LITERARY DEVICES

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ALLITERATION
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repetition of the same sound beginning several words in sequence.// the special effect resulting from the repetition of consonants, particularly at the beginning of words and at the beginning of stressed syllables.
* Let us go forth to lead the land we love. J. F. Kennedy, Inaugural

the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases or lines, to express similarity between the structures for the sake of emphasis. (identical)
“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, [...] we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” ― Winston S. Churchill

ANTITHESIS
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Contrasting ideas sharpened by the use of opposite or noticeably different meanings.
* Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. Barry Goldwater

APOSTROPHE
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a sudden turn from the general audience to address a specific group or person or personified abstraction absent or present, sometimes represented by exclamation “O”
* For Brutus, as you know, was Ceasar's angel. Judge, O you gods, how dearly Ceasar loved him. - Shakespeare, Julius Ceasar

the special effect resulting from the juxtaposition of identical or closely similar vowel sounds.
* Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.

lack of conjunctions between coordinate phrases, clauses, or words.
* We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardships, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. J. F. Kennedy, Inaugural

A break or pause in a line of poetry dictated by the natural rhythm of the language and/or enforced by punctuation. A line may have more than one caesura' or none at all.

CHIASMUS or SYMMETRY
kaɪˈæzməs
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a reversal of grammatical structures in succesive phrases or clauses. Two corresponding pairs arranged in inverted order (a-b-b-a), also known as "reverse parellelism".
* Where there is marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.

A trite, over-used expression which is lifeless. // a phrase that has become stale or boring due to its overuse. This phrase may be anything – a proverb, a metaphor, a simile (a comparison with the words like or as), an idiom, or even a single word.
* Take stock of the situation* Whispers through the trees

CONCEIT or EXTENDED/ SUSTAINED METAPHOR
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an extended or sustained comparison making use of similes and metaphors in specially unexpected, surprising, or fantastic ways. An intellectual element is predominant, and is made the source of powerful emotion.
* It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, [...] America has given the Negro people a bad check, [...] back marked “insufficient funds.” —Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech, 1963

DOUBLE ENTENDRE
ˌdʌb əl‿ɒn ˈtɒnd‿rə
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a remark that is intended by the speaker to be interpreted in two different ways by different hearers (literally or ironically/metaphorically).
*“New school head checks scaled back” - The first (intended) meaning is that checks for new school headteachers are to be reduced. The second (tawdry) is that the new school headteacher checks his scaled back, indicating he may be a reptile.

the removal of an unstressed syllable, consonants, or letters from a word or phrase to decrease the number of letters or syllables in order to mix words together. The missing letter is replaced by an apostrophe.
Sol thro’ white curtains shot a tim’rous ray, And op’d those eyes that must eclipse the day; Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake,... (Rape of Lock by Alexander Pope)

END-STOPPED LINES
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when caesura comes at the end of a line

EPISTROPHE or ANTISTROPHE
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Figure of repetition that occurs when the last word or set of words in one sentence, clause, or phrase is repeated one or more times at the end of successive sentences, clauses, or phrases.
* "The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divides [sic] us has come."-- Nelson Mandela, Presidential Inaugural Address

Polite, indirect expressions which replace words and phrases considered harsh and impolite or which suggest something unpleasant.
* kick the bucket (to die) * downsizing (firing)

HYPERBATON
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transposition or rearrangement of the cannonical word order in a major way. (Syntactic fronting or inversion)
* Sorry I be, but go you must.

exaggeration for emphasis or for rhetorical effect.
*“One winter it was so cold that all the geese flew backward and all the fish moved south and even the snow turned blue. Late at night, it got so frigid that all spoken words froze solid afore they could be heard.”

the use of figurative language to represent objects, actions and ideas in such a way that it appeals to our physical senses.
* He whiffed the aroma of brewed coffee.* The girl ran her hands on a soft satin fabric.

INCREMENTAL REPETITION
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a device of repetition commonly found in ballads. It involves the repetition of lines or stanzas with small but crucial changes made to a few words from one to the next, and has an effect of narrative progression or suspense.
‘O I'm come to seek my former vows /Ye granted me before.’ ‘O hold your tongue of your former vows, /For they will breed sad strife; /O hold your tongue of your former vows, /For I am become a wife.’ James Harris “The Demon Lover”

a veiled remark which is polite and innocent on the surface, but indirectly hints at an insult or rude comment, a dirty joke, or even social or political criticism.
* I’ve found a way to get some “extra help” on the test.

INTERWEAVING RHYME
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abab
abab

expression which implies the opposite of what is actually said. It may be as concentrated as a single epithet, or as extended as a kind of pervading spirit through the tone of a whole passage or a complete poem.
“Water, water, everywhere, _ And all the boards did shrink; _Water, water, everywhere, _Nor any drop to drink.” - “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, Coleridge

a figure of speech which contains an understatement for emphasis in which a thing is affirmed by stating the negative of its opposite.
* She’s not ugly.

a statement of identity by which a thing or action or quality is directly or by implication affirmed to be some other unlike thing, action or quality.
* Her voice is music to his ears

a thing or concept is called by the name of something associated in meaning with it
* The helmets fought bravely

ONOMATOPOEIA
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A general name for the expression of meaning by the imitation of a sound whether in a single word or group of words.
*The buzzing bee flew away. *The sack fell into the river with a splash. * Meow * Moo

OVERSTATEMENT
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the representation of something in terms that go beyond the facts

apparent paradox achieved by the juxtaposition of words which seem to contradict one another.
* I must be cruel only to be kind. Shakespeare, Hamlet

an assertion seemingly opposed to common sense, but that may yet have some truth in it.// An apparently self-contradictory (even absurd) statement which, on closer inspection, is found to contain a truth reconciling the conflicting opposites.
* What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young. George Bernard Shaw

PARALLELISM or PARALLEL STRUCTURES
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The repetition of sounds, meanings, and structures that balance one element with another of equal importance and similar wording and serves to order, emphasize, and point out relations. It may be inverted for stronger emphasis.
* "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."-- John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address

PATHETIC FALLACY
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the projection of human emotions and actions onto plants, animals or objects to reflect the narrator’s own emotional state. (a type of personification)
* I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping _While my guitar gently weeps _ I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping _Still my guitar gently weeps —The Beatles, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

PERSONIFICATION
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attribution of personality traits to an impersonal thing that is not actually acting in a human way.
* The wind whispered through dry grass.* The flowers danced in the gentle breeze.

ANTHROPOMORPHISM
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the attribution of human characteristics and qualities to animals or deities. It involves imagining an animal or deity actually displaying human traits such as speaking or wearing clothing
* “Come soon,” said Mother Wolf, “little naked son of mine; for, listen, child of man, I loved thee more than ever I loved my cubs.” (The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling)

a redundant and tautological phrase or clause, used for stylistic reasons, such as for emphasis or to keep a meter constant.
* “I saw it with my own eyes.” * Cash money * True fact

POLYSINDETON
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a stylistic device in which several coordinating conjunctions are used in succession in order to achieve an artistic effect.
“And Joshua, and all of Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had.” (The Bible)

PUN (paronomasia)
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word play that suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect.
* I would like to go to Holland someday. Wooden shoe? *“atheism is a non-prophet [non-profit] organization.”

a phrase, line, or group of lines repeated at intervals throughout a poem, generally at the end of the stanza. A refrain may be an exact repetition, or it may exhibit slight variations in meaning or form.
* "O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;/Rise up–for you the flag is flung–for you the bugle trills."- Walt Whitman "Oh Captain, My Captain!"

a kind of refrain which is recited by more than one person

a kind of refrain in which a whole stanza is repeated

a kind of refrain in which the words are repeated erratically throughout the poem.

RHETORICAL QUESTION
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a question that is asked not to get an answer, but instead to emphasize a point. Though no answer is necessary for rhetorical questions, they are often used to elicit thought and understanding on the part of the listener or reader.
* Sure, why not? * Who knew?

RUN-ON LINES (ENJAMBEMENT)
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lines in which the sense runs on into the next line

the activity of saying or writing the opposite of what you mean, or of speaking in a way intended to make someone else feel stupid or show them that you are angry
* I love it when you sing out of tune! * Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed. * Not the brightest crayon in the box now, are we? * I work 40 hours a week to be this poor.

an explicit comparison between two unlike things or actions or qualities using 'like' or 'as'. Its purpose is to make something unknown clearer or more familiar by likening it, or some significant aspect of it, to something already known.
* My love is as a fever, longing still For that which longer nurseth the disease, Shakespeare, Sonnet CXLVII

SUBSTITUTION
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when one or more feet depart from the established pattern of the line. The kind of foot that is in the majority gives its name to the line. The purpose of substitution is to slow up the speed of the line and bring the rhythm into harmony with its meaning.

using an object or action that contains several layers of meaning, often concealed at first sight, and is representative of several other aspects, concepts or traits than those that are visible in the literal translation alone.
* “a new dawn” does not talk only about the actual beginning of a new day but also signifies a new start, a fresh chance to begin and the end of a previous tiring time

SYNECDOCHE
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understanding one thing with another; the use of a part for the whole, or the whole for the part. (A form of metonymy)
* Give us this day our daily bread (all food)

a statement that is based on self-evidence or factual evidence and is accepted as an obvious truth in a way that further proof is not considered necessary.
* "If he were not dead, he would still be alive" *A house divided against itself cannot stand.

UNDERSTATEMENT
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A figure of speech in which a writer or speaker deliberately makes a situation seem less important or serious than it is.
* "I have to have this operation. It isn't very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain." (Holden Caulfield in The Catcher In The Rye, by J. D. Salinger)

a poetic compound, made up of two or more nouns (joined by hyphen) standing for another noun. It has a metaphorical meaning
*treasure room (heart) *spear-carrier (warrior)

PATRONYMIC
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a kind of epithet that links a person to his/her father; an adjective derived from the name of its bearer or ancestor.
* Anchises's son * Diomedes, son/ descendent of Tydeus *Surnames: Stevenson, O' Brien, Mc Donald

PERIODIC SENTENCE
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the tensest possible syntax. It delays the closure of information and the key idea until the period which ends the sentence itself. It consists of many interrupting elements, and is used for shocks and reversals.
* "In the almost incredibly brief time which it took the small but sturdy porter to roll a milk-can across the platform and bump it, with a clang, against other milk-cans [...], Ashe fell in love." -P.G. Wodehouse, Something Fresh, 1915

BALANCED OPENERS
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(a kind of parallelism) the repetition of similar structures at the beginning of successive phrases or lines for the sake of emphasis.

The repetition of vowel and consonantal sounds. The beginning sound of rhyming syllables must be different than but middle (vowel) sound and the ending (consonant) sound must be the same.

CONSONANTAL RHYME
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the rhyming of consonants but not vowels
* grave - grove * scope - skip

a rhyme that occurs in the last syllables of verses

INTERNAL RHYME
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rhyme that occurs within a single line of verse, or between internal phrases across multiple lines.

a similarity between words in spelling but not in pronunciation.
* love and move

PERFECT RHYME
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A monosyllabic rhyme whose vowel sounds produce precisely the same effect on the ear; last consonant is the same; and consonant that precedes the rhyme, to prevent monotony, is different.
*hair - fair *cot - not *wood - good

IMPERFECT RHYME
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rhyme based upon an approximation of vowel sounds.
* bear fear /beә/ fɪә/ * fare affair / feә/ әˈfeә/ * appeased released /әˈpi:zd/ rɪˈli:st/

MASCULINE RHYME
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When the rhyme falls on a single stressed syllable

FEMENINE OR DOUBLE RHYME
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When the rhyme falls upon a stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable
* motion - ocean * behaviour - saviour

TREBLE RHYME
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triple rhyme
* Sunderland - Blunderland


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