READING AND WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE
List of Rhetorical Devices
Alliteration—repetition of same initial consonant sound
in two or more words appearing closely together; similar to a consonant tongue twister; not to be confused with words starting
with the same letter but must be identical sound; ex. George Jetson, Sweet smell of
success, dime a dozen, jump for joy; Alliteration in pop culture: Dunkin Donuts,
Krispy Kreme, Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Fred Flintstone, Pink Panther, Marvin the Martian,
Chicago Cubs, Seattle Sonics, Los Angeles Lakers, M&Ms, Barry Bonds, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chucky Cheese, Frosted Flake,
Captain Crunch, Count Chocula, Backstreet Boys, Dippin Dots, Sesame Street, Wonder Woman, candy cane, Stanley Steamer, Ping
pong, Jumping Jacks, Tic-Tac-Toe, Porky Pig, Spongebob Squarepants;
Anagram-word that can be rearranged to form another word; ex. “god” and “dog,” “”lemon” and “melon.”
Assonance-an internal vowel rhyme; ex “the rain in Spain stays mainly on the
or trite word
Connotation-an implied meaning, value, or feeling attributed
to a word; a secondary meaning for a word other than the direct definition; For example,
“pansy” is defined as a purple flower, but it has negative connotations often used when referring to a scrawny
male. See also denotation, idiom, and cliché.
dictionary meaning of a word. see connotation.
Figurative Language-language using a figure of speech;
Figure of Speech-a word or expression not intended to be understood
literally; a fancy way of writing helping readers visualize what is said; ex. “get your
goat” means to get the best of someone; see also personification,
idiom, and metaphor.
figure of speech that over-exaggerates
in order to draw attention to itself; it uses a similar technique as a metaphor in that it compares two things, however, the
first thing is being compared to an exaggerated second thing. Hyperbole is often used in stand-up comedy and jokes. Ex. “I could sleep for a year.” “I am so hungry I could eat a horse.” “Yo mamma is so
ugly she scared away the rats.”
Idiom-an expression not meant to be understood literally; second-language
speakers struggle with these because idioms are only used in their native language; ex.
Over the hill, hold your horses, put a sock in it, hard headed.
Metaphor-a figure of speech that makes a comparison, or analogy,
between two things not meant to be understood literally; instead of comparing two things using the words “like”
or “as” a metaphor crafts an exaggerated and unrealistic image in the reader’s mind of something being
something else. Common metaphors may be considered cliché or idioms. ex. Her hair was mess of orange broom bristles. His fingers were long, spindly branches.
Metaphor (Dead metaphor)-a metaphor no longer understood though
it is still used; ex. “Mind your Ps and Qs” doesn’t make sense anymore
but it originated in the English pubs where beer was served in pints and quarts, so “minding your Ps and Qs” was
(Extended metaphor)- a metaphor that lasts more than a sentence; it may last an entire poem or an entire novel.
(Paralogical, or Antimetaphor)-
(Past Tense Metaphor)-
(Simple, or Tight)-
Onomatopoeia- a word that, when spoken, imitates a sound; ex. Buzz, pop, cluck, crack, beep, swish, meow.
Palindrome-a word that reads the same either forwards or backwards;
ex. Anna, level, civic.
Pun-a play on words; occurs when what is said has double-meaning
in a comedic way; a device used often by comedians and joke tellers; puns are often created using words with double meanings, words that sound alike but have different
definitions, or idioms; ex. Q: How did they get the bull to stop
charging? A: They took away his credit card. OR Old doctors never die; they just lose their patients.
Rhetorical Question-a question not meant to be answered; rather,
the question is posed so an audience feels the speaker has anticipated their question; it is also used in persuasive speeches
to punctuate a significant fact; ex. Were you raised in a barn? Do you hear me talking
to you? Are you dumb? Are you kidding me?