Figures of Speech
A Figure of Speech is a departure from ordinary form, or the ordinary course of ideas to make a greater effect.
Why are Figures of Speech used?
What is the use of Figures of Speech?
These must be the questions in mind. Here is the explanation and reasons of usage of figures of speech.
1. It’s better and best to say ‘He has gone to heavens’ instead of ‘He has died’. You can make from the two sentences and the first one is better.
2. It’s better to say ‘I have gone to answer nature’s call’ than to say ‘I’ve gone to toilet’.
In both examples, we have used figures of speech.
List of figures of speech
- Verbal Metaphor
- Adjectival Metaphor
- Mixed Metaphor
- Pathetic fallacy
- Transferred Epithet
- Rhetorical Question or Interrogation
- Poetic Phraseology
- Intrusive Smartness
- Propsopopoeia or Vision
- Repeated propositions
- Pretentious Circumlocution
- Patronizing Superiority
- Determined Picturesque
Figures Of Speech Explanation:
When a part is used to designate the whole or the whole to designate a part or abstract for concrete for abstract then the figure of speech is called as Synecdoche.
Examples and explanation of Synecdoche.
a) Give us this daily bread.
Bread is used to denote food.
b) A hand unhooked the chain.
‘Hand’ is used to denote a man.
In alliteration, similar sound or repetition of similar letters are used to generate poetic effect.
Examples as well as explanation of Alliteration.
a) The tiny ships on the shiny sea.
The sound of ‘iny’ is used to produce poetic effect.
b) He stopped there for stone and only stone.
The sound of ‘st’ is repeated pleasingly.
Figure of speech is Simile when a direct comparison is made between two objects of different kinds which have at least one point in common. For producing Simile, words ‘AS’, ‘LIKE’ and ‘SO’ are used.
Examples of Figure of Speech Simile.
a) He fought like a lion.
Explanation: The bravery of ‘HE’ is directly compared to that as of a ‘Lion’.
b) It is as good as gold.
c) You are like my son
Explanation: In both above examples, figure of speech is Simile because a direct comparison has been made between two things.
Figure of Speech Simile is quite simple.
Unlike Simile, figure of speech is Metaphor when an indirect comparison is made between two things. Metaphor is an implied Simile.
Examples of Metaphor.
a) The camel is ship of desert.
Explanation: You know that camel is actually not a ship. Thus, an indirect comparison is made between camel and ship.
b) Life is a dream
c) All the world is a stage.
Explanation: We see in above both examples, figure of speech is same and it is Metaphor because of indirect comparison between two things.
When inanimate object and abstract notions are spoken of as having life then the figures of speech is Personification.
Examples of Personification.
a) The sun looked at me.
Explanation: ‘Sun’ has been given the human quality of looking. Hence, figures of speech is Personification.
b) Death lays its icy hands on kings.
Explanation: ‘Death’ has been given ‘hands’. So, figure of speech is Personification.
c) All stars peeped at me.
Explanation: ‘Stars’ have been given human quality of ‘peeping’. Therefore, figure of speech is Personification.
In this figure of speech, writer or speaker turns away from the main subject and makes a sudden, short address to a person absent or dead or to an inanimate idea or objects. This is the meaning of ‘Apostrophe’.
Examples of Apostrophe.
a) Milton! Thou should be living at this hour.
Explanation: A short address is made to a person named ‘Milton’ who is dead at the time of addressing. Hence, figure of speech is Apostrophe.
b) O fame! I love you to praise.
Explanation: Figures of speech is Apostrophe here because inanimate idea is addressed.
C) Oh my country! I love you.
Explanation: Inanimate object ‘country’ is suddenly called. Therefore, figure of speech is Apostrophe.
Inversion or Anastrophe
When the correct prose order of a sentence is changed for poetic effect then the figure of speech is Inversion.
a) Barren are those mountains.
Explanation: Words in above example are not in correct prose order. Hence, figures of speech is Inversion. Also, the correct prose order is ‘Those mountains are barren’.
b) Wealth I seek do not.
Explanation: For poetic effect, words have not been placed in correct prose order. So, the figure of speech is Inversion. Correct prose order is ‘I do not seek wealth’.
c) False was the news.
Explanation: Words are not in correct order. The correct prose order is ‘The news was false’. And so the figure of speech is Inversion.
d) Good is your brother.
Explanation: The correct order of words in above sentence is ‘Your brother is good’. As it is understood now and very simple to say that figure of speech is Inversion.
When opposite ideas (opposite words) are expressed in same line then the figure of speech used is called Antithesis.
Examples of Antithesis:
a) He is good but I am bad.
Explanation: Opposite words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ occur in same line and hence, figure of speech is ‘Antithesis’.
b) Not near but not so far.
Explanation: Figure of speech is Antithesis because opposite words ‘near’ and ‘far’ occur.
c) Many earn but only few are satisfied.
Explanation: opposite words ‘many’ and ‘few’ come in same sentence. So, figures of speech is Antithesis.
This figure of speech is an apparent contradiction in language which by causing a temporary shock draws our attention to some inner or deeper meaning.
Examples of Epigram:
a) The child is father of man.
b) Cowards die many times before their death.
In this figure, an object is designated by the name of something which is generally associated with it. This is called Metonymy.
a) The crown rules the empire.
Explanation: ‘Crown’ is used instead of ‘King’ or ‘Prince’. So, figures of speech is Metonymy.
b) The pen is mightier than the sword.
Explanation: ‘Pen’ has been used instead of ‘writer’. And ‘sword’ has been used instead of ‘warrior’. Therefore, figures of speech is Metonymy.
When words of different meanings are used pleasantly, then the figure of speech is Jingles.
Examples of jingles:
a) I awaited a belated train.
b) To read his tales is a invalidity by technicality.
When strong emotion or feeling is expressed, then the figures of speech is Exclamation.
Exclamation can be easily identified by searching for exclamation mark. So, job is simple now.
Examples of exclamation:
a) Oh! I forgot.
b) Hurray! We won.
Explanation: In both example, a strong exclamation is made. Figures of speech is exclamation.
Tautology (or Pleonasm)
In a sentence, when different words of almost same meaning are used then figures of speech used is called as Tautology.
Examples of tautology:
a) I rejoiced at the happy night.
Explanation: Words ‘rejoice’ and ‘happy’ have almost same meaning. Hence, figures of speech used is called as Tautology.
b) At the same old ancient inn.
Explanation: Words ‘old’ and ‘ancient’ have almost same meaning. Hence, it is Tautology.
When an exaggerated over statement is made then the figure of speech is Hyperbole.
Examples of hyperbole:
a) I shed million buckets of tears.
b) Are worth all your laurels.
Explanation: Obvious exaggerated over-statements have been made. So, it’s simple. Figures of speech is ‘Hyperbole’.
A Pun consists in the use of a word in such a way that it is capable of more than one application, the object being to produce a ludicrous effect.
Examples of Pun:
a) Rest in the bottom lay.
Explanation: The above example is capable of giving two meanings. So, figures of speech is Pun. Read it carefully and understand both the meanings.
b) Is life worth living? It depends on the liver.
c) An ambassador is an honest man who lies abroad for good of his country.
Explanation: In above example, figure of speech is Pun. Word ‘lie’ has two meaning. One is ‘opposite of truth’ and other is ‘living’. Take the meaning for yourself. That’s the clear line for an ambassador.
In Irony, real meaning is exactly the opposite of that which is said.
We often use this figures of speech in sarcastic manner. We many times make fun of our colleagues with help of this speech.
a) Such an intelligent man that you can’t solve math.
b) Such a good goal keeper that he cannot stop a single goal.
Explanation: The real meaning of above sentences is just the opposite and hence figures of speech is Irony.
In this figures of speech, ideas are arranged in the increasing order of importance.
Examples of Climax:
a) I lost my pen, book and my whole bag.
b) He came, he saw and he conquered.
In this figures of speech, ideas are arranged in decreasing order of importance. Trend of decreasing importance is observed.
a) I lost my wife, house and job.
b) Flower, Snail, Shell and bits of glass.
When a harsh thing is expressed in a mild way then the figure of speech is Euphemism.
a) He is no more. (Dead)
b) He has gone to heavens. (Dead)
c) He has gone to attend nature’s call. (Gone to toilet)
When the sound of the syllables brings out the meaning clearly or when the words are self-explanatory then it is called Onomatopoeia.
a) I heard him tap the door.
Explanation: Sound of tapping is echoed.
b) There was a sharp scratch.
Explanation: Sound of scratch is self-explanatory.
Epithet = Adjective
Therefore, Transferred Epithet = Transferred Adjective
Transferred Epithet Definition:
In a sentence, when an adjective is transferred from its proper word to another that is closely associated with it in the sentence then the figure of speech used is called ‘Transferred Epithet’.
a) He passed sleepless nights.
b) A man is going on a lone highway.
Explanation: In first example, adjective ‘sleepless’ actually belongs to the subject of sentence ‘HE’. It has been transferred to ‘nights’. Adjective ‘lone’ is for ‘Man’ but it has been transferred to ‘highway’. Hence, in both cases, figures of speech is Transferred Epithet.
Interrogation or Rhetorical Question
When a mere question is asked not for an answer but to put a point more effectively then figure of speech is called Interrogation.
a) Am I your servant?
b) Is this your attitude?
c) Who are you to question?
In repetition, same words are repeated for making a pleasing poetic effect.
a) Load on load.
b) Wow! Wow! I won.
c) The bird is chasing another bird.
Explanation of examples: In all above sentence, words have been repeated.
Oxymoron is a special form of antithesis where two contradictory qualities are predicted at once.
Examples of Oxymoron:
a) His honor rooted dishonor stood.
b) He was the wisest fool.
c) Monument is terrific beauty.
d) I clearly misunderstood that word.
Explanation of Oxymoron: Figures of speech in sentences above is Oxymoron.
In this figure of speech, absurd things are expressed but they are true. In paradox, self-contradictory ideas are expressed but they are true.
Examples of Paradox:
a) Philosophers are fools.
b) Let him be rich and weary.
c) India is the richest country in the world but it is inhabited by the poorest persons.
Explanation: Figure of speech is paradox as contradictory ideas are expressed in sentences above but they are true as well.
In this figure of speech, a negative statement is used to emphasize a strong affirmative (positive) feeling.
a) The boy is no fool. (the boy is clever)
b) I am not a little surprised. (I am greatly surprised0
In above sentences, figure of speech is Litotes.