on Language
Figures of Speech from His
Point of View
Rhetorical Questions
Mother Simpson: [singing] ’How many roads must a
man walk down before you can call him a man?’
Homer: ’Seven.’
Lisa: ‘No, dad, it's a rhetorical question.’
Homer:’ OK, eight.’
Lisa: ‘Dad, do you even know what "rhetorical"
Homer: ‘Do I know what "rhetorical" means?’
Rhetorical Question: n. a question asked solely to
produce an effect or to make an assertion and not to elicit a
Homeric Rhetorical Question
Books are useless! I only ever read one book, To Kill A
Mockingbird, and it gave me absolutely no insight on how
to kill mockingbirds! Sure it taught me not to judge a man
by the color of his skin . . . but what good does that do
me? (Homer)
Verbal Irony
“’Owww, look at me, Marge, I'm making people happy! I'm
the magical man, from Happy Land, who lives in a
gumdrop house on Lolly Pop Lane! . . . By the way I was
being sarcastic’” (Homer).
Verbal Irony: a literary technique in which the writer or
speaker says one thing but really means the opposite.
More often than not, it is accompanied by sarcasm.
“’The only monster here is the gambling
monster that has enslaved your mother! I call
him Gambler, and it's time to snatch your
mother from his neon claws!’” (Homer).
Personification: a nonhuman thing or quality is
talked about as if it were human (e.g., the hands
of a clock or an angry sky).
(Nordquist, Homer Simpson’s)
“Though sometimes misjudged as a complete moron, Homer is actually a deft
manipulator of the oxymoron” (Nordquist).
“’Oh Bart, don't worry, people die all the time. In fact,
you could wake up dead tomorrow’" (Homer).
Oxymoron: a figure of speech that combines apparently
contradictory or opposing ideas, typically an adjective
and a noun, in order to create meaning and draw
attention to a particular idea (e.g., living death,
deafening silence, or cruel love).
(Nordquist, Homer Simpson’s)
Paradox vs. Oxymoron
Paradox: a figure of speech in which the
statement appears to contradict itself but is,
nevertheless, true. All forms of irony involve
Subtle but Significant:
Oxymoron vs. Paradox
 A combination of two
contradictory terms
Comes with only two to three
words that contradict
Considered to be a description
of a phrase that is contradictory
Two words (typically and adj.noun or adv. –adj.) stand next
to each other
The words seem to be
contradictory, but provide a
dramatic effect
 A statement or a group of
Apparently a contradictory
statement that leads to a true
situation that defies intuition
Considered to be an action
that is contradictory
A logic statement
contradicting itself
A statement that contains
opposing elements that when
read together make some
1. Paradox is a statement or group of statements. Oxymoron is a
combination of two contradictory terms.
2. Paradox consists of a whole sentence or paragraph. Oxymoron, on the
other hand, comes with only two words that contradict themselves.
3. Paradox is an action that is contradictory and oxymoron is a description
of a phrase.
Euphemism: the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague
expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or
Bart’s overweight friend Martin Prince seeks help to lose
weight in one of the episodes and the boy’s father tries to
make light (note my use of pun?) of the situation:
Mr. Prince: We’ll see you when you get back from image
enhancement camp.
Martin Prince: Spare me your euphemisms! It’s fat camp, for
Daddy’s chubby little secret!
(Nordquist, Language Lessons)
Look out
here we come!
The Simpsons Stick it to
the English Language
Some More!
Identify the fragments after enjoying the verbal sparring!
Lisa: Almost done. Just lay still.
Linguo the Grammar Robot: Lie still.
Lisa: I knew that. Just testing.
Linguo: Sentence fragment.
Lisa: “Sentence fragment” is also a sentence fragment.
Linguo: Must conserve battery power.
(Nordquist, Language Lessons)
Connotation: the idea and feeling the reader associates with
the word, as opposed to its dictionary definition. For
example, the word mother in addition to its basic meaning
(“a female parent”), has the connotations of love, warmth,
and security. Remember D for dictionary definition as a
Lisa: “A rose by any other name smells as sweet.”
Bart: “Not if you call them ‘Stench Blossoms.”
(Nordquist, Language Lessons)
Suffixes: Remember to Use Your
Vocabulary Know How!
Prefixes, suffixes, and basic Latin and Greek roots will help you
enormously on the PASS. Take your time to decode what you
think at first sight you don’t know.
Watch for confusables!
Dr. Nick Rivera: Who would have thought? Inflammable means
Review those common prefixes and suffixes I’ve taught you!
Homer: Good things doen’t end in –eum; they end in –mania or –
Based on what you know, do you agree with Homer?
(Nordquist, Language Lessons)
Types of Sentences:
Imperatives and Exclamations
Imperatives: Sentences that give a command, typically “you
understood.” Sometimes the recipient of the command is
Homer: “Shut up, Brain, or I’ll stab you with a Q-tip.”
Exclamations: Sentences that exclaim something and end
with an exclamation point. They express strong emotion.
Homer: I can’t believe it! Reading and writing actually paid
(Nordquist, Language Lesons)
Commercial ~
So much yet to
"Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?"
About.com/Animated TV;
Erotesis: a form of a rhetorical question implying
strong affirmation or denial
A rhetorical term for the repetition of a word or phrase at
the beginning of successive clauses.
I want to shake off the dust of this one-horse town. I want to
explore the world. I want to watch TV in a different time
zone. I want to visit strange, exotic malls. I’m sick of eating
hoagies! I want a grinder, a sub, a foot-long hero! I want to
LIVE, Marge! Won’t you let me live? Won’t you, please?
(inhabiting the spirit of Susan Hayward). (Homer)
Dear Lord, thank you for this microwave bounty,
even though we don't deserve it. I mean . . . our kids
are uncontrollable hellions! Pardon my French, but
they act like savages! Did you see them at the picnic?
Oh, of course you did. You're everywhere, you're
omnivorous. Oh Lord! Why did you spite me with this
family? (Homer)
Malapropism: Absurd or humorous misuse of a word,
especially by confusion with one of similar sound.
Adjective: malapropian or malapropistic.
Works Cited
Nordquist, Richard. “Homer Simpson's Figures of Speech Tripping Over Tropes With
Springfield's Master Rhetorician.” About.ComGuide
Nordquist, Richard. “Language Lessons From ‘The Simpsons’: Linguistic Laugh Lines
From Bart, Lisa, Slideshow Bob, and Krusty the Clown.” About.com Guide