.
For example: The symbolism of a red rose (love), the symbolism of a white flag (peace), etc.

A pun is a figure of speech that plays with words to give away obscured meanings. A pun is also known as paronomasia.
For example: My son wanted a scooter. When I told him they are too dangerous, he moped around the house.

An allegory is nothing but an improvised metaphor. It is a figure of speech, which involves the use of characters or actions in a piece of literature, wherein the characters have more to them than meets the eye.
For example: The Trojan Women by Euripides,
Aesop's Fables by Aesop.

Tautology is needless repetition of words to denote the same thing.
For example: CD-ROM disk, PIN number, ATM machine, etc.

A palindrome is a series of numbers, words or phrases that reads the same in either direction.
For example: Malayalam, A Toyota's a Toyota, etc.

Euphemism is a figure of speech where an offensive word or expression is replaced with a polite word.
For example: David: Do you have a few minutes?
Ryan: No, I'm busy.
David: Ok, listen...
Ryan: No, you listen, when I said 'busy', I meant leave me the hell alone.

Assonance is a repetition of the vowel sounds. Such a figure of speech is found most commonly in short sentences or verses.
For example: And murmuring of innumerable bees.

An idiom is a phrase, expression or group of words whose implication is not clear when you go by the literal meaning of words.
For example: As easy as pie, at the eleventh hour, pull someone's leg, etc.

Funny Metaphors
Funny metaphors are metaphors that ring aloud with humor.
For example: That's like trying to thread a needle with a haystack.

An allusion is an indirect or subtle reference made about a person, place or thing in a work of literature.
For example: I am no Prince Hamlet.

An antecedent, in grammar, is a word, a phrase, or a clause that is usually replaced by a pronoun in a sentence, but regularly so in a following sentence.
For example: When I arrived to meet Caleb, he wasn't to be seen.

Jargon is the kind of language that is specific to a particular trade, occupation, professionals or group of people.
For example: I need your vitals.

Double Negative
A double negative is a figure of speech that occurs when two negative words or two forms of negation are used in one sentence.
For example: I won't not use no ladder to climb the building.

An adjunction is a phrase or a clause that is placed at the start of a sentence. An adjunction, in most cases, is a verb.
For example: Runs the leopard past us as we stray deeper into his territory.

An antithesis is a figure of speech where two very opposing lines of thought or ideas are placed in a somewhat balanced sentenced.
For example: Man proposes: God disposes.

An apostrophe is used when a person who is absent or nonexistent is spoken to.
For example: "Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky."

In a climax, the words are placed in an ascending order, depending on their significance. These words generally revolve around a central theme and are arranged in an increasing order to create a strong impression on the mind of the reader.
For example: "There are three things that will endure: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." - 1 Corinthians 13:13

A metonymy is a figure of speech where one word or phrase is used in place of another. With metonymies, a name of a particular thing is substituted with the name of a thing that is closely related to it.
For example: "We have always remained loyal to the crown."

Oxymoron involves the usage of contradictory terms to describe an object, situation or incident.
For example: open secret, tragic comedy, exact estimate, original copies, etc.

This is figure of speech where a part of a particular object is employed to throw light on the whole thing.
For example: Describing a whole vehicle as just "wheels".

A stereotype, as far as the figures of speech are concerned, is a convention, a predisposition or a set approach to any particular issue.
For example: All blondes are dumb.

An anastrophe refers to an inversion or rearrangement of a group of words that usually appear in a certain order.
For example: Gold that glitters is not all that not. (All that glitters is gold)

An anaphora is an expression, which refers to another and can be ambiguous.
For example: The tiger ate the snake and it died. Longfellow

This figure of speech uses the name of a person on another person or persons possessing characteristics that are similar to the characteristics of the former.
For example: He was the Adolf Hitler of the school.

Litotes are nothing but an understatement. It can be used when you are looking to underplay a positive with a negative.
For example: The food at that restaurant is not bad at all.

A paralipsis is a figure of speech that focuses on any particular thing without really making it obvious.
For example: I know who ate the last apple, but I will not mention Karen's name.

Rhetoric in writing refers to an unexplained and undue use of exaggeration.
For example: When I reached the peak of the mountain, I stretched out my hands, touched heaven and took a quick look at the Almighty!

Zeugma refers to the employment of a word to bridge two or more words, but here the word makes sense to one word or all words in dissimilar ways.
For example: She lowered her standards by raising her glass, her courage, her eyes and his hopes.

An anticlimax as a figure speech refers to the building up a climax that results in something that cannot really be described as a climax.
For example: On discovering that his friend was murdered, with vengeance on his mind Ravi rushed back to his college, only to find his friend sipping on coffee in the college canteen.

Consonance refers to the repetition of consonant sounds, within the limits of a sentence or a certain number of sentences.
For example: "Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here. To watch his woods fill up with snow." - Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Irony is used to stress on the opposite meaning of a word. When people are looking to be sarcastic, they employ irony.
For example: He was so intelligent, that he failed all his tests.

Polysyndeton refers to that figure of speech which makes good use of conjunctions and in close succession.
For example: He ran and jumped and laughed for joy.

Rhetorical Question
A rhetorical question is a question wherein the answer is more than obvious.
For example: A person enters a dark room and asks out loud - 'Has someone turned off the lights?'

Anadiplosis refers to the repetition of a significant word in a sentence in the second part of the same sentence, usually with a slight change in its meaning or an exaggerated word for the same.
For example: "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." -Yoda, Star Wars

Appositive is a word or phrase that is used in juxtaposing related issues.
For example, Jeanne, Diane's eleven-year-old beagle, chews holes in the living room carpeting as if he were still a puppy.

An enthymeme is a figure of speech where an argument that is being made has no definite conclusion or is not completely expressed.
For example, "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good."

In the English language, parallelism refers to balance created between two or more similar words and sentences.
For example, I like rich desserts, fast card-games, and difficult riddles.

This is a figure of speech that conveniently ignores the use of conjunctions.
For example, She has provided with a chance to earn a living, with self-respect, with satisfaction.

Parenthesis refers to a self explanatory and contradicting word or sentence that breaks the flow in a series of sentences, often without affecting the flow in an obvious manner. Commas and dashes are employed when a parenthesis is used.
For example, Would you, Kris, listen to me?

An antimetabole is a figure of speech, where the second half of a sentence, phrase or series is in the exact opposite order of the first part.
For example, E,F,G - G,F,E

Epistrophe or epiphora is the repetition of the same word or words at the end of consecutive phrases, clauses or sentences. It is extremely emphatic and is usually employed to stress the last word in a phrase or sentence.
For example, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny compared to what lies within us." -Emerson

Understatement is a figure of speech that is used to undermine the due importance of a statement.
For example, "A soiled baby, with a neglected nose, cannot be conscientiously regarded as a thing of beauty." - (Mark Twain)

hiasmus is another important figure of speech wherein two or more clauses are joined together through a reversing the syntax to convey a bigger point.
For example, "I flee who chases me, and chase who flees me." - (Ovid)

An epithet can be best defined as a descriptive title that commonly involves a word or a phrase that is used in lieu of the real name.
For example: Alexander the Great.

Verbal Irony
Verbal irony is one of the most commonly employed tropes in literature that is pregnant with hidden connotations and usually has more to eat than meets the eye. It usually denotes the opposite of what is expressed.
For example: "Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man." - Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

False Analogy
An elaborate comparison of two dissimilar things is called false analogy.
http://www.enkivillage.com/s/upload/images/2015/07/b0bbe26c3b1961d38c7731ac8d501688.pngFor example: There has to be life on other planets because as of today no one has been able to conclusively prove that there is no life.

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