Figures of Speech

Topics: Figure of speech, Rhetoric, Rhetorical question Pages: 6 (1232 words) Published: October 11, 2012
Figures of Speech


A. Simile - A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two different things, usually by employing the words "like" or "as".

1) They fought like cats and dogs.
2) She is as thin as a toothpick.
3) Geoff is handsome as a prince.

B. Metaphor - A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels."

1) Life is a dream in the night, a fear among fears.
2) Life is a highway and its milestones are the years.
3) Life is our dictionary.

C. Personification - A trope or figure of speech (generally considered a type ofmetaphor) in which an inanimate object or abstraction is given human qualities or abilities.

1) The stars danced playfully in the moonlit sky.
2) The sun glared down at me from the sky.
3) The tornado ran through town without a care.

D. Apostrophe - A figure of speech in which some absent or nonexistent person or thing is addressed as if present and capable of understanding.

1) "Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art" 
2) "Science! True daughter of Old Time thou art!"
3) "Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race. . . . Old father old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead." 

E. Allusion - An allusion is a figure of speech that makes a reference to, or representation of, people, places, events, literary work, myths, or works of art, either directly or by implication.

1) She was breathtakingly beautiful, but he knew that she was forbidden fruit. 2) She transformed her backyard to look like the Garden of Eden. 3) His wife was his Achilles' heel.

F. Antonomasia - A rhetorical term for the substitution of a title, epithet, or descriptive phrase for a proper name (or of a personal name for a common name) to designate a member of a group or class.

1) The King of Pop- Michael Jackson
2) The Bard - William Shakespeare
3) The Dark Knight – Batman


A. Hyperbole - A figure of speech (a form of irony) in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect; an extravagant statement.

1) Our new school is large enough to have its own zip code.
2) I told you a thousand times!
3) I am so tired I could sleep for a year.

B. Meiosis - In rhetoric, meiosis is a euphemistic figure of speech that intentionally understates something or implies that it is lesser in significance or size than it really is.

1) Abraham answered [God] and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.
2) It isn't very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain.". 3) "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

C. Litotes - In rhetoric, litotes is a figure of speech in which understatement is employed for rhetorical effect when an idea is expressed by a denial of its opposite, principally via double negatives.

1) "The grave's a fine a private place, But none, I think, do there embrace." 2) "For life's not a paragraph, And death I think is no parenthesis" 3) "Keep an eye on your mother whom we both know
doesn't have both oars in the water."

D. Repetition - Repetition is an effective literary device that may suggest order, or add special meaning to a piece of literature or poetry. The repeating of words, phrases, lines, or stanzas.

1) I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody too?
Then there's a pair of us-don't tell!
They'd banish us you know.

2) Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn...

3)I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.

E. Rhetorical Question - A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a...
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