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- is an adjective or adjective
- phrase appropriately qualifying a subject (noun) by naming a key or
- characteristic of the subject, as in "laughing happiness," "sneering
- "untroubled sleep," "peaceful dawn," and "lifegiving water." Sometimes
- a metaphorical epithet will be good to use, as in "lazy road," "tired
- "smirking billboards," "anxious apple." Aptness and brilliant
- are the key considerations in choosing epithets. Be fresh, seek
- images, pay attention to connotative value.
- At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth of
- thieves and murderers
- . . . . --George Herbert
- Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to
- hold / A sheep
- hook . . . . --John Milton
- In an age of pressurized happiness, we sometimes
- grow insensitive
- to subtle joys.
- includes several
- rhetorical devices involving departure from normal word order. One
- a form of inversion, might be called delayed epithet,
- since the
- adjective follows the noun. If you want to amplify the adjective, the
- is very useful:
- From his seat on the bench he saw the girl content-content
- with the
- that she could ride on the train again next week.
- a final form
- of hyperbaton, consists of a word, phrase, or whole sentence inserted
- an aside in the middle of another sentence:
- But the new calculations--and here we see the value of
- relying upon
- information--showed that man-powered flight was possible with this
- Every time I try to think of a good rhetorical example, I
- rack my
- but--you guessed--nothing happens.
- is the recurrence
- of initial consonant sounds. The repetition can be juxtaposed (and then
- it is usually limited to two words):
- Ah, what a delicious day!
- Yes, I have read that little bundle of pernicious prose,
- but I have no
- comment to make upon it.
- Done well, alliteration is a satisfying sensation.
- is the use of words
- whose pronunciation imitates the sound the word describes. "Buzz," for
- example, when spoken is intended to resemble the sound of a flying
- Other examples include these: slam, pow, screech, whirr, crush, sizzle,
- crunch, wring, wrench, gouge, grind, mangle, bang, blam, pow, zap,
- urp, roar, growl, blip, click, whimper, and, of course, snap, crackle,
- and pop. Note that the connection between sound and pronunciation is
- rather a product of imagination ("slam" and "wring" are not very good
- And note also that written language retains an aural quality, so that
- unspoken your writing has a sound to it. Compare these sentences, for
- Someone yelled, "Look out!" and I heard the skidding of
- tires and the
- noise of bending metal and breaking glass.
- Someone yelled "Look out!" and I heard a loud screech
- followed by a
- wrenching crash.