Saturday, April 1, 2017

Power Tools for Communication

Introduction

A figure of speech is a deviation from the ordinary use of words. It is used to emphasise ‘or increase the effectiveness of words in a sentence. For example, if we say, ‘There are four pillars to the verandah.’ here the word pillars is used in its ordinary sense. But when we say, an independent judiciary is a pillar of Pakistani democracy, here pillar is used in figurative sense. By using these figures of speech, you can add power to your English writing and speaking. Here is a simple analysis of some of the important figures of speech commonly used:

The Tools

SIMILE:
It is a figure of comparison in which two dissimilar things belonging to two different planes are compared. The simile is usually introduced by such words as: like as, so, such as, just as.
  • She sways like a flower in the wind of our sing.
  • Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow.
  • So like a shattered column lay the king.
  • O, my love is like a red, red rose.
  • Your face is as a book where man may read strange letters.
METAPHOR:
A metaphor is an implied simile without using words such as: tike, as, just as, and so on. In it, the two objects of completely different orders are identified.
  • Our eldest son is the star of the family.
  • The camel is the ship of the desert.
  • The soldier was a lion in the battlefield.
  • Life is a tale.
  • Revenge is a wild justice.
 PERSONIFICATION:
In personification, inanimate (lifeless) objects and abstract notions are spoken of as having life and intelligence.
  • Death lays its icy hand on kings.
  • But patience, to prevent that murmur, soon replies.
  • The sea that bares her bosom to the moon.
  • Let no ambition mock their useful toil.
  • Authority forgets a dying king.
  • Melancholy marked him for her own.
APOSTROPHE:
By this figure the speaker addresses some inanimate things or some abstract ideas as if it were a living person. It therefore includes personification:
  • Frailty, thy name is woman!
  • O Death! Where is thy sting?
  • O World! O Life! O Time!
  • Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
  • Ethereal minstrel! pilgrim of sky!
ALLITERATION:
This consists in the repetition of the same sound or syllable at the beginning of two or more words:
  • Glittering through the gloomy glads.
  • Full fathom five thy father lies.
  • A load of learning limbering in his head.
  • A strong man struggling with the storms of fate.
  • Wilful waste makes woeful want.
  • Rum seize thee, ruthless king.
  • An Austrian- army awfully arrayed.
  • A reeling road, rambles round the shine.
HYPERBOLE OR EXAGGERATION:
In hyperbole a statement is made emphatic by overstatement. Such language is not meant to be taken literally:
  • She shed an ocean of tears.
  • Belinda smiled, and all the world was gay.
  • I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothers could not make up their sum.
  • The sky shrunk upward with unusual dread.
  • Ten thousands saw I at a glance.
  • All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.
OXYMORON:
It is a figure of speech which combines two seemingly contradictory elements:
  • He is regularly irregular.
  • This is like a living death.
  • And having nothing, he had all.
  • Our sweatest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts.
  • His honour rooted in dishonour stood.
  • The kind cruelty of the surgeon’s knife.
EUPHEMISM:
By this figure of speech we speak in gentle and favourable terms of some person, object, or event which is ordinarily seen in less pleasing light.
  • He was gathered to his forefathers (= he died).
  • He was Her Majesty’s guest (= in prison) for two years.
  • Discord fell on the music of his soul.
  • He were no less a loving soul although he was so broken-hearted.
CLIMAX:
This is a Greek word signifying a ladder. This figure raises the sense by successive steps to what is more and more important and impressive.
  • I came. I saw. I conquered.
  • I laugh, I run, I leap, I sing. I dance for joy.
  • I thought. I built it. I lived here forever.
  • We planned, we laboured, we succeeded in our mission.
  • They moved, they stopped their rivals, and they won the match.
ANTICLIMAX OR BATHOS:
This is just opposite to climax and signifies a ludicrous descent form the higher to lower
  • He lost his wife, his daughter, his son and his watch.
  • Here thou great Anna! Whom three realms obey. Dost sometimes counsel take — and sometimes tea.
PARADOX:
A paradox is a statement which, though outwardly contradictory, is perhaps really well founded:
  • There is no one so poor as a wealthy miser.
  • There is plenty in poverty.
  • He that loses his life shall save it.
PUN:
This consists in a play on the various meanings of a word and is mostly used in humorous sense:
  • Is life worth living? That depends on the liver.
  • Yes, the leopard changes its spots, whenever it does from one spot to another.
  • An ambassador is a man who lies abroad for the good of his country.
IRONY:
Sometimes, a statement is made more emphatic by the use of words denoting the opposite of what is really meant. This is called irony.
  • She speaks ironically other unnatural sisters as “the jewels of our father.”
  • ­Yet Brutus says he is ambitious, and Brutus is an honourable man.
ONOMATOPOEIA:
When words echo their sense through their sound effect we have the Figure of onomatopoeia.
  • And beauty born of murmuring sound.
  • I heard the water lapping on the crag.
  • The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
  • The moan of doves in immemorial elms.
  • The curfew lolls the knell of parting day.
  • Grunt, grunt goes the hog.
  • Our echoes roll from soul to soul.
ANTITHESIS:
This means the setting of one thing against another. This figure of speech consists in an explicit statement of an implied contrast.
  • Man proposes. God disposes.
  • To err is human, to forgive divine.
  • Speech is silver, but silence is golden.
  • He can bribe but he cannot seduce, he cannot deceive.
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
EPIGRAM:
The language of epigram must be marked by wit and brevity.
  • We all have sufficient strength to endure the misfortunes of others.
  • Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.
  • Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.
  • Treason doth never prosper; what is the reason?

Why, if it prosper; none dare call it treason.

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