Figure of speech
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"Figures of speech" redirects here. For the hip hop group, see Figures of Speech. A figure of speech is the use of a word or words diverging from its usual meaning. It can also be a special repetition, arrangement or omission of words with literal meaning, or a phrase with a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it, as in idiom, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, or personification. Figures of speech often provide emphasis, freshness of expression, or clarity. However, clarity may also suffer from their use, as any figure of speech introduces an ambiguity between literal and figurative interpretation. A figure of speech is sometimes called a rhetorical figure or a locution. Not all theories of meaning have a concept of "literal language" (see literal and figurative language). Under theories that do not, figure of speech is not an entirely coherent concept. Rhetoric originated as the study of the ways in which a source text can be transformed to suit the goals of the person reusing the material. For this goal, classical rhetoric detected four fundamental operations that can be used to transform a sentence or a larger portion of a text: expansion, abridgement, switching, and transferring.
The figure of speech comes in many varieties. The aim is to use the language inventively to accentuate the effect of what is being said. A few examples follow: * "Round the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran" is an example of alliteration, where the consonant r is used repeatedly. Whereas, "Sister Suzy sewing socks for soldiers" is a particular form of alliteration called sibilance, because it repeats the letter s. Both are commonly used in poetry. * "She would run up the stairs and then a new set of curtains" is a variety of zeugma called a syllepsis. Run up refers to ascending and also to manufacturing. The effect is enhanced by the momentary suggestion, through a pun, that she might be climbing up the curtains. The ellipsis or omission of the second use of the verb makes the reader think harder about what is being said. * "Military Intelligence is an oxymoron" is the use of direct sarcasm to suggest that the military would have no intelligence. This might be considered to be a satire and a terse aphorism. "But he's a soldier, so he has to be an Einstein" is the use of sarcasm through irony for the same effect. The use of hyperbole by using the word Einstein calls attention to the ironic intent. An Einstein is an example of synechdoche, as it uses a particular name to represent a class of people: geniuses. * "I had butterflies in my stomach" is a metaphor, referring to my nervousness feeling as if there were flying insects in my stomach. To say "it was like having some butterflies in my stomach" would be a simile, because it uses the word like which is missing in the metaphor.
Main article: Trope (linguistics)
* allegory: Extended metaphor in which a story is told to illustrate an important attribute of the subject * alliteration: Repetition of the first consonant sound in a phrase. * allusion: Indirect reference to another work of literature or art * anacoenosis: Posing a question to an audience, often with the implication that it shares a common interest with the speaker * antanaclasis: A form of pun in which a word is repeated in two different senses * anthimeria: Substitution of one part of speech for another, often turning a noun into a verb * anthropomorphism: Ascribing human characteristics to something that is not human, such as an animal or a god (see zoomorphism) * antimetabole: Repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed grammatical order * antiphrasis: Word or words used contradictory to their usual meaning, often with irony * antonomasia: Substitution of a...