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The Top 20 Figures 1. Alliteration The repetition of an initial consonant sound.

Freds friends fried Fritos for Fridays food. Jesses jaguar is jumping and jiggling jauntily. 2. Anaphora The repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or verses. (Contrast with epiphora and epistrophe.) Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth Five years have passed; Five summers, with the length of Five long winters! and again I hear these waters... Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare "And do you now put on your best attire? And do you now cull out a holiday? And do you now strew flowers in his way That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood? Be gone!" 3. Antithesis The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases. "Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing." (Goethe) "You're easy on the eyes Hard on the heart." (Terri Clark) 4. Apostrophe Breaking off discourse to address some absent person or thing, some abstract quality, an inanimate object, or a nonexistent character. "Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky." (Jane Taylor, "The Star," 1806) "Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone Without a dream in my heart Without a love of my own." (Lorenz Hart, "Blue Moon") 5. Assonance Identity or similarity in sound between internal vowels in neighboring words. Poetry is old, ancient, goes back far. It is among the oldest of living things. So old it is that no man knows how and why the first poems came. And stepping softly with her air of blooded ruin about the glade in a frail agony of grace she trailed her rags through dust and ashes, circling the dead fire, the charred billets and chalk bones, the little calcined ribcage. 6. Chiasmus A verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first but with the parts reversed.

Types: Implied - Here, the original phrase/saying being inverted is only implied and there is no explicit reference to its alteration. Example: "A hard man is good to find." - Mae West (Reversing, a good man is hard to find). Double - The most impressive form of chiasmus when more than two reversals occur in the same sentence. Example: A statesman is a politician who places himself at the service of the nation. (Or, a politician is astatesman who places the nation at his service). Phonetic - The syllables of different words may contribute to the existence of a chiasmus. Example: "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." - Winston Churchill. Letter Reversal - Chiasmus can also be created while inverting individual letters of words, instead of terms themselves. Example: A magician pulls rabbits out of hats. (Instead of, an experimental psychologist pullshabits out of rats). Numerical Reversal - Even reversal of numbers, as contrary to alphabets, can be calculated as a chiasmus. Example: "A lawyer starts life giving $500 worth of law for $5 and ends giving $5 worth for $500." Phrase Reversal - Here, a certain phrase, instead of single words, is reversed and emphasized on to make a point. Example: "Lust is what makes you keep wanting to do it, Even when you have no desire to be with each other. Love is what makes you keep wanting to be with each other, Even when you have no desire to do it." - Judith Viorst. Do I love you because you're beautiful? Or are you beautiful because I love you? - Oscar Hammerstein. 7. Euphemism The substitution of an inoffensive term for one considered offensively explicit. To Soften an Expression Examples of euphemisms that fall into this category include: Passed away instead of died Correctional facility instead of jail Departed instead of died Differently-abled instead of handicapped or disabled Fell off the back of a truck instead of stolen Ethnic cleansing instead of genocide Turn a trick instead of engage in prostitution Negative patient outcome instead of dead Relocation center instead of prison camp Collateral damage instead of accidental deaths Letting someone go instead of firing someone Put to sleep instead of euthanize Pregnancy termination instead of abortion On the streets instead of homeless To Be Polite Examples of euphemisms that fall into this category include: Adult entertainment instead of pornography Adult beverages instead of beer or liquor Au natural instead of naked Big-boned instead of heavy or overweight Portly instead of heavy or overweight Chronologically-challenged instead of late Comfort woman instead of prostitute Use the rest room instead of go to the bathroom Break wind instead of pass gas Economical with the truth instead of liar Powder your nose instead of use the rest room

The birds and the bees instead of sex Between jobs instead of unemployed Go all the way instead of have sex Domestic engineer instead of maid Sanitation engineer instead of garbage man Vertically-challenged instead of short Sleep together instead of have sex Euphemisms to be Impolite Examples include: Batting for the other side instead of homosexual Bit the big one instead of died Bit the farm instead of died Cement shoes instead of dead Bit the dust instead of died Croaked instead of dead Kick the bucket instead of die Blow chunks instead of vomited Hide the sausage instead of sex Making whoopee instead of sex Well-hung instead of having a large penis 8. Hyperbole An extravagant statement; the use of exaggerated terms for the purpose of emphasis or heightened effect.

Ive told you a million times It was so cold, I saw polar bears wearing jackets She is so dumb, she thinks Taco Bell is a Mexican phone company I am so hungry I could eat a horse. I have a million things to do. I had to walk 15 miles to school in the snow, uphill. I had a ton of homework. If I cant buy that new game, I will die. He is as skinny as a toothpick. This car goes faster than the speed of light. That new car costs a bazillion dollars. We are so poor; we dont have two cents to rub together. That joke is so old, the last time I heard it I was riding on a dinosaur. They ran like greased lightning. He's got tons of money. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Her brain is the size of a pea. He is older than the hills. 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. A man who is a traffic cop gets his license suspended for unpaid parking tickets. The Titanic was promoted as being 100% unsinkable; but, in 1912 the ship sank on its maiden voyage. A professor never answers questions and does not explain key concepts of the course; however he expects students to come to class after having read their assignment, ready to answer the professor's questions.

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

They aren't the happiest couple around. He's not the ugliest fellow around! She's not the brightest girl in the class. The food is not bad. It is no ordinary city. That sword was not useless to the warrior now. He was not unfamiliar with the works of Dickens. She is not as young as she was. You are not wrong. Einstein is not a bad mathematician. Heat waves are not rare in the summer. It won't be easy to find crocodiles in the dark.

11. Metaphor An implied comparison between two unlike things that actually have something important in common. How and where does one come across a sea that is filled not with water, but with grief? He is the apple of my eye Time is a thief 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.

Crown - in place of a royal person The White House - in place of the President or others who work there The suits - in place of business people Dish - for an entire plate of food Cup - for a mug The Pentagon - to refer to the staff The restaurant - to refer to the staff Ears - for giving attention ("Lend me your ears!" from Mark Antony inJulius Caesar) Eyes - for sight The library - for the staff or the books Pen - for the written word 13. Onomatopoeia The use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to. water plops into pond splish-splash downhill warbling magpies in tree trilling, melodic thrill 14. Oxymoron A figure of speech in which incongruous or contradictory terms appear side by side.

Great Depression Jumbo shrimp

Cruel to be kind Pain for pleasure Clearly confused Act naturally Beautifully painful Painfully beautiful Deafening silence Pretty ugly Pretty fierce Pretty cruel Definitely maybe Living dead Walking dead 15. Paradox A statement that appears to contradict itself.

You can save money by spending it. I'm nobody. "What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young." - George Bernard Shaw Wise fool Bittersweet "I can resist anything but temptation."-Oscar Wilde I'm a compulsive liar- am I lying when I say that? A rich man is no richer than a poor man. Nobody goes to that restaurant because it is too crowded. You shouldn't go in the water until you know how to swim. If you didn't get this message, call me. The person who wrote something so stupid can't write at all Men work together whether they work together or apart. - Robert Frost Be cruel to be kind The beginning of the end Drowning in the fountain of eternal life Deep down, you're really shallow. 16. Personification A figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstraction is endowed with human qualities or abilities. The stars danced playfully in the moonlit sky. The run down house appeared depressed. The first rays of morning tiptoed through the meadow. She did not realize that opportunity was knocking at her door. He did not realize that his last chance was walking out the door. The bees played hide and seek with the flowers as they buzzed from one to another. The wind howled its mighty objection. 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. "Why can a man never starve in the Great Desert? Because he can eat the sand which is there." "War does not determine who is right - only who is left."

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

cute as a kitten, comparing the way someone looks to the way a kitten looks as busy as a bee comparing someones level of energy to a fast-flying bee "as snug as a bug in a rug" comparing someone who is very cozy to how comfortable a bug can be in a rug "as happy as a clam" comparing someone's happiness to the contentment 19. Synecdoche A figure of speech in which a part is used to represent the whole (for example, ABCs foralphabet) or the whole for a part ("England won the World Cup in 1966").

The word bread can be used to represent food in general or money (e.g. he is the breadwinner; music is my bread and butter). The word sails is often used to refer to a whole ship. The phrase "hired hands" can be used to refer to workmen. The word "head" refers to cattle. The word "wheels" refers to a vehicle. At the Olympics, you will hear that the United States won a gold medal in an event. That actually means a team from the United States, not the country as a whole. If the world is not treating you well, that would not be the entire world but just a part of it that you've encountered. The word "society" is often used to refer to high society or the social elite. The word "police" can be used to represent only one or a few police officers. The "pentagon" can refer to a few decision-making generals. "Capitol Hill" refers to both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

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. "It's a bit yellow" - while describing a very yellow canary. "There is some music by Beethoven in his Ninth Symphony" - while describing Beethoven's famous work. "The desert is sometimes dry and sandy" - While describing the driest desert in the world. "It is just a little cool today" - when the temperature outside is 5 below zero. "The food was tolerable" - on the food that was prepared by the best chef in the world. "The cars drove at a fair clip" - while watching a car race. "I know a little about running a company" - comment by a successful businessman. "I think we have slightly different opinions on this topic" - instead of saying "I don't agree with you at all. "It was ok" - when a top ranker was asked about his exam results. "I wouldn't say he was thin" - describing a very obese person. "He is a little on the old side" - describing a very old person. "I wouldn't say it tasted great" - on terrible food. "Mumbai is not the cheapest place in the world" - instead of saying Mumbai is expensive. "We have had a little rain" - when the entire area is flooded. "It's just a scratch" - when there is a huge dent.

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