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Figures of Speech.

Figures of Speech.

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The Article on 'Figures of Speech' is dedicated to my daughter: Anjana- a teacher of English and will surely be of interest & use to my other friends who teach English.
You will find why I love the Language and its Literature.
The Article on 'Figures of Speech' is dedicated to my daughter: Anjana- a teacher of English and will surely be of interest & use to my other friends who teach English.
You will find why I love the Language and its Literature.

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Published by: Prof. (Dr.) B. L. Handoo on Jan 25, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Figures of Speech
Figures of speech are departures from the direct way of speaking or writing,intended to explain, emphasize, elucidate or embellish what is being said.They are chiefly used in poetry for the sake of vividness. They are also usedin prose especially in public speeches to give added effect or beauty to what issaid.
The figures of speech may be divided into
Figures based on
Similarity or Likeness.
They are:
(1) Simile(2) Metapho(3) Personification(4) Apostrophe
. Figures based on
Contrast, Difference or Surprise.
They are:
(1) Antithesis(2) Epigram(3) Oxymoron(4) Irony(5) Euphemism(6) Litotes
Figures based on
Association or Substitution.
They are:
(1) Metonymy(2) Synecdoche
Figures based on
Construction or Arrangement
of words. They are:
(1) Interrogation(2) Exclamation(3) Climax(4) Anticlima(5) Hyperbole(6) Transferred Epithe(7) Tautology
Figures based on
. They are:
(1) Pun(2) Alliteration(3) Onomatopoeia
Simile is a figure in which a comparison is made betweenobjects of different kinds, which are alike at least in one point.In this figure words like, as or like are always used.Suresh is as strong as a lion.Helen was like a lovely rose.1
Comparison between two objects of the same kind is not a simile but a simple comparison.
Smith is as clever as Henry.Other Examples:(i) The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold.(ii) He looks as cheerful as a rose.(iii) He roared like a lion.(iv)It stirred the heart as a trumpet.(v)Curses are like chickens: they come home to roost.(vi)He walked about as proud as a peacock.(vii)His eyes were as keen as an eagle’s.(viii)Thy smile is as the dawn of vernal day.(ix)That story is as old as the hills.(2)
Metaphor is a figure of speech in which there is comparisonof one thing with another without the words ‘like or as’. The resemblance isimplied.e.g., (1) Ministers are the pillars of the state.(2) The fairest rose in all Greece was Helen of Troy.e.g. She accepted it as the kind cruelty of the surgeon’s knife.Other Examples:(i ) He is always idly busy.(ii)Parting is such sweet sorrow.(iii)As clear and still she stood, moon-like remotely near.(iv)He is an honourable villain.(v)His honour rooted in dishonour stood. And faith unfaithful kepthim falsely true.(vi)He is a cheerful pessimist, an unwilling volunteer.(vii)A careless shoe-string, in whose tie I see a wild civility.(viii)They were engaged in friendly strife.(ix)Her mother, too, upon this occasion felt a pleasing distress.(x)He is all faults, who hath no fault at all.(3)
In personification inanimate objects and abstractmotions are spoken of as having life and intelligence.Example:1. In Saxon strength that Abhey frowned.2. Laughter holding both her sides.3. Death lays his icy hand on kings.2
(4.) Apostrophe.
An Apostrophe is a direct address to the dead, to theabsent, or to a personified object or idea. This figure is a special form of  personification.Example:(a)Milton! Thou should’st be living at this home.(b)O Friend! I know not which way I must look for, comfort.
II. Based on Contrast, Difference of Surprise
In Antithesis
a striking opposition or contrast of wordsor sentiments is made in the same sentence. It is employed to secure emphasis.Examples:1.Man propeses, God disposes.2.Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of cathay.3.Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.(2)
An Epigram is a brief pointed saying frequently introducing antitheticalideas which excite surprise and arrest attention. Examples:1. The child is father of the man.2. Fools rush in where angles fear to tread.3. Art lies in concealing art.4. He makes no friend, who never made a foe.(3)
Oxymoron is a special form of antithesis, whereby twocontradictory gralities are predicted at once of the same thing.Examples:1. She accepted it as the kind cruelty of the surgeon’s knife.2. So innocent arch, so cunningly simple.(4)
Irony is the use of words, the natural meaning of which is justthe opposite of what is intended to be expressed. By this figure,therefore, we say one thing but mean just the opposite. e.g.,For Brutus is an honourable man;So are they all, all honourable men.3

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