Sunday, January 1, 2012

Figures of speech and poetic devices

ALLEGORY is a narrative in which one object or idea is represented in the shape of another. 

ALLITERATION is the repetition of an initial sound, which adds to the musical quality of any line or group of lines within a poem.  The term is usually applied only to consonants, and especially when the recurrent sound occurs in conspicuous position at the beginning either of a word or of a stressed syllable within a word.

ALLUSION is a reference, explicit or indirect, to a well-known person, place, or event, or to another literary work or passage.

ANADIPLOSIS is the repetition of a word at the end of a clause at the beginning of another.

ANAPHORA is the repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive lines.

APOSTROPHE is to direct the attention to a personified abstraction.

ASSONANCE is the repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds in a sequence of nearby words.

CHIASMUS takes place when the word order in one clause is inverted in the other.

CONSONANCE is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line.

ELLIPSIS is the omission of words.

HYPERBATON is the use of an unusual or inverted word order.

HYPERBOLE is the exaggeration of a statement.  “Everyone knows that” meaning “That’s common knowledge.”

LITOTES is the assertion of an affirmative by negating its contrary. For example, “not bad" meaning “fine”.

METAPHOR is a statement in which one entity is another for the purpose of comparing them in quality.

METONYMY occurs when the literal name of a thing is applied to another with which it has become closely associated.  For instance, "the crown" meaning "the monarch”.

ONOMATOPOEIA is a word that sounds like its meaning.

OXYMORON is the use of two terms together that normally contradict each other.

PERSONIFICATION is to apply human qualities to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena.

A PUN is a play on words that will have two meanings.

RHETORICAL QUESTION is a question that is asked not for the sake of getting an answer but for asserting something

SIMILE is a comparison between two things using “like” or “as”.

SYMBOLISM occurs when an image stands for something entirely different.  For example, the “ocean” may symbolize “eternity.”

SYNECDOCHE is a form of metonymy, in which a part stands for the whole. “All hands on deck.”

SYNESTHESIA is the description of one kind of sense impression by using words that normally describe another.

ZEUGMA is an expression in which a single word stands in the same grammatical relation to two or more other words, but with some alteration in its idiomatic use or significance. “He lost his coat and his temper”.

CAESURA is a strong phrasal pause within a line.

END-STOPPED LINE is a line that ends with a pause in the reading.

ENJAMBMENT OR RUN-ON LINE takes place when a syntactic unit (a phrase, clause, or sentence) is broken by the end of a line or between two verses.

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