File - Effective Language

Examining Figures of Speech
• John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the
United States
• At age 43, he was the youngest to have been elected to the
office, the second-youngest president, and the first person born
in the 20th century to serve as president.
• The only Roman Catholic president and the only president to
have won a Pulitzer Prize.
• John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th President at noon on
January 20, 1961.
• He won the election by one of the smallest popular vote
margins in history.
• Kennedy’s goals: (1)to inspire the nation (2) alert the world of
challenges of the Cold War, and (3) promote hope for peace in
the nuclear age.
• He also wanted to be brief (power and poetry)
• He studied other inaugural speeches and Lincoln’s Gettysburg
• The finely-crafted final speech had been revised and
reworked numerous
• 1,355 words in length, comprised of short phrases and words
• captivated his audience required a powerful delivery.
• Following his inaugural address, nearly seventy-five percent of
Americans expressed approval of President Kennedy.
Figures of Speech
Master of rhetoric
Good looking
Graces of language
The dressing of thought
Figures of Speech do decorate prose, but that is not there sole
• According to Aristotle:
• They give clearness and liveliness to our expressions
• They balance our writing between “the obvious and the
• They help our audience grasp our ideas promptly
• According to Longinus:
• They “infuse vehemence and passion into our spoken words”
• “…when combined with argumentative passages it…persuades
the hearer…”
Figures of Speech render out thoughts in a vivid, concrete way.
They stir up emotional responses
Deliver a message clearly and effectively
Allows a writer or speaker’s eloquence exert powerful ethical
appeal f
• “a form of speech artfully varied from common usage”—
• Because language has
figurative resources
• Schemes- deviation from the ordinary pattern or arrangement
of words
• Tropes- deviation from the ordinary and principal signification
of a word
Both involve a change in meaning to a degree
Both involve transference
Trope transfers meaning
Example irony
Scheme transfers order of meaning
Example Hyperbaton
• Alliteration: repetition of the same sound beginning several
words in a sequence
• Example:
• Alie angrily ate apples and acorns.
• Anaphora: repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of
successive phrases, clauses or lines.
• Example:
• Tracy didn’t scream. Tracy didn’t cry. Tracy didn’t say a word—until she
saw the blood.
• Anastrophe: transposition of normal word order
• Example:
• “Good, it is,” Yoda squealed while swinging his light saber, “the force to
know. Geoge Lucus, your father is. ”
• Antithesis: contrast of ideas or words in a parallel structure
• Example
• He’s easy on the heart, but hard on the eyes.
• Assonance: repetition of vowel sounds in non-rhyming words
• Example
• "I lie down by the side of my bride"
• "Fleet feet sweep by sleeping geese"
• "Hear the lark and harden to the barking of the dark fox gone to ground"
by Pink Floyd
• Consonance: repetition of consonant sounds within words or
ending words
• Example
• I'll swing by my ankles.
She'll cling to your knees.
As you hang by your nose,
From a high-up trapeze.
But just one thing, please,
As we float through the breeze,
Don't sneeze.
- The Acrobats by Shel Silverstein
• Metaphor: implied comparison through a figurative, not literal,
use of words
• Example
• Life is a highway, and I just got my driver’s license.
• Simile- an explicit comparison between two unlike things, yet
they have something in common.
• Example
• I sat still, like jelly in a jar.
• Paradox: a statement that seems self-contradictory, yet turns out
to have a rational meaning
• Example
• Mitch is a one-man army.
• Repetition: a word or phrase used two or more times in close
• Example
• “A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.”
• theme song of Mr. Ed, a 1960s TV program.
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