10 commonly used figures of speech.

It’s been a while since I last posted a trivia entry so here’s one to cure your withdrawal symptoms.

You are familiar with figures of speech, correct? It’s elementary English — simile, metaphor, personification, etc. We use them all the time, we’re just not aware of it. It’s also very likely that we don’t know the difference between one and the other. I have to admit, even I get them confused. Here’s a list of ten most used figures of speech and how they’re called. I am quite sure you’ll relate to a number of them.

1.) Tmesis (root word: cutting): inserting more words in between words or inserting a word within a word. For example,  independent becomes ‘inde-bloody-pendent’ or ‘George f***king Bush’. You get my point.

2.) Paronomasia: more commonly known as punning. Personally, I do not understand how a pun becomes a pun. I ask my friends but they were of no help. I have said a pun once. And I had no idea that it was.

3.) Epenthesis (root word: to put or set in): distorting pronunciation thus adding an extra sound or letter to the word. Like how prostate gland becomes ‘prostrate gland’ and asparagus as ‘asparagrass’. Maybe you can add ‘cementery’ for cemetery in here.

4.) Anaptyxis (root word: unfolding): an epenthesis hybrid wherein an extra vowel is added distorting pronunciation. Examples are ‘athaletes’ and ‘mischievious’.

5.) Hyperbole (root word: overshooting or excess): use of exaggerated overstatement to emphasize a point. It may be used in all sincerity (‘A thousand thanks’) or sarcastically (‘You’re such a genius now, aren’t you!’).

6.) Litotes (root word: simple, plain): an equivalent to understatement, used negatively. It’s like an inverted hyperbole. When you say something’s not ‘half bad’, it’s actually quite good.

7.) Catachresis (root word: to misuse): using a word in the wrong context. Like ‘I was so close to winning, I could taste it.’ I’m not quite sure if the Filipino statement ‘It’s at the tip of my tongue, I just can’t remember it’ counts but…you don’t remember things with the tip of your tongue, do you?

8.) Oxymoron (root word: pointedly foolish): a paradoxical term. ‘Ruthless calm’, ‘terribly pleased’, ‘awfully nice’, et cetera et cetera. It’s a familiar term I believe so I think you have an idea.

9.) Prosopopoeia (root word: face, person, to make): making an imaginary/ absent entity appear to be doing or saying something — i.e. ‘The Devil made me do it’.

10.) Aposiopesis (root word: to be quite silent): a figure of speech (or a really cute anime device) wherein a speech is cut of by a loss for the right words or the breaking of one’s thoughts. ‘I’m here because of these…uh…well…’

(Note: All trivia are taken from the book The Book of Lists #3 by Wallace et al.)


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A shy and quiet person who loves anime, books and Japanese food.

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