7001Wk13 Style Tone Fig

Complete the sentences and identify
how figurative language is used.
I came, I saw, ...
Life is like …
(was a large display ad at BCIT near the end of
May) Miata...
(radio ad, with music) Sleep Country
as Canadian as…. (Peter Gzowski CBC
radio contest radio contest)
Style, Tone, Diction,
Figurative Language
(SSW, Ch. 1 ,6; W. Horner,Rhetoric in the Classical Tradition, 299-318)
identify, analyse, practice, and evaluate:
 style & tone: point of view, jargon, genre
 diction: concrete and abstract meanings
 figurative language: pun, metaphor,
simile, personification, exaggeration,
understatement onomatopoeia, repetition,
parallelism, alliteration, assonance.
Rhetorical Effect
Rhetorical effect: the response that the
manner of writing - not the message generates in the reader.
Create a desired effect though
 style and tone (related to discourse ctty)
 level of diction (word choice & placement)
 stylistic techniques (e.g., figurative
Style, Jargon, & Genre
jargon: related to OF : chattering / warbling
“technical or secret vocabulary of a science, art,
trade, sect, profession”; (M. Cowley’s neologism)
language that helps define and is understood by
members of a discourse community
often associated with specific genres (detective
novels, sermons, hip-hop, text messaging) or
contexts / discourse communities (academic,
professional, blogs, friends & family)
Diction, or Word Choice
words as part of sentences, paragraph,
and essays
Choose words
 with correct meanings
 based on subject, audience, genre,
intent, using appropriately
 abstract
and concrete words
 level of formality (formal, informal,
technical, colloquial)
Meanings: Concrete & Abstract
be clear about word meanings: make sure
words you use mean what you think they do.
If you’re not sure, use a dictionary
in general, choose concrete, specific words
over abstract words:
concrete: can be perceived with our senses; evoke
precise, vivid imagery; help specify what we mean
and enhance communication
abstract: not sense-perceivable; images created by
abstract terms differ from person to person
Tropes and Schemes
Tropes: altered
 Pun
 Metaphor
 Simile
 Personification
 Exaggeration
 Understatement
 Onomatopoeia
 Neologism - new word
Schemes: altered
word order
 Balance - parallelism
 Repetition
 Sound - alliteration
 Sound - assonance
the most familiar form of figurative language
a play on the meaning of words:
1 word, 2 different senses (hang, creep)
words that sound similar or alike but have different
meanings (bearing / Bering; grader / grater)
single word with two different meanings in one
sentence - a.k.a. “equivocation:” (running out of the
pen -- ink and pig)
can be serious, profound, or humorous, as in
these* student exam answers *Harper’s, Dec. 05:
Proteins are composed of a mean old acid.
The equator is an imaginary lion that runs around the
world forever
the most important and widely used form of
figurative language
an implied comparison between two unlike
Often, metaphors lose their comparative sense
and become part of everyday language
can be simple, or extended or dead
 “we must stay the course” in Afghanistan
 the heart of the matter
Simile / Onomatopoeia
Simile: an explicit comparison between two
unlike things, signaled by use of “like” or “as”
 as with metaphor, enriches meaning by
bringing in connotations of a word or
as crazy as a loon
 Life is like …
Onomatopoeia: using words whose sound
reinforces their meaning:
clatter, rush, crackle, bang, snarl, slapped
writer or speaker attributes human or animate
qualities to an inanimate object; very common!
The wind roared -- wind doesn’t have an actual voice
The leg of the table -- does a table have a head?
arms? eyes?
* examples from student exams suggest the
need humans have to project themselves & life
on the world around us, in order to understand:
The cause of dew is the earth revolving on its own
axis and perspiring freely.
A vibration is a motion that cannot make up its mind
which way it wants to go.
Exaggeration / Understatement
Hy-PER-bo-le: deliberate exaggeration for
died laughing
 “Ultimately there could be a Uranium card…” (TYS)
LIT-o-tes: intensifies an idea by understating it:
He’s not the best student in the world.
can add metaphor: “elevator doesn’t go to
the top floor”
“This label contains five more words than the one
on a nuclear bomb.” (Told You So)
Hyperbole & understatement call attention to
what you’re saying, & can be combined with
Repetition and Parallelism
crucial to effective spoken discourse
Repeating word or patterns of words can
reinforce meaning and provide emphasis
Ecclesiastes: “a time to...”
choruses in popular songs
Parallelism expresses similar or related ideas
in similar grammatical construction; very
effective; jarring when it’s missing
Told You So, p.18: “…agitated about mechanisms
of injury that are relatively minor or unlikely…while
shrugging off those that are serious and prevalent
Alliteration and Assonance
Alliteration: commonly used; repetition of the
same sound at the beginning of successive
words; can edge towards being a rhyme
in summer season, when the sun was soft...
…little old lady got mutilated last last night /
Werewolves of London again (Warren Zevon,
“Werewolves of London”)
Assonance: repetition of sounds within words
“..extinguished now, and gone from us forever” (Ossie
Davis, “Eulogie for Malcom X”)
Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness / Thou foster
child of silence and slow time (John Keats, “Ode on a
Grecian Urn”)
Figurative language & parallelism (mis)used -- at times
creatively-- by students in assignments
When a planet first forms, it is like a big ball of
Water is composed of two gins, oxygin and hydrogin.
Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water.
The skeleton is what is left after the insides have
been taken out and the outsides have been taken off.
The purpose of the skeleton is something to hitch
meat to.
submitted by elementary, secondary, and post-secondary teachers to Richard
Lederer; excerpted in Harper’s Magazine, Dec. 2005, 19-20
student answers - from Harper’s Magazine, cont.
Men are mammals and women are
Clouds are high-flying fogs. I am not sure
how clouds get formed. But the clouds know
how to do it, and that is the important thing.
Clouds just keep circling the earth around
and around. And around. There is not much
else to do.
Algebra was the wife of Euclid.
Many dead animals of the past changed to
fossils while others preferred to be oil.
Figurative Language: sentences
“I came, I saw, I conquered” (parallelism)- J. Caesar
“Veni, Vidi, Vici” in Latin also = alliteration and assonance
“Miata here” (pun) - pitched to graduating students in a BCIT
poster ad; “pronounced ‘me outta here’”
“Life is like a box of chocolates” (simile) - Forest Gump: “you
never know what you’re going to get” - others answers are
“Sleep Country Canada: why buy a mattress anywhere
else?” (alliteration of s,c,l; assonance of “e”; rhyme - “why buy”)
“as Canadian as possible, given the circumstances” (P.
Gzowski CBC radio contest; subverted simile)