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1 Diction Lecture 1
2 Diction Diction is the choice and the use of words
3 "The difference between the right word and the almost- right word is as great as that between lightning and the lightning bug." —Mark Twain
4 Word: the unit of meaning and structure Types of the words According to its feature: --Content words & functional words (meaning) (structure) According to its part of speech: --N. V. Adv. Adj. and etc. According to its frequency: --Active words & passive words Words that you can understand and can use freely. Words that you can understand but can not use freely.
5 How to make a good diction? By: Using the Appropriate Word —Level of words Using the Exact Word —Meaning of words Using Figurative Language —Figures of speech
6 I. Using the Appropriate Word Choosing the appropriate word is essential in expressing your ideas accurately and decently( 合适的 ). Words are appropriate when they suit your subject and the purpose of your writing, the role you are assuming, the attitude you want to project, and the readers you are writing for.
7 Levels of Words Words are generally classified into four groups according to different levels of usage or formality: Formal Standard or common Colloquial or informal Slang
8 English Standard English Nonstandard English Formal words Common words Colloquial words Slang words Dialectal words Certain words used by uneducated people Jargon ( 行话 ) Obsolete( 过时的、已废弃的语言 ) Written
9 Formal Words Formal words may also be called learned words, or literary words, or “big” words. Most of them are of Greek of Latin origin. Formal words are more commonly used on addresses, eulogies （颂词、悼词）, articles for scholarly journals （学术期刊）, technical reports, legal documents, etc. Formal English avoids contractions （缩略语） and colloquial expressions and therefore sounds different from the way average people speak.
10 Characteristics of formal words: 1) Mainly appear in formal writing, such as scholarly or theoretical works, political and legal documents, and formal lectures and addresses. 2) Many such words contain three or more than three syllables. 3) Most of them are of Greek or Latin origin. 4) They are seldom used in daily conversation, except for special purposes.
11 Example: There is nothing new in the recognition, within a given language, of a distinction between common usage and uses of the language for more restricted purposes and often enough, perhaps characteristically, more elevated purposes. The monolithic nature of English is not questioned when literary essayists （随笔、散文作家） like Emerson contrast poetry and common speech. The latter is recognized in American to be the proper subject for the investigation of Linguists who, however, now show some incipient inclination to investigate poetry, too, and other non-casual utterances in a given language.
13 Standard or Common Words Standard or common words are those used by the widest group of educated speakers and writers. Common words are popular in college writing, and are often employed in newspaper, textbooks, non-fiction, best sellers, etc. Common English is easy to understand, and complies （同 … 相符） well with the written language.
14 Characteristics of common words: 1) They are used by people every day. 2) They can be found in all kinds of writing.
15 Example: When I was a kid, and reading every science fiction book in the local library, I used to wonder exactly how the future would happen. By that I don’t mean what the future would be like----science fiction already told me that----but rather how we’d actually get there. Science fiction books seemed to agree, for example, that in the future there would be no money----all transactions would be made via identity cards and centralized computers. But that seemed dubious （半信半疑的） to me: how, I wondered, are you going to get everybody to give up money in the first place?
16 Note: kid (colloquial) child (common) transaction (a little formal ， standard) business/trade (common) dubious (a little formal,standard) doubtful/unlikely (common)
17 Colloquial or Informal Words Colloquial or informal words are usually short words of one or two syllables and most of them are of Saxon origin. Colloquial or informal words are often used in spoken language and in writing aimed for a conversational effect.
18 Characteristics of colloquial words: 1) They are mainly used in informal or familiar conversation. 2) They are seldom used in formal writing, and in literary works their main use is to record people's thoughts and dialogues. 3) They are usually short words of one or two syllables. 4) Most of them are of Saxon origin (i. e., not borrowed from Greek, Latin, or French).
19 Example: You have your tension. Sometimes you come close to having an accident, that upsets you. You just escape maybe by a hair or so. Sometimes maybe you get a disgruntled( 不满的 ) passenger on there, and starts a big argument. Traffic. You have someone who cuts you off or stops in front of the bus. There’s a lot of tension behind that. You got to watch all the time. You’re watchin’ the drivers, you’re watchin’ other cars. Most of the time you have to drive for the other drivers, to avoid hitting them. So you take the tension home with you.
20 Note: by a hair or so :by a little chance on there :There cuts you off : make you suddenly stop There’s : There is got to :Must You’re : You are watchin’ : watching
21 Slang Words Slang refers to novel and colorful expressions that reflect a certain group’s special experiences. Slang is used by almost all groups of people, from musicians and computer scientists to vegetarians and golfers, or uneducated speaker. Slang displays endless inventiveness. It may be vivid and interesting, but is imprecise for effective writing, and is generally inappropriate for college or business writing.
22 Example: I’ll attend to that myself in th’ mornin’. I’ll take keer o’’im. He ain’t from this country no how. I’ll go down there in th’ mornin’ and see’im. Lettin’ you leave your books and gallivant( 闲逛 ) all over th’ hills. What kind of a school is it nohow! Didn’t do that, my son, when I’s a little shaver in school.
23 Note: th’ mornin’: the morning take keer o’’im: take care of him see’im: see him Lettin’: Let nohow: anyhow I’s: I was a little shaver: a little boy
24 Exercise 1 Please explain the underlined words with some more common words. 1. A bizarre experiment in the United States has demonstrated that psychiatrists can not distinguish effectively between people who are mentally disturbed and those who are sane. bizarre (formal)demonstrate (formal)mentally disturbed (formal) 2. At the end of the interview they told me that I would be notified of any vacancies suitable to my experience and qualifications. notify (formal) vacancy (formal) 3. A very trivial circumstance will serve to exemplify this. trivial (formal)circumstance (formal) 4. The absence of variation in the result of our experiments gave us confidence in the scientific law. absence (formal)variation (formal) 5. In a scientific inquiry, a fallacy, great or small, is always of importance and is sure to be, in the long run, productive of mischievous results. fallacy (formal)be productive of (formal)mischievous (formal)
25 1. A bizarre experiment in the United States has demonstrated that psychiatrists can not distinguish effectively between people who are mentally disturbed and those who are sane. bizarre (formal)demonstrate (formal)mentally disturbed (formal) strange (common)prove (common)mad (common) odd (common)show (common) 2. At the end of the interview they told me that I would be notified of any vacancies suitable to my experience and qualifications. notify (formal) vacancy (formal) tell (common) job (common) 3. A very trivial circumstance will serve to exemplify this. trivial (formal)circumstance (formal) common (common)incident (common) small (common) thing (common) 4. The absence of variation in the result of our experiments gave us confidence in the scientific law. absence (formal)variation (formal) lack (common)difference, change (common) 5. In a scientific inquiry, a fallacy, great or small, is always of importance and is sure to be, in the long run, productive of mischievous results. fallacy (formal)be productive of (formal)mischievous (formal) mistake (common)produce (common)harmful (common) cause (common)
26 Exercise 2 Identify the level of the following sentences: When his dad died, Pete had to get another job. After his father’s death, Peter had to change his job. On the decease of his father, Mr. Brown was obliged to seek alternative employment. Pete’s old woman hit the roof when he came home with that doll from the disco. Peter’s wife was very angry when he came home with the girl from the discotheque.
27 When his dad died, Pete had to get another job. (collo.) After his father’s death, Peter had to change his job. (com.) On the decease of his father, Mr. Brown was obliged to seek alternative employment. (fml.) Pete’s old woman hit the roof when he came home with that doll from the disco. (colloquial, slang-impolite) Peter’s wife was very angry when he came home with the girl from the discotheque. (common)
28 Diction Lecture 2
29 II. Using the Exact Word The exact word suits to your purpose, your meaning, and your reader’s background, interests, and expectations. To choose the exact word, you must be clear about the denotation and connotation of a word, the differences between general and specific words, abstract and concrete words, and have a good mastery of English idioms.
30 The Meaning of Words Denotation: is the specific, direct, and explicit meaning of a word. The denotative meaning of a word comes directly from its referent and is mostly gained from a dictionary Connotation: is the associative or suggestive meaning of a word. The connotative meaning is personal and mostly deduced from one’s experience.
31 Two aspects of the meaning of a word: The meaning of a word Denotative Connotative literal meaning as defined by dictionary feeling or idea suggested by the word
32 Synonyms Since the connotations of words may vary along a number of dimensions, it is difficult to find two words that are exactly the same in meaning and use (structure). They may be identical, but they will never be equivalent. Usually, the common dimensions will be from “informal” to “formal”, from “weak” to “strong”, from “emotionless” to “emotional”, from “favorable” to “unfavorable” or form different collocations.
33 Synonyms can be different in: 1) connotation （词的本意） 2) stylistic level 3) the degree of emphasis 4) emotional coloring 5) tone 6) collocation （搭配）
34 Example Synonyms: country nation state land country nation state land area of land and its population and government the people of a country the government or political organization of a country country (less precise but more literary and emotive)
35 The degree of emphasis Synonymsbiglargehuge “Large” is more formal than “big”. “ Large” is more emphatic than “big”. “Huge” is more literary than “big” and “large”. “Huge” is more emphatic than “large”. “Big” is more informal than “large” and “huge”.
36 Different emotional coloring and tone synonyms small little objective feeling of fondness different in emotional coloring synonyms modest humble lack of pride virtue undue self-depreciation laudatory( 褒义 ) derogatory （贬义） different in tone
37 Different collocation Large great big ： a large amount/number/quantity of great courage/confidence/ability/wisdom big difference/mistake/argument/money
38 Example: informal-formal ask : informal question: ask many questions interrogate: suggesting that the person is being held by force and asked questions which they are unwilling to answer. He asked about his new job. Two men are being questioned by the police in connection with the robbery. The Japanese officers were interrogated as prisoners of war.
39 Example: informal-formal time: a period; a period in history age: a particular period in history epoch: long period in history, marked by important events It will take you a long time to learn French properly. In ancient times, people wore clothes made of fur. He has reached his retirement age. They were living in the Stone Age/Iron Age. The first flight into space marked a new epoch in the history of mankind. The steam-engine was an epoch-making event.
40 Example: informal-formal rise: go up; get higher mount: formal go up; climb ascend: formal go to a higher level, climb Smoke rose from the factory chimneys. The old lady mounted the stairs with difficulty. He ascended the stairs. Victoria ascended the throne. (became queen)
41 Example: weak-strong big : big large : unusually big huge : extremely large emphatic (formal) Put the books in the big box. Wuhan is a big/large city in Central China. The team has got a huge man over two meters tall.
42 Example: emotionless-emotional small: (emotionless) little: (implying a feeling of fondness) They lived in a small town. (describing the area) I can never forget the little town where I spent my happy childhood. (I like it.)
43 Example: favorable-unfavorable modest: not proud (a virtue, laudatory/favorable) humble: having a low opinion of oneself (derogatory/ unfavorable) Modest and hardworking, he made very quick progress at school. Clearly Gompers was overawed by Wilson. His face took on a servile look; his voice was humble.
44 Example: synonyms proud: showing proper and reasonable respect for oneself; having too high opinion of oneself arrogant: unpleasantly proud, with an unreasonable strong belief in one’s own importance haughty: seeming to consider oneself better or more important than others; arrogant insolent: showing disrespectful rudeness They are poor but too proud to accept money from the state. The arrogant official did not listen to people’s protest. The haughty look of the young lady made everyone kept a distance from her. The insolent children rushed into the house without greeting the guests.
45 Not Necessarily Synonyms Do not take the Chinese equivalent of an English word as its exact meaning, or understanding the meaning of an English word from its Chinese equivalent. English words that may be translated into the same Chinese expression are not necessarily synonyms. Because usually an English word has no exact Chinese equivalent and it has to be translated in different ways in different contexts.
46 Example: Family: a group of people, including parents, children, grandparents, uncles, aunts, living together home: the place where one lives (denotation) warmth, safety, comfort, love/coldness, burden (connotation) The whole family came to visit us at Christmas. I left my exercise book at home.
47 Example: except: leaving out; not including besides: in addition to; as well as We were tired except/besides John. strict: exact rigid: stiff, inflexible, difficult to change We should obey the regulations strictly. We shouldn’t obey the regulations rigidly.
48 3.Exercise: Choose the more suitable word from the two provided for each blank in the following sentences, and give reasons for your choice. 1. She is an ______(eminent, imminent) artist in this city. As a result of overpopulation, a depression seems ________(eminent, imminent) in this rich country. Eminent is used to describe a person; an eminent person is famous and distinguished. Imminent (about to happen, likely to happen soon) is used to describe an event, especially an unpleasant one. 2. There will be_______(farther, further) changes in the itinerary( 旅行路线 ). This group of explorers went ________(farther, further) in the desert than that one. Further and farther are both comparative forms of far. As adjective, both are used only before noun. The adjective further means “more or additional” while the adjective farther means “more distant”. As an adverb further can be used interchangeably with farther. In spoken English it is more useful to use further. 3. He tried_______(hard, hardly) but failed to finish his work in time. The interpreter could _______(hard, hardly) catch up with the fluent speaker. Hard may be used as either an adjective or an adverb (used after verb). If you work hard (doing something), you are “using a lot of effort, energy, or attention.” Hardly is an adverb meaning “almost not”.
49 4. What the minister has said______(implies, infers) that there will be a change in the economic policy. From his statement the listeners ______(imply, infer) that there will be a change in the economic policy. Imply means “to suggest that something is true, without saying this directly”; infer means “to form an opinion that something is probably true because of information that you have.” 5. _______(Its, It’s) Jim who has helped me. I like the cut of the jacket, but I don’t like ______(its, it’s) color. It’s is the short form of it is; its, the possessive form of it. 6. He______(lay, laid) on the grass, looking at the sky. He_______(lay, laid) his pen on the desk and began reading. Laid is the past tense of lay (=place), which means “to put something/someone down carefully into a flat position.” Lay is the past tense of lie, which means “to be in a position in which your body is flat on the floor, on a bed, etc.” 7. The director is a very______(practical, practicable) man; he has no fanciful ideas. These plans are good and ______(practical, practicable). Practical and practicable are both adjectives. Practical can be used to describe a person; a practical person is “good at dealing with problems and making decisions based on what is possible and what will really work.” Practicable means “that can be put into practice; workable.”
50 8. She is______(proud, arrogant) of the success her group has won. That nobleman often speaks in a (an) ______(proud, arrogant) tone. Proud is a fairly general word used to say that someone is pleased with themselves, pleased with what they have achieved, or pleased with something or someone connected with them. Arrogant is a disapproving word meaning that someone thinks they are better than other people. 9. I_____ (hope, wish) she will recover quickly from her illness. I_____ (hope, wish) she were here with us. Hope is used to talk about things that could happen, or could be true; wish is used to talk about things that are not true, not possible, or very unlikely. 10. I ______(doubt, suspect) whether this plan will work. I _____(doubt, suspect) that he is not telling the truth. Doubt means “to think that something may not be true or that it is unlikely”; suspect means “to think that something is probably true, especially something bad.”
53 General and Specific Words General words name classes or groups of things. These words are needed in classification and definition Specific words refer to examples of a group. Specific and concrete nouns express meaning more vividly than general or abstract ones.
54 General and specific are relative terms, because there are degrees of generality. e.g.ProfessionalScientistsChemists BuildingHouseLog cabin Clothes Swimming suit Bikini general specific
55 Example: house mansion: a large house, usu. belonging to a wealthy person villa: a pleasant country house in its own garden, often used for only part of the year for holidays, esp. in southern Europe: We ’ re renting a villa in the south of France for the summer. Chateau: a castle or large country house in France bungalow: a house which is all on one level cabin: 1. a room on a ship usu. used for sleeping 2. the small enclosed space at the front of an aircraft in which the pilot sits 3. a small roughly built usu. wooden house: They lived in a little log cabin. hut: a small simply-made building: They lived in a mud hut/a wooden hut. shack: a small roughly built house or hut shanty: a small roughly built usu. wooden or metal house shed: a lightly built single-floored building, often wooden, used esp. for storing: a tool shed/cattle shed/garden shed/an airplane shed barn: a farm building for storing crops and food for animals, or for keeping animals
56 Example: laugh beam: to smile brightly and happily: eg. He beamed (a cheerful welcome) as he opened the door. guffaw: to laugh loudly, and perhaps rudely chortle: v. n. (to give) a laugh of pleasure and satisfaction eg. He chortled with delight when I told him my news. chuckle: to laugh quietly: eg. I could hear him chuckling to himself as he read his book. snigger: (derog.), To laugh quietly and secretly in a disrespectful way: eg.The children sniggered at the old lady ’ s strange hat. giggle: to laugh quietly in a silly childish uncontrolled way: eg. Stop giggling, girls; this is a serious matter. grin: to make a wide smile
57 Exercise 1 Arrange the following nouns according to degrees of generality: 1. German shepherd animal creature dog 2. flowers tulips plant creature nature 3. transport vehicle plane Boeing757 man-made device 4. a cold illness trouble thing 5. Aunt Sally a relative people acquaintance 6. novel Pride and Prejudice literature writing 7. scientists professionals chemists biochemists (4. What distinction do hot cold, flu and aspic cold have ?)
58 Idioms An idiom is a fixed group of words with a special meaning which is different from the meanings of the words that form it. Usually, problems in idiom are caused by collocation, especially the collocation of prepositions and verbs or adjectives
59 Example: phrasal verb put up with : inf. to suffer (something annoying or unpleasant) without complaining eg. I can’t put up with your rudeness any more; leave the room. That woman has a lot to put up with. (=has many trouble) turn out: 1. To stop the operation of (a light) by turning a switch eg. Turn the light out. 2. (turn somebody out) to force to leave; send away eg. Her father turned her out (of the house) when she became pregnant. 3. to come out or gather (as if) for a meeting, public event, etc. eg. Enormous crowds turn out for the procession. 4. (turn out something )informal to produce; make eg. This factory can turn out 100 cars a day.
60 Example: phrasal verb 5. (turn out something ) to clear or empty the contents of (a cupboard, drawer, etc.) eg. The policeman told him to turn out his pockets. 6. to happen to be, or be found to be, in the end. eg. It’s turned out nice and sunny again. The party turned out a success. (=although we thought it might not be) To our surprise the stranger turned out to be (=we discovered that he was) an old friend of my mother’s. His statement turned out to be false.
61 Example: phrasal verb Look forward to : to expect with pleasure eg. I’m really looking forward to your party. I look forward to receiving your reply as soon as possible. Carry on: 1. to continue, esp. in spite of an interruption or difficulties eg. We can carry on our discussion after lunch. 2. Informal to behave in a foolish, excited, or anxious manner eg. You should have heard her carrying on when we told her the news. I wish you’d stop carrying on (=complaining) about it. Come across: 1. to meet, find, or discover, esp.. By chance eg. she came across some old letters in the course of her search. 2. to be effective and well received eg. Your speech came across very well.
62 Example: n.+prep.+n. A straw in the wind: a sign of what may happen eg. These stories of arms build-up along the border are straws in the wind. The apple of one’s eye: inf. one’s favorite person or thing like a fish out of water: uncomfortable because one is in a strange place; in a world of one’s own
63 Example: prep.+n. in kind: 1. (of payment) using goods or natural products rather than money 2. with the same treatment eg. I paid him back in kind for cheating me.=(I cheated him) on the air: broadcasting eg. We shall be on the air in five minutes. at length: 1. (formal) using many words; in great detail eg. She spoke at length about the disadvantage of internet. 2. lit. after a long time; at last eg. At length he returned. With flying colors: very successfully; splendidly eg. He passed his exams with flying colors.
64 Example: v. + n. Won’t hold water: seem not true, reasonable, or believable eg. His explanation of where he got the money from just doesn’t hold water. Slip one’s mind: be out of one’s memory eg. It slipped my mind. (=I forgot it.) kill two birds with one stone: to get two good results from one action eg. Since Wendy lives near my mother, I’ll call in on her as well and kill two birds with one stone. go to the dogs: to become ruined, esp. to change from a better to a worse moral condition. eg. “This country’s going to the dogs!” said the old man.
65 Example: fixed structure as easy as pie: inf. very easy as big as life: not able to be mistaken; real eg. I’d thought he was in American, but when I turned round, there he was, as big as life. as different as night and day as poor as a church mouse wear and tear: the damaging effects of ordinary use over a long period eg. When you calculate the value of the car you must allow for wear and tear. high and dry: in a helpless situation eg. They took all the money and left us high and dry. touch and go: risky; of uncertain result eg. It was touch-and -go whether the doctor would get there in time. in black and white: in writing eg. I want this agreement in black and white.
66 大学英语六级作文专项练 (1) ： Part 5.Writing( 30 minutes ) （一） 1990 年 1 月真题 Directions: For this part you are allowed 30 minutes to write a composition on the topic How to Solve the Problem of Heavy Traffic according to the following OUTLINE. Your composition should be no less than 120 words. Remember that the contents of the OUTLINE should ALL be included in your composition. But you are not supposed to translate the OUTLINE word for word. Write your composition on the Composition Sheet.
67 ( Hand in your composition at the end of this class ! ) OUTLINE 问题：城市交通拥挤 解决方案 (solution) ： 1. 建造 (lay down) 更多道路 优点： (1) 降低街道拥挤程度 (2) 加速车流 (flow of traffic) 缺点：占地过多 2. 开辟 (open up) 更多公共汽车线路 优点：减少自行车与小汽车 缺点：对部分人可能会造成不方便 结论：两者结合
70 Using Figurative Language FIGURES OF SPEECH 1. Simile2. Metaphor3. Personification 4.Metonymy5.Synecdoche 6. Euphemism 7. Irony8. Overstatement and understatement 9. Transferred epithet 10. Oxymoron 11. Alliteration
71 Simile Simile: it is a comparison between two distinctly different things and the comparison is indicated by the word as or like. eg. O my love’s like a red, red rose Robert Burns That man can’t be trusted. He’s as slippery as an eel. The old man’s hair is as white as snow.
72 Patterns of simile 1. X is like Y. (X stands for the literal term/tenor, while Y stands for the figurative term/vehicle.) My wife’s new hat is like a lighthouse. The man walked away like a duck. 2. X…as Y. You can not hope to move me, as you can not expect the sun to rise in the west. I have squandered my life as a schoolboy squanders a tip. 3. X…(as)…as Y: They are as idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean. 4. As Y…(, ) so X…: As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
73 Patterns of simile 5. X is to A what Y is to B: The pen is to a writer what the gun is to a fighter. 6. X…as if (as though) Y: He talked as if he were the president of the United States. The girl screamed as though she had seen a ghost. 7. X is … than Y: She is far sweeter than the flower. 8. X surpasses Y: In clearness, the river water surpasses the purest crystal.
74 Metaphor Metaphor: it is the use of a word which originally denotes one thing to refer to another with a similar quality. It is also a comparison, but the comparison is implied, not expressed with the word as or like. eg. The picture of those poor people’s lives was carved so sharply in his heart that he could never forget it. There was a medieval magnificence about the big dinning-hall. The street faded into a country road with straggling houses by it.
75 Metaphor There were a few lordly poplars before the house. All his former joy was drowned in the embarrassment and confusion he was feeling at the moment. He often prefaced his remarks by “I can’t help thinking…” the charcoal fire glowed and dimmed rhythmically to the strokes of the bellows.
76 Patterns of metaphor Full-length metaphor 1. X (tenor) is Y (vehicle): life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player Shakespeare 2. Y of X: I’ve climbed that damned ladder of politics, and every step has been rough U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey 3. X, Y (in apposition): “you little Mexican rat,” hissed from between Danny’s lips. 4. X or Y (as modifier): The lovely girl has a rosy cheek.
77 Patterns of metaphor “Compressed” metaphor: the metaphor states only one term of the comparison, leaving the other implicit. Leaves got up in a coil and hissed, Blindly struck at my knee and missed.
78 Patterns of metaphor Extended metaphor: a metaphor which is developed by a number of different figurative expressions, extending perhaps over several clauses or sentences, and involving several tenors and vehicles. All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exists and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts Shakespeare
79 Personification Personification is to treat a thing or an idea as if it were human or had human qualities. Youth is hot and bold, Age is weak and cold, Youth is wild, and Age is tame Shakespeare The match will soon be over and defeat is staring us in the face. This time fate was smiling to him.
80 Personification Thunder roared and a pouring rain started. Dusk came stealthily. The storm was raging and an angry sea was continuously tossing their boat. The falling leaves are dancing in the wind. One fine day, fortune smiled on Grandfather. The wind sobbed in the trees.
81 Metonymy Metonymy is substituting the name of one thing for that of another with which it is closely associated. Sword and cross in hand, the European conquerors fell upon the Americas. When the war was over, he laid down the sword and took up the pen. His purse would not allow him that luxury.
82 Synecdoche When a part is substituted for the whole or the whole is substituted for a part, synecdoche is applied. The farms were short of hands during the harvest season. He had to earn his daily bread by doing odd jobs. Germany beat Argentina 2 to 1 in this exciting football match. The poor creature could no longer endure her sufferings.
83 Additional Examples 1. Karajan had ruled his august orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, of which he had been named conductor for life in with a brilliant ear and an iron fist. 2. Everybody knows that John lost his shirt when that business he had invested in failed. 3. The first night it was just a party, a lark, …the second night people’s tempers were getting short and they were pointing fingers. 4. Her behavior when her husband is away causes the neighbors to raise their eyebrows.
84 Additional Examples 5. “New York is the social Olympics,” as one commentator puts it. “The rest are just tryouts.” 6. He hit the panic button when he saw the month’s figures. 7. Earlier in the day, along with a favorite aunt and uncle and a childless neighbor couple------also called “Aunt” and “Uncle” by me since the cradle I had partaken of our family’s traditional Sunday brunch.
85 Euphemism Euphemism is the substitution of a mild or vague expression for a harsh or unpleasant one. To die to pass away, to leave us; one’s heart has stopped beating old people senior citizens mad emotionally disturbed dust man sanitation worker lavatory bathroom, men’s (women’s) room
86 Euphemism invasion, raid military action driving inhabitants away or controlling them pacification concentration camps strategic hamlets In an open barouche… stood a stout gentleman…, two young ladies…and a lady of doubtful age, probably the aunt of the aforesaid,...
87 Irony Irony is the use of words which are clearly opposite to what is meant, in order to achieve a special effect. It was raining heavily. “what fine weather for an outing!” A barbarous act was called civilized or cultural. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a fortune must be in want of a wife. Party maven Martha Stewart: Food in the Soviet Union is fine, if you like pork tartar. Blessed the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.
88 Additional Examples Historically, the desire to hoard gold at home has been primarily an occupation of the working and peasant classes, who have no faith in paper money. George Bernard Shaw defended their instincts eloquently, “You have to choose between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the member of the government,” he said, “and with due respects to these gentlemen, I advise you … to vote for gold.”
89 Additional Examples When the court adjourned, we found Dayton’s streets swarming with strangers. Hawkers cried their wares on every corner. One shop announced: DARWIN IS RIGHT------INSIDE. (This was J.R. Darwin’s Everything to Wear Store). One entrepreneur rented a shop window to display an ape. Spectators paid to gaze at it and pondered whether they might be related. “The poor brute cowered in a corner with his hands over his eyes,” a reporter noted,” afraid it might be true.”
90 Overstatement and Understatement In overstatement the diction exaggerates the subject, and in understatement the words play down the magnitude or value of the subject. Overstatement is also called hyperbole. She is dying to know what job has been assigned her. On hearing that he had been admitted to that famous university, he whispered to himself, “I’m the luckiest man in the world.” it took a few dollars to build this indoor swimming pool. “He is really strange,” his friends said when they heard he had divorced his pretty and loving wife.
91 Additional Examples 1. The two sisters are different in a thousand and one ways. 2. There is a lethal combination of high costs and high ticket prices at work, and fundamentally, one newspaper can shut down a show. 3. In the grain belt, new investments resulted in corn, wheat and soybeans being planted “fencecrow to fencecrow”. Farmers were geared up and going strong, but it didn’t last. With what seemed to be the snap of your fingers, grain prices started a long roller-coaster ride downward in the late 1970s. 4. The result (of the recent local election) encouraged conservative critics who were calling for Thatcher’s scalp in the face of poll-tax protests, 8 percent unemployment, 15 percent- plus interest rates and a huge trade deficit.
92 Additional Examples 5. He had hired physicians well as lawyers, they cried to high heavens that the world kill him to leave the genial climate of the Attic plain. 6. If Saddam Hussein goes out of power, no tear is to be shed. 7. Retired marine Colonel John v. Brennan contracted with the secretive arms dealer to sell Iraq $181 million worth of uniforms. According to a lawsuit filed last march, former Vice President Spiro Agnew served as an “intermediary” between the two. How much money did Agnew make in the deal? Soghnanlian, the dealer, says, “He did not go hungry.”
93 Transferred Epithet An epithet is an adjective or descriptive phrase that serves to characterize somebody or something. A transferred epithet is one that is shifted from the noun it logically modifies to a word associated with that noun. She was so worried about her son that she spent several sleepless nights. In his quiet laziness he suddenly remembered that strange word. The assistant kept a respectful distance from his boss when they were walking in the corridor. He said “Yes” to the question in an unthinking moment. The old man put a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
94 Oxymoron In oxymoron apparently contradictory terms are combined to produce a special effect. The coach had to be cruel to be kind to his trainees. When the news of the failure came, all his friends said that it was a victorious defeat. The president was conspicuously absent on that occasion. She read the long-awaited letter with a tearful smile.
95 Alliteration Alliteration refers to the appearance of the same initial consonant sound in two or more words, such as “proud as a peacock” and “blind as a bat”. Alliteration is often used in poetry to give emphasis to words that are related in meaning: wherefore feed, and clothe, and save, from the cradle to the grave, Those ungrateful drones who would Drain your sweat------nay, drink your blood? Percy Bysshe Shelley
96 Alliteration Alliteration is sometimes used in prose for the same effect to join two or more related words. I see also the dull, drilled, docile, brutish masses of the Hun soldiery plodding on like a swarm of crawling locusts. The Russian danger is therefore our danger, …just as the cause of any Russian fighting for his hearth and home is the cause of free men and free peoples in every quarter of the globe Winston Churchill a speech on Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941
97 Exercise: Name the figure of speech used in each of the following sentences: 1. Her rich relatives rained birthday presents on her only son. (metaphor) 2. Wrong ideas may harm a man just like diseases. (simile) 3. Some words may be defaced by careless usage. (personification) 4. The leaves are trembling in the cold wind. (personification) 5. The storm was so angry that it wanted to destroy everything in its way. (personification) 6. Many people bowed before Force, but eventually Force would surrender to Reason. (personification) 7. Selfless people are like cows, which eat straw but produce milk. (simile) 8. “What do you think of the roast duck?” “Not bad.” (understatement) 9. His friends praised his daughter’s performances to the skies. (overstatment) 10. His writing is clear and clean. (alliteration) 11. His unfriendly tongue surprised her. (transferred epithet) 12. There is fertile soil for popular music in china today. (metonymy)