Verbal Spice

Verbal Spice:
Read the attached famous speech and identify at least 8 examples of verbal spice. To help you out, there
are words/phrases bolded and/or underlined. This indicated that they are an example of something- you
need merely identify what they are and state WHY the word/phrase is an example. Try to get at least
five different types of spice.
Alliteration & assonance: repeating a sound at the beginning (alliteration) or within (assonance) a word.
The tyranny of terror will be terminated. (T’s = alliteration; r’s = assonance)
Allusion: reference to another work (literature, religion, mythology, history)
Unlike Job’s wife, we must not look back, but must instead look steadily forward.
indirect reference to a person, event or piece of literature
Allusion is used to explain or clarify a complex problem. Note that allusion works best if you keep it short and refer to
something the reader / audience is familiar with, e.g.:
famous people
(Greek) mythology
the bible
If the audience is familiar with the event or person, they will also know background and context. Thus, just a few words are
enough to create a certain picture (or scene) in the readers’ minds. The advantages are as follows:
We don’t need lengthy explanations to clarify the problem.
The reader becomes active by reflecting on the analogy.
The message will stick in the reader's mind
Antithesis: linking words with opposite meanings.
Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish . . .
“Ask not what you country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” –John F. Kennedy
Figurative language is not intended to be interpreted in a literal sense. Appealing to the imagination,
figurative language provides new ways of looking at the world.
Hyperbole: extreme exaggeration to make a point. Not literally true.
Overgeneralization: e.g. “Everybody wants to be an engineer”. No one else could ever fulfill this duty.
Exaggeration in number: e.g. “You’ve probably had hundreds, thousands, of those error messages”.
Exaggeration to an extreme extent: e.g. “I’m starving” I’m so hungry I could eat a train.
Interrupting for emphasis: interrupt a line or phrase
In 1776 –the same year the United States declared its independence- a new frontier in science was
Irony: saying one thing but meaning its opposite
Parallelism: Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that
two or more ideas have the same level of importance. words and phrases echo each other in
length and structure: 4. GRAMMAR of identical syntactic constructions: describes two or more
phrases or clauses in a single sentence that have identical syntactic constructions
I went running, biking, and hiking. (not: I went running, biking, and for a hike.)
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any
burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the
success of liberty."
-- John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address
Not Parallel:
Mary likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bicycle.
Mary likes hiking, swimming, and riding a bicycle.
Example 2
Not Parallel:
The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurate ly, and in a detailed
The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and thoroughly.
Example 3
Not Parallel:
The teacher said that he was a poor student because he waited until the last minute to study
for the exam, completed his lab problems in a careless manner, and his motivation was low.
The teacher said that he was a poor student because he waited until the last minute to study
for the exam, completed his lab problems in a careless manner, and lacked motivation.
Simile make a comparison to extent your meaning beyond a literal level. Simile: uses like/as
His breath smells like a dog died, decomposed a little, and then started on fire.
1. implicit comparison: the use to describe somebody or something of a word or phrase
that is not meant literally but by means of a vivid comparison expresses something about
him, her, or it, e.g. saying that somebody is a snake
2. figurative language: all language that involves figures of speech or symbolism and does
not literally represent real things
3. symbol: one thing used or considered to represent another
words are bullets that can inflict harm; the mind is a territory that can be disputed.
My memory is a little foggy
You are the sunshine of my life
This speech will be my Everest.
Repetition: repeat a sound, word, phrase, or idea.
“Yes we can.”
Rhetorical question: one without an intended answer. (NOT a yes/no question)
What greater respect could you hope for?
TONE: the author’s attitude toward the subject and audience. Needs to fit the purpose & audience.
Language that appeals to the senses. Descriptions of people or objects stated in terms of our senses.
A figure of speech which involves a direct comparison between two unlike things, usually with the words
like or as. Example: The muscles on his brawny arms are strong as iron bands.
A figure of speech which involves an implied comparison between two relatively unlike things using a
form of be. The comparison is not announced by like or as. Example: The road was a ribbon of
Repeated consonant sounds occurring at the beginning of words or within words. Alliteration is used to
create melody, establish mood, call attention to important words, and point out similarities and contrasts.
Example: wide-eyed and wondering while we wait for others to waken.
A figure of speech which gives the qualities of a person to an animal, an object, or an idea. It is a
comparison which the author uses to show something in an entirely new light, to communicate a certain
feeling or attitude towards it and to control the way a reader perceives it. Example: a brave handsome
brute fell with a creaking rending cry--the author is giving a tree human qualities.
The use of words that mimic sounds. They appeal to our sense of hearing and they help bring a
description to life. A string of syllables the author has made up to represent the way a sound really
sounds. Example: Caarackle!
An exaggerated statement used to heighten effect. It is not used to mislead the reader, but to emphasize a
point. Example: She’s said so on several million occasions