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i know what's right and what's wrong. i am cheerful and out going. it's hard for me to find the one that i want, but once i find the right person, i won't be able to fall in love again for a long time.


"Do what you love and you'll be good at it. Sounds simple enough. But what if you love reading comics, playing video games and watching korean dramas until your eyes pop out? Is it possible to make a career out of such things? What's the alternative? Spend all your time wishing you were brave enough to take that leap? Don't let fear stop you from doing what you love. Because ultimately, it's about being true to yourself."


Thursday, 15 April 2010

Poetry: Figures of Speech (part 2)


Hyperbole & Understatement

Hyperbole is a kind of an exaggeration, while understatement is deliberately describing something as being less than what it actually is. Examples for hyperbole are, "The dress is whiter than white," " His smile can make women's heart melt" and "That boy runs faster than a speeding bullet." Some sentences are provided here to illustrate the meaning of understatement; "His love could make women blind, but it could comfort them" and "This room is as cold as the ice in the fridge, but it's rather warm."

Metonymy & Synecdoche

Both of them are carrying the same function as figures of speech. They are used in poetry to replace certain words with the others.

Metonymy is replacing the name of a thing for something else that is closely related to it. It sounds similar to transferred epithet, but they actually differ from each other. If we recall back, transferred epithet is when we transfer the human or animal quality into abstract quality that is closely related to it. As for metonymy, it has nothing to do with so-called human or animal quality, otherwise it is more towards nouns, verbs or anything other than 'adjective.' For example, "He loves the bottle so much." Rather than saying, "He loves to drink a bottle of milk everyday, this is when poets come to use metonymy, to replace the word 'milk' with the word 'bottle.' Other example will be "She works with the press."

Synecdoche is when poets use the only significant part of a thing to represent the whole part of it. For instance, "Will you give me a hand?" The word 'hand' here refers to the person's help which had been requested by the the other person who asked for it. The same goes to "Nice wheels!" instead of "Nice car!" and "Her face is getting older" instead of "She's getting older."

Paradox & Oxymoron

Paradox is a statement that at first glance seems to contradict itself, but then shows a deeper logical meaning. If we found any statements in any poems that we're learning, which contain paradox in it, our first judgment toward those sentences might be, 'this sentence is nonsense!' or we might say 'How can a poet wrote such sentence which seems so impossible!" However, this is what poetry all about. The sentence contained paradox in it might seems impossible in our eyes, but if we not just reading it, but really looking deeply at it, automatically our perception would change as well. Later on, we'll find that the sentence seems illogical at the first sight, but then it will turn into something that is more make sense and not impossible at all! For example, "The child is father of the man." At first, we'll think how come a child be a father of a man, but when we think back, in the future, he'll be. The second example is "A chick comes from an egg."

How about oxymoron? Well, it is derived from a Greek word, means 'pointedly foolish.' Thus, it is a kind of compressed paradox, in which combining two contradictory terms. For example, "Bittersweet," "We could hear the sound of silence in the empty room," "His smile is too much alive to be dead," etc.

Periphrasis & Euphemism

Poets include periphrasis when they want to say something in a roundabout manner. For example, "The finny tribe....," "My mother's sister's daughter," instead of saying "my cousin" and "The pair of watery sight" instead of saying "The teary eyes."

Euphemism is a kind of periphrasis, in which it's a delicate or improper term is described in a roundabout manner. For example, instead of saying "Her father died last night," we should rather say, "Her father passed away last night." If we want to describe our friends body size, we always say, "My friend loves to eat. That's why now she's fat." Well, don't you think that it sounds a little bit delinquent to address our friend in such manner? To improve our speech, let's just say, "That's why now she's horizontally-challenged." This might avoid a big fight between you and your friend, don't you thin? :)


Lastly, pun. Pun is a play on words, which the poets use a word with two meanings or two words that sound alike or are spelled alike. Pun is usually committed for humorous effect. Example of pun is "A baker's wife, Alberta Smith, had loads and loads of fun. For every time she did her hair, she put it in a bun."

Previous article: Definition of figures of speech, metaphor & simile, personification & transferred epithet and apostrophe & allusion.



kenwooi said...

this terms reminds me of literature.. haha =)

wan hazimah said...


really? r u a literature student?

mizah-kholil said...

lol.. this could be like an online lesson!


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