Term
Examples
Apostrophea poetic device in which the narrator is adressing or directing their message towards an inatimate object, an abstractidea, someone who is dead, or someone who is physically not present.
  • The Sun Rising
    by
    John Donne
Busy old fool, unruly sun,
  • Why dost thou thus,
  • Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
Apostrophe to the Apostrophe
oh apostrophe! How lovely thou art
  • you bring conjunctions to all
and honour myself
with the ownage of others.
one cannot fathom
how horrid it would be
without can't
AlliterationThe repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of two or more words
  • Some ketchup was caught in her sleeve
  • Don't delay dawns disarming display .
    Dusk demands daylight .
    Dewdrops dwell delicately
    drawing dazzling delight .
    Dewdrops dilute daisies domain.
    Distinguished debutantes . Diamonds defray delivered
    daylights distilled daisy dance .
  • Those tidal thoroughbreds that tango through the turquoise tide.

    Their taut tails thrashing they twist in tribute
    to the titans.

    They twirl through the trek
    tumbling towards the tide .

    Throwing themselves towards those theatrical thespians
Allusiona reference, usually indirect, to something in history or in literature.
  • "All roads lead to Rome"
  • Theirs was a love worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy.
AntithesisWords and phrases with an opposite meaning which are juxtaposed in a parallel phrase or grammatical structure, it usually changes the concept or flips around a repeated word.
  • "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." (A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)
  • " To be or not to be that is the question" (William Shakespeare)
  • "One for all and all for one" (Alexandre Dumas)
Assonance the deliberate repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds
    • I find the sky most pleasing to my eye
    • Hear the mellow wedding bells. (Edgar Allen Poe "The Bells"
    • Dead in the middle of little Italy, little did we know that we riddled two middle men who didn't do diddily." (Big Pun)
    • on a proud round cloud in a white highnight (E.E. Cummings if a cheerrulest Elephantangelchild should sit)
Consonancea stylistic device, often used in poetry characterized by the repetition of two or more consonants using different vowels. Much like alliteration uses the first letter, consonance can be anywhere in the word.
  • 'Rap rejects my tape deck, ejectsprojectile/Whether jew or gentile I rank top percentile.'
  • "All mammals named Sam are clammy"
  • A mime imitated my mannerisms
Euphemismthe substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant; to make it less troublesome for the speaker,or to obscure the identity of the subject of a conversation from potential eavesdroppers. Some euphemisms are intended to be funny.
    • We are experiencing heavy casualties (many soldiers are being killed)
    • There is a logjam in the river (constipation)
    • Downsizing, rightsizing or laying off (getting rid of employees)
    • Praying to the porcelain altar (vomiting into the toilet)
    • If something happens to me (if i die)
    • Sanitation Worker (trash collector)
    • "Fudge!" screamed the man as he hit his thumb with the hammer.
    • The man was differently-abled than his peers.
    • Thomas made his way to the restroom.
HyperboleAn exaggeration. A hyperbole is used to make emphasis on a reaction or feelings in a figure of speech. The intended meaning is taken figuratively, rather than literally.
  • "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse."
  • "I've already tried this 10 million times!"
    • "I was literally forced to work with two hands tied to my back."
    • "I had to literally fight for a new job"
MetaphorA metaphor is a comparison between two things that are not usually alike, but share some distinct characteristics. When using a metaphor to compare two things, one does not use "like" or "as", but instead, you state that it is something else.
  • Cindy was such a mule. We couldn’t get her to change her mind.
  • Brian was a wall, bouncing every tennis ball back over the net
  • We would have had more pizza to eat if Tammy hadn’t been such a hog.
Metonymyis the use of a word for a concept or object which is associated with the concept/object originally denoted by the word.
  • The ship ploughed through the sea
  • The White House Called (it is not PHYSICALLY the house calling but it is associated with it)
Onomatopoeia is a word or a grouping of words that imitates the sound it is describing
  • "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is."
Oxymorona figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms


open secret
pretty ugly
tragic comedy
jumbo shrimp


A wealthy peasant marches
Weakly across a blazing glacier
As the stars in the cloudy sky
Glisten grimly.
Paradoxa statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth (ie. I never lie)
  • "War is peace."
    "Freedom is slavery."
    "Ignorance is strength."
    "Time stood still"
  • "The child is the father of the man"
  • "More haste, less speed"
  • "Standing still is more tiring than walking"
  • Express your feelings, but don't show your emotionsDislike, but don't hateFear, but dont be afraid of anythingSpeak what's on your mind, but dont move your lipsWait, but don't waist your timeCommit, but don't fall in love...
Personificationa type of figurative language that gives human qualities, such as emotions, desires, sensations, physical gestures and speech to things that aren't human
  • The flowers were suffering from the intense heat.
  • The leaves danced in the wind.
  • This web browser really loves to crash.
  • The wind whispered to them as they walked through the woods.
  • The Night was epressing, as the moon cried
  • The clouds took over the sky, as the flowers began to cry
  • The flowers began dancing, as the hidden sun arose once more
SimileSimile is a figure of speech Comparing two things using the words "like" or "as" or "than"
  • The moon ached like a puffy wound.
  • She was larger than a house.
  • Her hair was like gravy, running brown off her head and clumping up on her shoulders
Synecdoche
figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole(as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword).

  • 'All hands on deck' is an example in which 'hands' is used to mean 'people'.
  • There are so many mouths to feed in this world
  • The hickory sent the baseball flying into the outfield.


Last modified at 12/4/2008 10:50 AM by 125S-Ashton, Andreaexternal image blank.gif
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