What are figures of speech?

What Does Rhetorical figures Mean

We explain what rhetorical figures are and what these uses of language are for. Also, the types that exist and some examples.

Figures of speech order words to enhance your inner beauty.

What are figures of speech?

It is known as rhetorical figures or literary figures to certain uses of verbal language that move away from the effective communicative form, that is, the way in which we communicate a specific idea, and pursue more expressive, elaborate, artistic, fun or powerful ways of transmitting the same idea.

They should not be confused with figurative, imaginative or comparative tropes or uses of language , as in metaphors . The rhetorical figures use the ordinary meanings of words , but they order them in such a way that their meanings are enhanced or their inner beauty is enhanced.

Rhetorical figures are extremely common and evident in literary language, that is, in the writing of language art works ( Literature ), but it is also possible to use them in everyday speech , giving communication a seal of originality, a certain style.

See also: Literary text

Types of rhetorical figures

There are two types of literary figures, those of diction and those of thought.

Two types of literary figures are known: figures of speech and figures of thought.

  • Figures of diction. They are those that affect the form of words, which often also affects their meaning. In turn, they are classified into four types:
    • Transformation figures. Known as metaplasms, they consist of using words in a way that would commonly be incorrect, without changing their meaning. The best known are:
      • Prosthesis. It consists of adding a phoneme at the beginning of the word.
      • Epenthesis. Adding a phoneme inside the word.
      • Apocope. One or more sounds are lost at the end of the word.
    • Figures of repetition. They occur when a sound already enunciated within the text is recovered : syllables , phonemes, etc. Some may be:
      • Anaphora . It consists of the repetition of one or more words from the beginning of a verse or sentence.
      • Polysyndeton. It consists of the use of many more conjunctions than those considered normal in a sentence.
    • Figures of omission. Elements of the sentence or phrase are removed , making it lighter. Such as:
      • Asyndeton. Conjunctions or links are omitted from an enumeration.
      • Ellipsis . Parts of speech that can be understood by context are removed.
      • Paralysis Some of the text is omitted, but the reader is drawn to what is omitted.
    • Figures of position. They consist of the alteration of the normal order of the elements of the sentence. Some of them are:
      • Hyperbaton. The syntax of the sentence is altered to affect its metric or draw attention to something.
      • Anastrophe. The usual syntactic place of two elements of the sentence is exchanged.
  • Thought figures. Those that concern more than anything the meaning of words. They can be of the following types:
    • Amplification figures. They consist of lengthening the contents of a text. Some cases are:
      • Expolitio . An idea is said and then developed more extensively.
      • Paraphrase . The same idea is said with other (own) words.
    • Accumulation figures. They pursue the addition of elements that complement what has already been said. Some cases are:
      • Enumeration. Multiple examples are given of an idea already stated.
      • Epiphrasis. A series of descriptors is added to a main idea to complement it.
  • Logical figures. Those that are linked to the logical or meaningful relationship between the ideas presented, thus generating contrasts, oppositions, etc. Some cases are:
    • Oxymoron. Two contradictory adjectives are used together .
    • Antithesis. Two irreconcilable terms are opposed to lay the foundations of an idea.
  • Definition figures. Known as description , they reflect the properties of what is referred to in language. Some cases are:
    • Etopeia. An individual or character is described based on their moral traits.
    • Chronography It consists of the description of times or temporal events.
  • Oblique figures. Close to tropes, they address reality in an indirect way. Such as:
    • Periphrasis or circumlocution. More words are used than necessary to describe an issue.
    • Batches or attenuation. It consists of affirming a trait by attenuating or denying its opposite.
  • Dialogue or pathetic figures. Those that appeal to the emotionality of the recipient, such as:
    • Exclamation or ecfonesis. Words are used that predispose the receiver to an admiring emotion (Oh, etc.)
    • Rhetorical question. Those questions that do not seek to be answered, but rather to express an idea.
  • Dialectical figures. Of an argumentative nature, they seek to convince the receiver of something. Such as:
    • Dubitatio or aporesis. Doubt is expressed regarding the possibilities other than what is stated.
    • Correct. It consists of adding a correction to what has been said previously, building a relationship of antonymy.
  • Fictional figures. They present imaginary events as real. Two of them are:
    • Personification. Human traits are attributed to animals or inanimate objects.
    • Idolopoeia. Something said is attributed to a deceased person.

Examples of rhetorical figure

Some examples of figures of speech are:

  • Cats are extremely clean. Not to mention independents. (paralysis)
  • "I arrived , I saw , I conquered" (asyndeton)
  • The soldiers arrived. The soldiers were there. (anaphora)
  • ¿ Pa , lend me your bike to go to the cole ? (apocope)
  • The bars walking the poet walked (hyperbaton)
  • There was a darkened sun , whose gloomy light ... (oxymoron)
  • For you I feel a good, beautiful, pure, immense, impossible love (epiphrase)
  • With no little patience I am here (attenuation)
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