AP English

Card Set Information

AP English
2010-05-13 03:08:58
lit terms

Literary Terms
Show Answers:

  1. Onomatopoeia
    • 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
    • insect.
    • Other examples include these: slam, pow, screech, whirr, crush, sizzle,
    • crunch, wring, wrench, gouge, grind, mangle, bang, blam, pow, zap,
    • fizz,
    • urp, roar, growl, blip, click, whimper, and, of course, snap, crackle,
    • and pop. Note that the connection between sound and pronunciation is
    • sometimes
    • rather a product of imagination ("slam" and "wring" are not very good
    • imitations).
    • And note also that written language retains an aural quality, so that
    • even
    • unspoken your writing has a sound to it. Compare these sentences, for
    • instance:

    • Someone yelled, "Look out!" and I heard the skidding of
    • tires and the
    • horrible
    • noise of bending metal and breaking glass.
    • Someone yelled "Look out!" and I heard a loud screech
    • followed by a
    • grinding,
    • wrenching crash.
  2. Epithet
    • is an adjective or adjective
    • phrase appropriately qualifying a subject (noun) by naming a key or
    • important
    • characteristic of the subject, as in "laughing happiness," "sneering
    • contempt,"
    • "untroubled sleep," "peaceful dawn," and "lifegiving water." Sometimes
    • a metaphorical epithet will be good to use, as in "lazy road," "tired
    • landscape,"
    • "smirking billboards," "anxious apple." Aptness and brilliant
    • effectiveness
    • are the key considerations in choosing epithets. Be fresh, seek
    • striking
    • 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.
  3. Hyperbaton
    • includes several
    • rhetorical devices involving departure from normal word order. One
    • device,
    • a form of inversion, might be called delayed epithet,
    • since the
    • adjective follows the noun. If you want to amplify the adjective, the
    • inversion
    • is very useful:

    • From his seat on the bench he saw the girl content-content
    • with the
    • promise
    • that she could ride on the train again next week.
  4. Parenthesis
    • a final form
    • of hyperbaton, consists of a word, phrase, or whole sentence inserted
    • as
    • an aside in the middle of another sentence:

    • But the new calculations--and here we see the value of
    • relying upon
    • up-to-date
    • information--showed that man-powered flight was possible with this
    • design.
    • Every time I try to think of a good rhetorical example, I
    • rack my
    • brains
    • but--you guessed--nothing happens.
  5. Alliteration
    • 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.
  6. Apostrophe
    • interrupts the discussion
    • or discourse and addresses directly a person or personified thing,
    • either
    • present or absent. Its most common purpose in prose is to give vent to
    • or display intense emotion, which can no longer be held back:

    • O value of wisdom that fadeth not away with time, virtue
    • ever
    • flourishing,
    • that cleanseth its possessor from all venom! O heavenly gift of the
    • divine
    • bounty, descending from the Father of lights, that thou mayest exalt
    • the
    • rational soul to the very heavens! Thou art the celestial nourishment
    • of
    • the intellect . . . . --Richard de Bury
    • O books who alone are liberal and free, who give to all
    • who ask of you
    • and enfranchise all who serve you faithfully! -- Richard de Bury
  7. Enthymeme
    • is an informally-stated
    • syllogism which omits either one of the premises or the conclusion. The
    • omitted part must be clearly understood by the reader. The usual form
    • of
    • this logical shorthand omits the major premise:

    • Since your application was submitted before April 10th, it
    • will be
    • considered.
    • [Omitted premise: All applications submitted before April 10 will be
    • considered.]
    • He is an American citizen, so he is entitled to due
    • process. [All
    • American
    • citizens are entitled to due process.]
  8. Climax
    • (gradatio) consists of arranging
    • words, clauses, or sentences in the order of increasing importance,
    • weight,
    • or emphasis. Parallelism usually forms a part of the arrangement,
    • because
    • it offers a sense of continuity, order, and movement-up the ladder of
    • importance.
    • But if you wish to vary the amount of discussion on each point,
    • parallelism
    • is not essential.

    • The concerto was applauded at the house of Baron von
    • Schnooty, it was
    • praised
    • highly at court, it was voted best concerto of the year by the Academy,
    • it was considered by Mozart the highlight of his career, and it has
    • become
    • known today as the best concerto in the world.
  9. Diacope
    • repetition of a word
    • or phrase after an intervening word or phrase as a method of emphasis:

    • We will do it, I tell you; we will do it.
    • We give thanks to Thee, 0 God, we give thanks . . . .
    • --Psalm 75:1
    • (NASB)
  10. Antimetabole
    • reversing the
    • order of repeated words or phrases (a loosely chiastic structure,
    • AB-BA)
    • to intensify the final formulation, to present alternatives, or to show
    • contrast:

    • All work and no play is as harmful to mental health as all
    • play and no
    • work.
    • Ask not what you can do for rhetoric, but what rhetoric
    • can do for you.
  11. Antiphrasis
    • one word irony,
    • established by context:

    • "Come here, Tiny," he said to the fat man.
    • It was a cool 115 degrees in the shade.
  12. Epizeuxis
    • repetition of one word
    • (for emphasis):

    • The best way to describe this portion of South America is
    • lush, lush,
    • lush.
    • What do you see? Wires, wires, everywhere wires.
    • Polonius: "What are you reading?" Hamlet: "Words, words,
    • words."
  13. Aposiopesis
    • stopping abruptly
    • and leaving a statement unfinished:

    • If they use that section of the desert for bombing
    • practice, the rock
    • hunters
    • will--.
    • I've got to make the team or I'll--.
  14. Anacoluthon
    • finishing a sentence
    • with a different grammatical structure from that with which it began:

    • And then the deep rumble from the explosion began to shake
    • the very
    • bones
    • of--no one had ever felt anything like it.
    • Be careful with these two devices because improperly used
    • they
    • can--well,
    • I have cautioned you enough.
  15. Enumeratio
    • detailing parts, causes,
    • effects, or consequences to make a point more forcibly:

    • I love her eyes, her hair, her nose, her cheeks, her lips
    • [etc.].
    • When the new highway opened, more than just the motels and
    • restaurants
    • prospered. The stores noted a substantial increase in sales, more
    • people
    • began moving to town, a new dairy farm was started, the old Main Street
    • Theater doubled its showings and put up a new building . . . .
  16. Antanagoge
    • placing a good point
    • or benefit next to a fault criticism, or problem in order to reduce the
    • impact or significance of the negative point:

    • True, he always forgets my birthday, but he buys me
    • presents all year
    • round.
    • The new anti-pollution equipment will increase the price
    • of the product
    • slightly, I am aware; but the effluent water from the plant will be
    • actually
    • cleaner than the water coming in.
  17. Parataxis
    • writing successive independent
    • clauses, with coordinating conjunctions, or no conjunctions:

    • We walked to the top of the hill, and we sat down.
    • In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And
    • the earth
    • was
    • without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And
    • the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. --Genesis 1:1-2
    • (KJV)
    • The Starfish went into dry-dock, it got a barnacle
    • treatment, it
    • went back to work.
  18. Hypotaxis
    • using subordination
    • to show the relationship between clauses or phrases (and hence the
    • opposite
    • of parataxis):

    • They asked the question because they were curious.
    • If a person observing an unusual or unfamiliar object
    • concludes that it
    • is probably a spaceship from another world, he can readily adduce that
    • the object is reacting to his presence or actions when in reality there
    • is absolutely no cause-effect relationship. --Philip Klass
    • While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
    • --John 9:5
  19. Sententia
    • quoting a maxim or wise
    • saying to apply a general truth to the situation; concluding or summing
    • foregoing material by offering a single, pithy statement of general
    • wisdom:

    • But, of course, to understand all is to forgive all.
    • As the saying is, art is long and life is short.
    • For as Pascal reminds us, "It is not good to have all your
    • wants
    • satisfied."
  20. Exemplum
    • citing an example; using
    • an illustrative story, either true or fictitious:

    • Let me give you an example. In the early 1920's in
    • Germany, the
    • government
    • let the printing presses turn out endless quantities of paper money,
    • and
    • soon, instead of 50-pfennige postage stamps, denominations up to 50
    • billion
    • marks were being issued.
  21. Pleonasm
    • using more words than
    • required to express an idea; being redundant. Normally a vice, it is
    • done
    • on purpose on rare occasions for emphasis:

    • We heard it with our own ears.
    • And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus
    • Himself alone.
    • --Matthew 17:8
  22. Assonance
    • similar vowel sounds
    • repeated in successive or proximate words containing different
    • consonants:

    • A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. --Matthew
    • 5:14b (KJV)
    • Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your
    • good works,
    • and glorify your Father which is in heaven. --Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
  23. Dirimens
    • mentioning a
    • balancing or opposing fact to prevent the argument from being one-sided
    • or unqualified:

    • This car is extremely sturdy and durable. It's low
    • maintenance; things
    • never go wrong with it. Of course, if you abuse it, it will break.
    • . . . But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling
    • block, and to
    • Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and
    • Greeks,
    • Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. --l Cor. 1:23-24 (NASB;
    • cf. Rom. 13:4-5)
  24. Symploce
    • combining anaphora and
    • epistrophe, so that one word or phrase is repeated at the beginning and
    • another word or phrase is repeated at the end of successive phrases,
    • clauses,
    • or sentences:

    • To think clearly and rationally should be a major goal for
    • man; but to
    • think clearly and rationally is always the greatest difficulty faced by
    • man.
  25. Appositive
    • a noun or noun substitute
    • placed next to (in apposition to) another noun to be described or
    • defined
    • by the appositive. Don't think that appositives are for subjects only
    • and that they always follow the subject. The appositive can be placed
    • before or after any
    • noun:

    • Henry Jameson, the boss of the operation, always
    • wore a red baseball
    • cap. [This shows the subject (Henry Jameson) with the appositive (the
    • boss of the operation) following the subject. This is the most commonly
    • used variety.]
    • A notorious annual feast, the picnic was well attended.
    • [Here, the
    • appositive (notorious annual feast) is in front of the subject (the
    • picnic).]
    • That evening we were all at the concert, a really
    • elaborate and
    • exciting
    • affair. [Here the appositive (elaborate and exciting etc.) follows the
    • noun, which is the object of a preposition (concert).]
  26. A
    Sentential Adverb
    • is a single word or short
    • phrase, usually interrupting normal syntax, used to lend emphasis to
    • the
    • words immediately proximate to the adverb. (We emphasize the words
    • on
    • each side of a pause or interruption in order to maintain continuity of
    • the thought.) Compare:

    But the lake was not drained before April.

    But the lake was not, in fact, drained before April.
  27. Asyndeton
    • consists of omitting
    • conjunctions between words, phrases, or clauses. In a list of items,
    • asyndeton
    • gives the effect of unpremeditated multiplicity, of an extemporaneous
    • rather
    • than a labored account:

    On his return he received medals, honors, treasures, titles, fame.
  28. Polysyndeton
    • is the use of a
    • conjunction between each word, phrase, or clause, and is thus
    • structurally
    • the opposite of asyndeton. The rhetorical effect of polysyndeton,
    • however,
    • often shares with that of asyndeton a feeling of multiplicity,
    • energetic
    • enumeration, and building up.

    • They read and studied and wrote and drilled. I laughed and played and
    • talked
    • and flunked.
  29. Understatement
    • deliberately
    • expresses an idea as less important than it actually is, either for
    • ironic
    • emphasis or for politeness and tact. When the writer's audience can be
    • expected to know the true nature of a fact which might be rather
    • difficult
    • to describe adequately in a brief space, the writer may choose to
    • understate
    • the fact as a means of employing the reader's own powers of
    • description.
    • For example, instead of endeavoring to describe in a few words the
    • horrors
    • and destruction of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, a writer might
    • state:

    • The 1906 San Francisco earthquake interrupted business somewhat in the
    • downtown area.
  30. Litotes
    • a particular form of understatement,
    • is generated by denying the opposite or contrary of the word which
    • otherwise
    • would be used. Depending on the tone and context of the usage, litotes
    • either retains the effect of understatement, or becomes an intensifying
    • expression. Compare the difference between these statements:

    Heat waves are common in the summer.

    Heat waves are not rare in the summer.
  31. Parallelism
    • is recurrent syntactical
    • similarity. Several parts of a sentence or several sentences are
    • expressed
    • similarly to show that the ideas in the parts or sentences are equal in
    • importance. Parallelism also adds balance and rhythm and, most
    • importantly,
    • clarity to the sentence.

    • Ferocious dragons breathing fire and wicked sorcerers casting their
    • spells
    • do their harm by night in the forest of Darkness.
  32. Chiasmus
    • might be called "reverse
    • parallelism," since the second part of a grammatical construction is
    • balanced
    • or paralleled by the first part, only in reverse order. Instead of an
    • A,B
    • structure (e.g., "learned unwillingly") paralleled by another A,B
    • structure
    • ("forgotten gladly"), the A,B will be followed by B,A ("gladly
    • forgotten").
    • So instead of writing, "What is learned unwillingly is forgotten
    • gladly,"
    • you could write, "What is learned unwillingly is gladly forgotten."
    • Similarly,
    • the parallel sentence, "What is now great was at first little," could
    • be
    • written chiastically as, "What is now great was little at first." Here
    • are some examples:

    He labors without complaining and without bragging rests.

    • Polished in courts and hardened in the field, Renowned for conquest,
    • and
    • in council skilled. --Joseph Addison

    • For the Lord is a Great God . . . in whose hand are the depths of the
    • earth;
    • the peaks of the mountains are his also. --Psalm 95:4
  33. Zeugma
    • includes several similar
    • rhetorical devices, all involving a grammatically correct linkage (or
    • yoking
    • together) of two or more parts of speech by another part of speech.
    • Thus
    • examples of zeugmatic usage would include one subject with two (or
    • more)
    • verbs, a verb with two (or more) direct objects, two (or more) subjects
    • with one verb, and so forth. The main benefit of the linking is that it
    • shows relationships between ideas and actions more clearly.

    Pride opresseth humility; hatred love; cruelty compassion. --Peacham

    Fred excelled at sports; Harvey at eating; Tom with girls.

    Alexander conquered the world; I, Minneapolis.
  34. Antithesis
    • establishes a clear,
    • contrasting relationship between two ideas by joining them together or
    • juxtaposing them, often in parallel structure. Human beings are
    • inveterate
    • systematizers and categorizers, so the mind has a natural love for
    • antithesis,
    • which creates a definite and systematic relationship between ideas:

    To err is human; to forgive, divine. --Pope

    • That short and easy trip made a lasting and profound change in Harold's
    • outlook.

    • That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. --Neil
    • Armstrong
  35. Anaphora
    • To think on death it is a misery,/ To think on life it is a vanity;/ To
    • think on the world verily it is,/ To think that here man hath no
    • perfect
    • bliss. --Peacham

    • In books I find the dead as if they were alive; in books I foresee
    • things
    • to come; in books warlike affairs are set forth; from books come forth
    • the laws of peace. --Richard de Bury

    • Finally, we must consider what pleasantness of teaching there is in
    • books,
    • how easy, how secret! How safely we lay bare the poverty of human
    • ignorance
    • to books without feeling any shame! --Ibid.
  36. Epistrophe
    • forms the counterpart to anaphora, because the repetition of the same
    • word
    • or words comes at the end of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences:

    • Where affections bear rule, there reason is subdued, honesty is
    • subdued,
    • good will is subdued, and all things else that withstand evil, for ever
    • are subdued. --Wilson

    • And all the night he did nothing but weep Philoclea, sigh Philoclea,
    • and
    • cry out Philoclea. --Philip Sidney

    • You will find washing beakers helpful in passing this course, using the
    • gas chromatograph desirable for passing this course, and studying hours
    • on end essential to passing this course.
  37. Anadiplosis
    • repeats the last
    • word of one phrase, clause, or sentence at or very near the beginning
    • of
    • the next. it can be generated in series for the sake of beauty or to
    • give
    • a sense of logical progression:

    • Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,/ Knowledge
    • might pity win, and pity grace obtain . . . . --Philip Sidney
  38. Conduplicatio
    • resembles
    • anadiplosis in the repetition of a preceding word, but it repeats a key
    • word (not just the last word) from a preceding phrase,
    • clause, or sentence,
    • at the beginning of the next.

    • If this is the first time duty has moved him to act against his
    • desires,
    • he is a very weak man indeed. Duty should be cultivated and obeyed in
    • spite
    • of its frequent conflict with selfish wishes.

    • The strength of the passions will never be accepted as an excuse for
    • complying
    • with them; the passions were designed for subjection, and if a man
    • suffers
    • them to get the upper hand, he then betrays the liberty of his own
    • soul.
    • --Alexander Pope

    • She fed the goldfish every day with the new pellets brought from Japan.
    • Gradually the goldfish began to turn a brighter orange than before.
  39. Epanalepsis
    • repeats the beginning
    • word of a clause or sentence at the end. The beginning and the end are
    • the two positions of strongest emphasis in a sentence, so by having the
    • same word in both places, you call special attention to it:

    Water alone dug this giant canyon; yes, just plain water.

    • To report that your committee is still investigating the matter is to
    • tell
    • me that you have nothing to report.
  40. Hypophora
    • consists of raising one
    • or more questions and then proceeding to answer them, usually at some
    • length.
    • A common usage is to ask the question at the beginning of a paragraph
    • and
    • then use that paragraph to answer it:

    • There is a striking and basic difference between a man's ability to
    • imagine
    • something and an animal's failure. . . . Where is it that the animal
    • falls
    • short? We get a clue to the answer, I think, when Hunter tells us . . .
    • . --Jacob Bronowski

    • What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this
    • matter?. . . What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God. --Rom.
    • 4:1,3 (NIV)
  41. Rhetorical
    • differs from hypophora in that it is not answered by the writer,
    • because
    • its answer is obvious or obviously desired, and usually just a yes or
    • no.
    • It is used for effect, emphasis, or provocation, or for drawing a
    • conclusionary
    • statement from the facts at hand.

    • But how can we expect to enjoy the scenery when the scenery consists
    • entirely
    • of garish billboards?

    • . . . For if we lose the ability to perceive our faults, what is the
    • good
    • of living on? --Marcus Aurelius

    • Is justice then to be considered merely a word? Or is it whatever
    • results
    • from the bartering between attorneys?
  42. Procatalepsis
    • by anticipating
    • an objection and answering it, permits an argument to continue moving
    • forward
    • while taking into account points or reasons opposing either the train
    • of
    • thought or its final conclusions. Often the objections are standard
    • ones:

    • It is usually argued at this point that if the government gets out of
    • the
    • mail delivery business, small towns like Podunk will not have any mail
    • service. The answer to this can be found in the history of the Pony
    • Express
    • . . . .

    • To discuss trivialities in an exalted style is, as the saying is, like
    • beautifying a pestle. Yet some people say we should discourse in the
    • grand
    • manner on trivialities and they think that this is a proof of
    • outstanding
    • oratorical talent. Now I admit that Polycrates [did this]. But he was
    • doing
    • this in jest, . - . and the dignified tone of the whole work was itself
    • a game. Let us be playful..... [but] also observe what is fitting in
    • each
    • case . . . . --Demetrius
  43. Metabasis
    • consists of a brief statement
    • of what has been said and what will follow. It might be called a
    • linking,
    • running, or transitional summary, whose function is to keep the
    • discussion
    • ordered and clear in its progress:

    • Such, then, would be my diagnosis of the present condition of art. I
    • must
    • now, by special request, say what I think will happen to art in the
    • future.
    • --Kenneth Clark

    • We have to this point been examining the proposal advanced by Smervits
    • only in regard to its legal practicability; but next we need to
    • consider
    • the effect it would have in retarding research and development work in
    • private laboratories.

    • I have hitherto made mention of his noble enterprises in France, and
    • now
    • I will rehearse his worthy acts done near to Rome. --Peacham
  44. Distinctio
    • is an explicit reference
    • to a particular meaning or to the various meanings of a word, in order
    • to remove or prevent ambiguity.

    • To make methanol for twenty-five cents a gallon is impossible; by
    • "impossible"
    • I mean currently beyond our technological capabilities.

    • The precipitate should be moved from the filter paper to the crucible
    • quickly--that
    • is, within three minutes.

    • Mr. Haskins describes the process as a simple one. If by simple he
    • means
    • easy to explain on paper, he is correct. But if he means there are no
    • complexities
    • involved in getting it to work, he is quite mistaken.
  45. Amplification
    • involves repeating
    • a word or expression while adding more detail to it, in order to
    • emphasize
    • what might otherwise be passed over. In other words, amplification
    • allows
    • you to call attention to, emphasize, and expand a word or idea to make
    • sure the reader realizes its importance or centrality in the
    • discussion.

    • In my hunger after ten days of rigorous dieting I saw visions of ice
    • cream--mountains
    • of creamy, luscious ice cream, dripping with gooey syrup and calories.

    • This orchard, this lovely, shady orchard, is the main reason I bought
    • this
    • property.

    • . . . Even in Leonardo's time, there were certain obscure needs and
    • patterns
    • of the spirit, which could discover themselves only through less
    • precise
    • analogies--the analogies provided by stains on walls or the embers of a
    • fire. --Kenneth Clark
  46. Scesis
    • emphasizes an idea
    • by expressing it in a string of generally synonymous phrases or
    • statements.
    • While it should be used carefully, this deliberate and obvious
    • restatement
    • can be quite effective:

    We succeeded, we were victorious, we accomplished the feat!

    • Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers,
    • children
    • that deal corruptly. --Isaiah 1:4

    • But there is one thing these glassy-eyed idealists forget: such a
    • scheme
    • would be extremely costly, horrendously expensive, and require a ton of
    • money.

    • Wendy lay there, motionless in a peaceful slumber, very still in the
    • arms
    • of sleep.
  47. Apophasis
    • (also called praeteritio
    • or occupatio) asserts or emphasizes something by pointedly seeming to
    • pass
    • over, ignore, or deny it. This device has both legitimate and
    • illegitimate
    • uses. Legitimately, a writer uses it to call attention to sensitive or
    • inflammatory facts or statements while he remains apparently detached
    • from
    • them:

    • We will not bring up the matter of the budget deficit here, or how
    • programs
    • like the one under consideration have nearly pushed us into bankruptcy,
    • because other reasons clearly enough show . . . .

    • Therefore, let no man talk to me of other expedients: of taxing our
    • absentees
    • . . . of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and
    • gaming
    • of learning to love our country . . . .--Jonathan Swift

    If you were not my father, I would say you were perverse. --Antigone
  48. Metanoia
    • (correctio) qualifies
    • a statement by recalling it (or part of it) and expressing it in a
    • better,
    • milder, or stronger way. A negative is often used to do the recalling:

    Fido was the friendliest of all St. Bernards, nay of all dogs.

    • The chief thing to look for in impact sockets is hardness; no, not so
    • much
    • hardness as resistance to shock and shattering.

    • And if I am still far from the goal, the fault is my own for not paying
    • heed to the reminders--nay, the virtual directions--which I have had
    • from
    • above. --Marcus Aurelius
  49. Aporia
    • expresses doubt about an idea
    • or conclusion. Among its several uses are the suggesting of
    • alternatives
    • without making a commitment to either or any:

    • I am not sure whether to side with those who say that higher taxes
    • reduce
    • inflation or with those who say that higher taxes increase inflation.

    • I have never been able to decide whether I really approve of dress
    • codes,
    • because extremism seems to reign both with them and without them.
  50. Simile
    • is a comparison between
    • two different things that resemble each other in at least one way. In
    • formal
    • prose the simile is a device both of art and explanation, comparing an
    • unfamiliar thing to some familiar thing (an object, event, process,
    • etc.)
    • known to the reader.

    I see men, but they look like trees, walking. --Mark 8:24

    • After such long exposure to the direct sun, the leaves of the
    • houseplant
    • looked like pieces of overcooked bacon.

    The soul in the body is like a bird in a cage.
  51. Analogy
    • compares two things, which
    • are alike in several respects, for the purpose of explaining or
    • clarifying
    • some unfamiliar or difficult idea or object by showing how the idea or
    • object is similar to some familiar one. While simile and analogy often
    • overlap, the simile is generally a more artistic likening, done briefly
    • for effect and emphasis, while analogy serves the more practical end of
    • explaining a thought process or a line of reasoning or the abstract in
    • terms of the concrete, and may therefore be more extended.

    • You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a
    • carpenter
    • who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not
    • your trade to make tables. --Samuel Johnson

    • He that voluntarily continues ignorance is guilty of all the crimes
    • which
    • ignorance produces, as to him that should extinguish the tapers of a
    • lighthouse
    • might justly be imputed the calamities of shipwrecks. --Samuel Johnson

    • . . . For answers successfully arrived at are solutions to difficulties
    • previously discussed, and one cannot untie a knot if he is ignorant of
    • it. --Aristotle
  52. Metaphor
    • compares two different
    • things by speaking of one in terms of the other. Unlike a simile or
    • analogy,
    • metaphor asserts that one thing is another thing,
    • not just that
    • one is like another. Very frequently a metaphor is invoked by the to
    • be verb:

    • Affliction then is ours;
    • / We are the trees whom shaking
    • fastens more.
    • --George Herbert

    • Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life." --John 6:35 [And compare
    • the use of metaphor in 6:32-63]

    • Thus a mind that is free from passion is a very citadel; man has no
    • stronger
    • fortress in which to seek shelter and defy every assault. Failure to
    • perceive
    • this is ignorance; but to perceive it, and still not to seek its
    • refuge,
    • is misfortune indeed. --Marcus Aurelius
  53. Catachresis
    • is an extravagant,
    • implied metaphor using words in an alien or unusual way. While
    • difficult
    • to invent, it can be wonderfully effective:

    • I will speak daggers to her. --Hamlet [In a more
    • futuristic metaphor,
    • we might say, "I will laser-tongue her." Or as a more romantic student
    • suggested, "I will speak flowers to her."]

    • One way to write
    • catachresis is to substitute an associated idea for
    • the
    • intended one (as Hamlet did, using "daggers" instead of "angry words"):

    • "It's a dentured lake," he said, pointing at the dam. "Break a tooth
    • out
    • of that grin and she will spit all the way to Duganville."
  54. Synecdoche
    • is a type of metaphor
    • in which the part stands for the whole, the whole for a part, the genus
    • for the species, the species for the genus, the material for the thing
    • made, or in short, any portion, section, or main quality for the whole
    • or the thing itself (or vice versa).

    Farmer Jones has two hundred head of cattle and three hired hands.
  55. Metonymy
    • is another form of metaphor,
    • very similar to synecdoche (and, in fact, some rhetoricians do not
    • distinguish
    • between the two), in which the thing chosen for the metaphorical image
    • is closely associated with (but not an actual part of) the subject with
    • which it is to be compared.

    The orders came directly from the White House.
  56. Personification
    • metaphorically
    • represents an animal or inanimate object as having human
    • attributes--attributes
    • of form, character, feelings, behavior, and so on. Ideas and
    • abstractions
    • can also be personified.

    • The ship began to creak and protest as it struggled against the rising
    • sea.

    • We bought this house instead of the one on Maple because this one is
    • more
    • friendly.

    This coffee is strong enough to get up and walk away.
  57. Hyperbole
    • the counterpart of understatement,
    • deliberately exaggerates conditions for emphasis or effect. In formal
    • writing
    • the hyperbole must be clearly intended as an exaggeration, and should
    • be
    • carefully restricted. That is, do not exaggerate everything, but treat
    • hyperbole like an exclamation point, to be used only once a year. Then
    • it will be quite effective as a table-thumping attention getter,
    • introductory
    • to your essay or some section thereof:

    • There are a thousand reasons why more research is needed on solar
    • energy.

    • Or it can make a
    • single point very enthusiastically:

    • I said "rare," not "raw." I've seen cows hurt worse than this get up
    • and
    • get well.
  58. Allusion
    • is a short, informal
    • reference to a famous person or event:

    • You must borrow me Gargantua's mouth first. 'Tis a word too great for
    • any
    • mouth of this age's size. --Shakespeare

    • If you take his parking place, you can expect World War II all over
    • again.

    Plan ahead: it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark. --Richard Cushing
  59. Eponym
    • substitutes for a particular
    • attribute the name of a famous person recognized for that attribute. By
    • their nature eponyms often border on the cliche, but many times they
    • can
    • be useful without seeming too obviously trite. Finding new or
    • infrequently
    • used ones is best, though hard, because the name-and-attribute
    • relationship
    • needs to be well established. Consider the effectiveness of these:

    • Is he smart? Why, the man is an Einstein. Has he suffered? This poor
    • Job
    • can tell you himself.

    That little Caesar is fooling nobody. He knows he is no Patrick Henry.

    When it comes to watching girls, Fred is a regular Argus.
  60. Oxymoron
    • is a paradox reduced
    • to two words, usually in an adjective-noun ("eloquent silence") or
    • adverb-adjective
    • ("inertly strong") relationship, and is used for effect, complexity,
    • emphasis,
    • or wit:

    • I do here make humbly bold to present them with a short account of
    • themselves
    • and their art.....--Jonathan Swift

    • The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read, / With loads of learned lumber
    • in
    • his head . . . .--Alexander Pope

    • He was now sufficiently composed to order a funeral of modest
    • magnificence,
    • suitable at once to the rank of a Nouradin's profession, and the
    • reputation
    • of his wealth. --Samuel Johnson