English Researchers Being A Football Fan Is Bad For You Figures of Speech: Crowning Glory of English Language, Explained From Common Usage and From Poetry

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Figures of Speech: Crowning Glory of English Language, Explained From Common Usage and From Poetry

1. Introduction:

A language is known in literature for its various grammatical features. Figures of speech in any language create a special place for the language and in this regard English language has a special place in the world of literature due to its beautiful application of figures of speech. Many languages ​​use figures of speech but English is unique in its most modern usage.

Figures of speech are mostly used by skilled writers, skilled speakers, talented poets and talented playwrights. In this article, we will see how these talented stylists use this technique to bring brilliance and splendor to the language.

But one thing needs to be emphasized that learning language lessons through practice is of limited use and only innate quality can impart talent. However, by reading various articles and listening to lectures, one can improve, instead polish one’s innate talent and present one’s writing more brilliantly.

With these few words of introduction, I will analyze the figures of speech in the various writings one by one.

2. What is figure of speech?

Any writer or poet pours his soul into his writing and in such writing, it will be a pure representation of his soul. His readers have to tune in to the same wavelength and understand the spirit behind the creation. Words alone are not enough to do this work because words only represent the body and it requires a deeper technique to communicate and understand the soul. Figures of speech will do the job; Words may not be what is needed to convey meaning but spirit may be something beyond meaning to convey. English is very rich in these techniques and has many types of figures of speech. We will look at very few of them in this article. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and readers are left to read more prose and poetry to discover more figures of speech.

It may not be out of place to mention that Tamil is a classical language very rich in this technique and some examples from Tamil are also given.

3. Similes and Metaphors:

The most basic figures of speech are similes and metaphors. No writer or poet would be without the use of these two. A simile is a comparison of two things that have some aspect in common, using words like ‘so or therefore’.

Poets always compare women to the moon (cool and beautiful) and men to lions (brave and handsome) Sometimes women are compared to creepers and men to trees especially the teak tree. In other words man is always strong like teak wood, while creeper embraces the tree with love. Another simile used is that a man spoils a woman’s life with cruelty like a wild animal squeezes a cow.

A poet’s imagination knows no bounds. They are not content to describe the Beloved as the moon, but she is the innocent moon. There is only one full moon day for the moon, but every day is a full moon day for you dear (for your beauty never fades), writes a poet.

A simile is different in the sense that it does not compare two things but freezes both.

“When the lion roars he will gain freedom” – description of a freedom fighter

The following are some examples of similes and metaphors.

“I wandered alone like a cloud…”

“As constant as the shining stars

and shine in the galaxy”

-Both form the poem ‘Daffodils’ written by William Wordsworth.

If life is a journey, travel

If life is a game, play it

If life is a challenge, face it.

If life is a fight, win it.

“A Himalayan blunders”, a phrase used by Gandhi.

4. Hyperbole and Litotes:

Hyperbole is a unique trait of poets. In ordinary life, lying is a crime, but in poetry, lying needs to attract the reader’s attention and admiration. This is also an exaggeration. Even if it is false, it will describe the situation well and therein lies the greatness of the poet.

Some examples of hyperbole:

The writer wishes to add some humor to this article and the following paragraph describing the use of hyperbole will serve the purpose.

In India, especially in Tamil Nadu, people use hyperboles to please their bosses etc. The following examples will illustrate this.

As soon as a political leader gains recognition, posters praising him are plastered on walls across the city.

“Long live our Eternal Leader,

Just show your little finger, we will bring the earth to your feet”

You are our breath, you are our food, you are our life.

(If the leader loses in the next election, the posters will also disappear and fresh posters will appear praising the winner. After all ‘there is nothing like success’..

Another field that gets a lot of love and affection from people is movies. Fans of Matinee Murthy will congratulate him on his birthday as follows:

“You are the sun, you give it light. When you wake up it rises, when you close your eyes it becomes dark”

The earth moves because of you. From your laughter the lion learned to roar, from your laughter the flowers blossomed” and so on.

Litotes are the exact opposite, which is to insult something by speaking in a negative way.

Eg: “Okay, the picture is not bad” means the picture is satisfactory.

A man is not a fool, but a man was intelligent. 5 Euphemisms, Dysphemisms and Oxymorons.

5. Euphemism means agreeing to disagree.

“Hey! My leader sleeps there!” That means he is dead and buried there.

“I’m going to the rest room” means I’m going to the toilet and so on

Dysphemism is the opposite of euphemism.


Call a freedom fighter a ‘terrorist’

Firm bosses are known as ‘pig headed fellows’.

An oxymoron is combining two contradictory things to define a common characteristic.

Son to Father: “You are a wise fool. You have a clever way of inviting trouble.”

“I am doing voluntary work out of compulsion”

The king was a benevolent dictator.

“That man was obediently brave”

The UN sends its ‘peacekeepers’ to warring countries.

6. Personality:

Personality is imagining things that are not life.

“Oh, Death, why do you lay your cruel hands on all the great ones!

Oh death, will you not die one day”, so that others may live – taken from a Tamil poem.

“Behold! His pride and hatred will speak”

7. Apostrophe:

“Oh. Mahatma (Gandhi) did you get us freedom?”

It is a direct communication with the dead as if they were alive and standing before us.

Sometimes inanimate objects are assumed and addressed as having life.

Oh India, is there anyone who can save you from this calamity?”

“Hey, Indian cinema, do you have a future”?

8. Contradictions:

Antithesis is the statement of two completely opposite things in one sentence to emphasize a particular point.

A good example of antonym is ‘; Man proposes, God disposes’ which highlights that we have nothing in hand.

To err is human but to forgive is divine.

Speech is silver but silence is golden.

“It is not that I love Caesar less, but I love Rome more”

9. Epigram:

Epigrams are almost proverbial sayings dealing with antipathy, an exciting surprise to the listener.

Fools crowd where angels fear to tread.

A child is a man’s father.

Poetry is nothing but a glorious lie.

Marriage is legalized prostitution.

10: Irony:

Irony is an essential element of poetry and drama. The irony of the situation adds to their perversity and reflects the genius of the writer or poet. It is a subject for which thousands of examples can be given in poetry, prose, drama and film. In fact a series of articles is needed to cover this vast topic. However, I will limit myself to a few examples to highlight this figure of speech. (Examples given from own observation).

I) As we have seen in many movies, the child is separated from the father. The irony is that a father helps his son without knowing that he helps his son in many difficult situations.

ii) The lovers are separated by cruel fate. Five years later when the lover meets his beloved, she is none other than his stepmother, married to her father. Irony is added when he or she is shown as blind.

iii) A student quarreled with a lady. When he reaches his exam hall, he is shocked to find that she is none other than his new teacher.

A request to the readers to read more poetry and prose and recognize this figure of speech and enjoy the richness of the language.

11. PUN:

PUN is quoting a word with multiple meanings: Some people are great experts at talking this way. A lot of wisdom is needed to spell out a particular word.

A very famous example of this is “Mr…conceived three times and delivered nothing” a comment on a British MP who says “I conceive, I conceive, I conceive” but does not complete the statement.

On a cloudy day, a father, commenting on his son’s disappointing performance, remarks, “Neither the sun is bright, nor my son is bright.”

“We ‘die’ for you”, a sign board.

How long we live depends on the liver.

12. Metonymy:

This name change implies, according to duty:

The bench (judge) pronounced death sentence.

Tribune (a three-member committee) settled the offer.

The crown (king) is pleased etc.

A meeting of professors (teachers) was held

13. Climax and Anti-climax:

A climax is the dramatic end of a sentence on a positive note and an ‘anti-climax’ with a negative note.

He is intelligent, hardworking, intelligent, studious and is in fact an ‘intelligence personality’.

He is my friend, philosopher and guide and in short, he is my God.

She is very beautiful. None other than the charming, majestic and down to earth Venus.

These are some examples of climaxes.

Examples of anti-climax are:

He is a rich man like a rich god, owns all gold and money and does not give a single penny to the poor.

He buys kilos of food, drinks and fruits but can’t eat even a morsel on doctor’s advice (an example of irony).

He is an excellent football player, represented the college team in dozens of games and never scored a goal.

Water everywhere, not a drop to drink.

14. Conclusion:

These are some very simple examples of figures of speech reproduced mainly from personal observations and some known examples. This is only the tip of the iceberg (no hyperbole) as it is truly a vast area of ​​any language that requires in-depth study. But most of the students have a habit of skipping this lesson which usually comes at the end of grammar classes and seems obscure to learn. This article can help create an orientation towards this aspect of learning. If the reader is motivated to learn more about figures of speech, the purpose of this article is satisfied.

I wish the readers the best.

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