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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Figures of speech

Figures of speech are verbal expressions in which words or sounds are arranged in a particular way to achieve particular effect.A figure of speech is a descriptive language used to make comparisons and to employ the reader’s own imagination. Simply put, it is a language that has meaning beyond the literal meaning.Figures of speech are organised into different categories, such as:

Alliteration: Repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of words placed near each other, usually on the same or adjacent lines. A somewhat looser definition is that it is the use of the same consonant in any part of adjacent words.
Examples: Femi was fast and furious
                 Peter and Paul prayed at the palace for the poor prince.
                 She said Shade was scared of the soldiers.
                 God made man;man made money; money made man mad.

Assonance: This is the repetition of vowel sounds, especially in words placed near each other, usually on the same or adjacent lines.
Examples: The officer ordered for an organised training.
                 Our echoes roll from soul to soul.
                  Let not ambition rock their useful toil.

Consonance: It is the repetition of consonant sounds at the ending of words placed near each other, usually on thesame or adjacent lines. These should be in sounds that are accented, or stressed, rather than in vowelsounds that are unaccented. This produces a pleasing kind of near-rhyme.
Examples: The keeper will crawl away the ball.
                  The lad stood on the road and cried.
                  They struck a streak of bad luck.
                   Dawn goes down.
                  Cool soul

Metonymy: A figure of speech in which a person, place, or thing is referred to by something closely associated with it.
Examples: The White House debunked the rumour.
                 The Crown issued a warning to the vandals.
                 The pulpit should be very careful of what they do.
                 The pen is mightier than the sword.
                  Even the Glass House could not save Keshi’s job.

Oxymoron: It’s a descriptive phrase that combines two contradictory terms to create a totally fresh image or idea.
Examples: It was a pointless point of view.
                 That bitter-sweet experience affected her marriage.
                 The cold fire swept through the senate building.
                 It is an open secret that the governor is a thief.
                 The calm wind blew across the village.
                  It was just a minor crisis.
                  A deafening silence fell on the parliament.

Paradox: It’s a statement in which a seeming contradiction may reveal an unexpected truth.
Examples: The hurrier I go the behinder I get.
                 Those who crave for peace must first prepare themselves for war.
                 The child is the father of the man.
                  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it.

Personification: It is attributing human characteristics to an inanimate object, animal, or abstract idea.
Examples: The days crept by slowly, sorrowfully.
                 Death lays its icy hands on kings.
                 Let the seas clap their hands to this melodious song.
                 Confusion heard his voice.
                     The trees danced to the melodious song.
Pun: It is a play on words, in which words with totally different meanings have similar or identical sounds.
Examples: Like a firefly in the rain, I’m de-lighted.
                 Your money is save in a safe.
                 It is better late than to be late.
                 She later realised her soul was under his sole.
                 Seven days without what to eat makes one weak.

Synecdoche: It is the use of a part to represent a whole or a whole can be used to represent a part.
Examples: All hands on deck.
                 I need more hands to finish this assignment as planned.
                 The wicked queen controls the all the heads in the village.
                 Millions of eyes stared at the Hollywood actor at the concert.
                 The old man cried behind the wheels after his release.
                 Lend me your ears.
Onomatopoeia (Echoism): It is the use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.
Examples:Tick tack says the clock.
                The pattering of the rain on the buildings.
                The mewing of a cat.
                The roaring of a lion.
                The booming of the gun.
                The murmuring of innumerable bees.

Hyperbole: In other words, hyperbole is referred to as exaggeration or overstatement. It is a deliberate and obvious exaggeration of fact for comic effect.
Examples:I could eat a million of the fruit.
                  I greeted him with a thousand thanks.
                 The widow wept flood of tears at his husband’s funeral.
                  He finished a mountain of yam within two minutes.
                  He jumped the ocean when his wife gave birth to a triplet.
                  When the clown married the queen, the prince almost died of laughter.

Litotes (Meiosis):This is the opposite of hyperbole. It is the deliberate use of understatement for the sake of effect. It is also a figure of speech in which an affirmative is expressed by a negation of the contrast.
Examples: I am not ungrateful of your love. (I’m grateful)
                 I am a citizen of no mean city. (An important person)
                  I am by no means convinced of what you say. (Not convinced)
                  The old men are not unconcerned with computers. (Concerned)
                  He was not without academic ability. (She is very brilliant)

Irony:It is a device by which a writer expresses meaning which appears contrary to the stated one. It is the reversal of meaning. The commonest irony is verbal irony.
Examples:I am very honest especially on issues unrelated to money.
                  Charles is so brilliant that he passed one subject out of his nine papers.
                  The king had no appetite although he had eaten fifteen plates of rice.
                  He is such a good keeper that he conceded fifteen goals in the first half.
                  She was so pretty to the extent that no man could ask for her hands.

Antithesis:It is the figure of speech in which a striking opposition or contrasted words or statement are made in the same sentence. It is used to arrest attention by drawing a sharp contrast between two equal or opposing ideas.
Examples:To err is human, to forgive is divine.
                  Speech is silver, silence is golden.
                  Man proposes, God disposes.
                  United we stand, divided we fall.

Euphemism:In this figure of speech, harsh and unpleasant words are conveyed in a pleasant and inoffensive manner in order to cushion the effect of its seriousness.
Examples:At last, our president has kicked the bucket.
                The ugly girl was put in the family way.
                She passed away on his bed this morning.
                The nun used to be a lady of easy virtue.
                The gentleman with sticky fingers has disappeared.

Syllepsis:It is the use of one word in two different senses, usually one is used literally and the other used figuratively in the same context.Syllepsis is another term for Zeugma.
Examples:That beautiful girl stole away my heart and my money.
                  He was so hungry that he wanted to eat up the cook and her food.
                  The chairman stopped his job and his future.
                  He picked up his hat and a taxi.
                  John and his driving license expired last week.

Polysyndeton:This is the literary device of using several conjunctions in close succession.
       The bad news caused him to weep and cry and wail.
       And the sky changed and the wind blew and the rain fell and flood came.
       He took his leave and umbrella and my home.

Climax:It is the arrangement of ideas, terms or expressions in ascending order of importance or significance. In other words, events develop from a lower level to a higher one, to the point of greatest interest or emotional intensity.
I came, I saw, and I conquered.
The enraged man killed his dog, his daughter and his wife.
The thief stole my wallet, bag, laptop and car.
Before he travelled, he bought a new car, built a mansion and was appointed a minister.

Anticlimax (Bathos):It is the opposite of climax. Events or ideas are arranged in descending order of significance.
The country lost at the World Cup, at the Africa Cup of Nations and at the CHAN tournament.
She lost her father, her son and her maid to the inferno.
The officer checked his luggage, his documents and his teeth.

Antonomasia:This is a special form of figure of speech in which the name of a well-known person, place or event is used to represent some qualities which it epitomizes.
Examples:My landlady is the Jezebel of our time.
                  That man is a veritable Job.
                  The governor’s house is now a Golgotha.
                   Lagos may be another Sodom and Gomorrah.

Simile: A simile states that one thing is like another. It draws a comparison between two things which are not always taken to be similar to each other. It is introduced with the use of like, as, though, as if, as…as, etc.
Examples:He’s as dumb as an ox.
                I shall soar like an eagle and as wise as a serpent.
                My wife lied as if she was under a curse.
                Like daffodils beside the lake.
                His gleaming hair appears as the dawn of the day.

Metaphor:Where a simile draws a comparison between two ideas, a metaphor goes a step further and substitutes one idea for another without the use of “like” or “as”. Metaphor tries to convey a message by comparing two unlike entities. That is why it is called compressed simile.
Examples:The peasants walked along the boulevards of misery.
                  He sacrificed his love for his career.
                  Civilisation kicked us in the face.
                  My mother is a priceless jewel.
                  A lion he was in battle, but a dove among his subjects.

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