Saturday, February 14, 2009

Figure of speech

Top 20 Figures of Speech
1. Alliteration
Repetition of an initial consonant sound.

2. Anaphora
Repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or verses.

3. Antithesis
The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases.

4. Apostrophe
Breaking off discourse to address some absent person or thing, some abstract quality, an inanimate object, or a nonexistent character.

5. Assonance
Identity or similarity in sound between internal vowels in neighboring words.

6. Chiasmus
A verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first but with the parts reversed.

7. Euphemism
The substitution of an inoffensive term for one considered offensively explicit.

8. Hyperbole
An extravagant statement; the use of exaggerated terms for the purpose of emphasis or heightened effect.

9. Irony
The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning. A statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea.

10. Litotes
A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite.

11. Metaphor
An implied comparison between two unlike things that actually have something important in common.

12. Metonymy
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. Onomatopoeia
The formation or use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.

14. Oxymoron
A figure of speech in which incongruous or contradictory terms appear side by side.

15. Paradox
A statement that appears to contradict itself.

16. Personification
A figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstraction is endowed with human qualities or abilities.

17. Pun
A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words.

18. Simile
A stated comparison (usually formed with "like" or "as") between two fundamentally dissimilar things that have certain qualities in common.

19. Synechdoche
A figure of speech is which a part is used to represent the whole, the whole for a part, the specific for the general, the general for the specific, or the material for the thing made from it.

20. Understatement
A figure of speech in which a writer or a speaker deliberately makes a situation seem less important or serious than it is.


1. Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor--
(Langston Highes, "Mother to Son")
(a) synecdoche
(b) metaphor
(c) irony
(d) pun

2. substituting the word “euthanasia” for “mercy killing" or "killing the terminally ill"
(a) hyperbole
(b) euphemism
(c) assonance
(d) oxymoron

3. I had so much homework last night that I needed a pickup truck to carry all my books home!
(a) synechdoche
(b) onomatopoeia
(c) pun
(d) hyperbole

4. The chug-a, chug-a, chug-a of the train echoed down the hill, while a cloud of smoke rose up to the blue western sky.
(a) simile
(b) metonymy
(c) anaphora
(d) onomatopoeia

5. O Western wind, when wilt thou blow
That the small rain down can rain?
Christ, that my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!
(Anonymous, "O Western Wind")
(a) litotes
(b) paradox
(c) apostrophe
(d) anaphora

6. We talked with each other about each other
Though neither of us spoke —
(Emily Dickinson)
(a) metonymy
(b) paradox
(c) synecdoche
(d) personification
7. The earth laughs beneath my heavy feet
At the blasphemy in my old jangly walk
(Billy Corgan, "Thirty-three")
(a) euphemism
(b) simile
(c) antithesis
(d) personification

8. I dig my toes into the sand.
The ocean looks like
A thousand diamonds strewn
Across a blue blanket.
(Incubus, "Wish You Were Here")
(a) chiasmus
(b) simile
(c) onomatopoeia
(d) synecdoche

9. And he was rich, yes, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine--we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked and waited for the light,
And went without the meat and cursed the bread,
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet in his head.
(E. A. Robinson, "Richard Cory")
(a) chiasmus
(b) litotes
(c) antithesis
(d) irony

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