EXPRESSIVE MEANS are phonetic, lexical, word-building, phraseological, syntactical forms which exist in the language as a system for the purpose of logical and emotional intensification of the utterance, for example here belong the diminutive suffixes -ie, -y, -let, interjections and exclamations, slangisms and jargonisms, proverbs, sayings and set expressions, syntactical emphatic constructions ( e. g.: You do look smart today. It was he who came the first.), inversion (e.g.; Up went the curtain.), the use of "shall" in the second and third persons (e.g.: You shall be punished!)

Expressive means are concrete facts of the language, they already exist GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS ready for the usage and are not specially created by the writer

STYLISTIC DEVICES do not exist in the language as the units ready for use. They are abstract patterns of the language filled with a definite content when used m speech. The stylistic effect of this or that device is based upon the clash of two meanings of a lexical unit: dictionary and contextual. Compare: She gave me a sweet bun. She gave me a sweet smile.

The word "sweet" in the second sentence is a stylistic device-epithet, whereas in the first sentence it is a GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS simple adjective used in its direct dictionary meaning.

EPITHET is a stylistic device based on interplay of contextual and dictionary meaning in an attribute word, phrase or sentence. It is necessary to differentiate between simple adjectives and poetic epithets. Epithets are subjectively evaluative; they create an image, whereas simple adjectives indicate those features of the object which are generally recognized as inherent properties of the things spoken about.


a bright sun

a sweet bun

snow-white peaks of the mountains

a voiceless man

a blue sky


a bloody sun

a sweet smile

a snow-white skin

voiceless sands

a copper sky

According to the compositional structure we GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS distinguish the following types of epithets:

1) Simple (a dark forest; a true love)

2) Compound (snow-white skin, heart-burning sigh)

3) Phrase (It was this do-it-yourself attitude; a tired end-of-the day gesture)

4) Sentence (Those innocent I-don't-know-what you-are-tatking-aboul-eyes)

Another structural variety is the type called reversed. Reversed epithets are composed of two nouns linked in an "of-phrase"; (an angel of a girl, a doll of a wife, a rascal of a husband, a shadow of a smile).

According to the principle of semantics epithets are subdivided into associated and GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS unassociated.

Associated epithets are those which point to a feature which is essential to the object they describe its inherent feature E g: dark forest; dreary midnight, careful attention: fantastic terrors

Unassociated epithets are attributes used to characterize the object by adding a feature not inherent in it, i.e. a feature which may be so unexpected as to strike the reader by its novelty. These epithets may seem strange and unusual, for them, so to say, impose a property on the objects, which is fining exclusively in the given circumstances, e.g.: heart-burning smile, sullen earth; voiceless sands.

From GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS the point of view of the distribution of the epithets in the sentence we distinguish the string of epithets and the transferred epithet. Transferred epithets are ordinary logical attributes used to characterize human beings, but referred to lifeless things: (a sleepless pillow, an angry sky, laughing valleys). If there are a number of epithets appearing usually in an ascending order we have a string of epithets. E.g.: 1. And then in a nice, old-fashioned, lady-like, maiden-lady way she blushed. (A. Christie) 2. Such was the background of the wonderful, cruel, enchanting, bewildering, fatal, great city (О. Henry GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS.)

METAPHOR is a stylistic device based on the principle of comparison of two objects. Some important quality is transferred from one object to another, this second object being devoid of this quality, thus, by this comparison a significant feature of the second object is revealed in an imaginary way. E.g.:

O, never say that I was false of heart,

Though absence seemed my fame to qualify. (Shakespeare)

The word "flame" here is used metaphorically; it stands for "love" and accentuates the passion of this feeling.

Some more examples of metaphors:

Her eyes were two profound menacing gun barrels. (Eyes GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS and gun barrels are compared.) Gusts of wind whispering here and there. ( The sound produced by the gusts of wind is compared with whisper.) These metaphors are unpredictable. They are called fresh (genuine, original). There are metaphors which are commonly used in speech and sometimes even fixed in the dictionaries. They are called trite (dead, hackneyed). E. g.: time flies, floods of tears, the apple of one's eye, seeds (roots) of evil, a flight of imagination, to bum with desire, etc.

Metaphor has no formal limitations; it can be a word, a phrase, a sentence. There are not GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS only simple, but also sustained (prolonged) metaphors. The latter occur whenever one metaphorical statement, creating an image, is followed by another, containing a continuation or logical development of the previous metaphor

E. g.: "In November a cold, unseen stranger, whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked about the colony, touching one here and there with his icy fingers Over on the East side this ravager strode boldly, smiting his victims by scores Mr. Pneumonia was not what you would call a chivalric old gentleman... "(O. Henry. "The last leaf.")

This sustained metaphor is a sample of personification which GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS consists in transferring human features to abstract notions and lifeless objects. The objects personified may be substituted by personal pronouns he/she and used with the verbs of speech, mental activity, wish, etc. Sometimes they are spelt with the capital letter. E.g.:

And Time, that gave doth now this gift confound.

Time doth transfix the flourish set of youth

And delves the parallels in beaty's brow,

Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth.

METONYMY consists in applying the name of an object to another object that is hi some way connected with the first.

Whenever we say GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS something like: "The kettle is boiling." or "The gallery applauded." we do not actually mean the vessel or the theatre balcony, but what is connected with them: the water, or the spectators. The thought is thus concretized and the expression < shortened, (cf.: the water in the kettle, the spectators in the gallery)

Metonymic relations are varied in character. Their main types are the following:

1) Names of tools used instead of the names of actions: E.g: He is a famous pen.

2) What a person possesses may be used for the person himself. (E. g.: He married money)

3) The container GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS may be used for what is contained; E. g.: She is fond of the bottle)

4) Symbol used instead of the object symbolized (e.g.: a crown for king or queen)

SYNECDOCHE is a kind of metonymy. It is based on a specific kind of metonymic relationship when a part stands for a whole or a whole for a part, an individual for a whole class, or a whole class for an individual.

AUTONOMASIA is the use of a proper name for a common one, or vice versa. E.g.: He is a typical Don Juan (i.e., he possesses all features of GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS Don Juan). What can be prettier than an image of Love on his knees before Beauty? (W. M. Thackeray.)

SIMILE is an imaginative comparison. This is an explicit statement of partial identity of two objects. In a simile there are always two names of two separate objects and a word or a word group signalizing the idea of juxtaposition and comparison. These formal signals are mostly the conjunctions "like" and "as"(as if,as though), "than" There mayalso be verbs, such as: to resemble, to remind one of, or verbal phrases: to bear a resemblance (o, to GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS have a look of). E.g.: He is as beautiful as a weathercock." (O. Wilde) The common feature is expressly indicated, it is beauty that unites him with a weathercock.

E.g. "My heart is like a singing bird." (Rossetti) Here the most probable reason for likening a person's heart to a singing bird would be the feeling of happiness: the poet's heart is as gay as the bird that enjoys the pleasures of life.

Simile is close to metaphor in that the latter is also based on analogy in dissimilar things. The difference is that the metaphor GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS has no formal element to indicate comparison and therefore the analogy upon which the metaphor is based sometimes is very difficult to perceive, whereas in simile it is obvious.

HYPERBOLE is a deliberate exaggeration of some quality or quantity or size of an object. It serves to intensify one certain property of the object and adds vividness to the description Hyperbole is an expression of emotional evaluation of reality by a speaker. The main sphere of use of hyperbole is colloquial speech, in which the form is hardly ever controlled and the emotions are expressed directly without any particular GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS reserve. Many colloquial hyperboles are stereotyped: A thousand pardons/thanks I've told you forty times. He was frightened/scared/sick to death. I'd give worlds for it. Haven't seen you for ages.

An expressive hyperbole, as distinct from trite ones (used in everyday speech), is an exaggeration on a big scale. There must be something illogical in it, something unreal, utterly impossible, contrary to common sense.

E.g.: "One after another those people lay down on the ground to laugh-and two of them - died. One of the survivors remarked..." (M. Twain) "There I took GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS out my pig ... and gave him such a kick that he went out the other end of the alley, twenty feet ahead of his, squeal."(O. Henry) "And talk! She could talk the hind leg off a donkey!" (Peters,)

OXYMORON is a stylistic device in which two antonymous words are joined together into one syntagm thus creating an image of the clash of the meanings of these words. Oxymoron ascribes some feature to an object incompatible with that feature. E.g.; "He was magnificently imbecile." (S. Lewis.) "...desperate efforts to look their horrid best... (J. B. Priestley) "The major again pressed GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS to his blue eyes the tips of the fingers that were disposed on the ledge of the wheeled chair with careful carelessness." (Ch. Dickens.) "Cops enjoy it, when a body looks timid, hat in hand, eyes fall of nothing" (R Chandler.)

ZEUGMA is a use of a word in the satae grammatical, but different semantic relations to two adjacent words in the context, the semantic relations being, on the one hand, literal and, on the other, transferred. As a consequence, the very fact of proximity, of close co-occurrence is unnatural, illogical since the resulting combinations are essentially GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS different: they simply do not go together. E.g. "He was alternately cudgeling his brains and his donkey." (Ch. Dickens.) "She dropped a tear and her pocket handkerchief." (Ch. Dickens.) "She possessed two false teeth and a sympathetic heart." (O. Henry.) "At noon Mrs. Turpin would get out of bed and humor, put on kimono, airs and the water to boil for coffee." (Q. Henry.)

PERIPHRASIS is the use of a longer phrasing in place of a possible shorter and plainer form of expression. It implies the round-about, indirect way used to name a familiar object or GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS phenomenon.

This device always demonstrates redundancy of lingual elements. Its stylistic effect varies from elevation to humor. E.g.: "Delia was studying under Rosenstock-you know his repute as a disturber of the piano keys (=as a pianist)... Delia did things in six octaves so promisingly..." (=played the piano so well.) (O. Henry) "And then to the waiter he betrayed the fact that the minutes! coin and himself were strangers." (= that he had no money at all.) (O. Henry.)

ALLUSION is an indirect reference to a historical, literary, mythological, biblical fact or to a fact of everyday life commonly known. The GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS writer heed not explain what he means: he merely mentions some detail, of what he thinks analogous in fiction or history to the topic discussed. Allusions are based on the accumulated experience and the knowledge of the writer who presupposes a similar experience and knowledge in the reader.

ANTITHESIS denotes any active confrontation, emphasized co-occurence of notions, really or presumably contrastive. The purpose of using this device is to demonstrate the contradictory nature of the object described. E.g. " It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the era of incredulity; it was the season' of light, it was the season of Darkness." (Ch. Dickens.)

Another variety of antithesis concerns two different objects opposed to each other and being given opposite characteristics. This device serves to underline their incompatibility. E.g. "Large homes are still occupied while weavers' cottages stand empty." (Gaskell) "His fees were high: his lessons were light." (O. Henry.)

ASYNDETON is a deliberate omission of connectives or conjunctions between words, phrases or clauses in an utterance. It GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS affects the rhythmical organization of the utterance and can be suggestive in a variety of ways.

E.g. "She might make a scene. She might introduce those two children-she was capable of anything." (Omission of the connective "because" serves to emphasize the fact that she was really dangerous.)

POLYSYNDETON is an insistent repetition of a connective in an utterance. E.g.: They were ail from Milan and one of them was to be a painter and one had intended to be a soldier, and after we were finished with the machines, sometimes we walked together to the cafe." (E. Hemingway,)

The GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS repetition of connectives makes an utterance more rhythmical-so that prose may even seem like poetry. Polysyndeton also serves the purpose of accentuating each tact introduced after the connective.

INVERSION consists in an unusual arrangement of words for the purpose of making one of them more conspicuous, more important, more emphatic. Some elements of the sentence in order to be made emphatic are put either at the beginning or at the end. E.g.: Up went the curtain. (Cf.: The curtain went up.) Beautiful were those flowers. (Cf.: Those flowers were beautiful.) Came frightful days of snow and ram GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS. (Cf: Frightful days of snow and rain came.) Yes, sir that you can do. (Cf. You can do that, sir.)

PARALLELISM (PARALLEL CONSTRUCTIONS) is assimilation or even identity of two or more neighboring sentences (or verse lines.) As a matter of fact parallelism is a variety of repetition, but not a repetition of lexically identical sentences, only a repetition of syntactical constructions. E.g.: John kept silent; Mary was thinking.

Still much more often it happens that parallel sentences contain the same lexical elements.

E.g.: Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,

Farewell to the GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS torrents and loud-pouring floods. (Burns)

Parallelism contributes to rhythmic and melodic unification of neighboring sentences. It also serves to emphasize the repeated element, or to create a contrast, or else underlines the semantic connection between sentences.

RHETORICAL QUESTIONS are utterances in the form of questions which pronounce judgments and also express various kinds of modal shades of meaning, such as doubt, challenge, acorn, irony, etc. The question no longer remains the question but becomes a statement expressed in the form of an interrogative sentence. Questions are more emotional than statements. Rhetorical questions are most often used in publicists style GLOSSARY OF STYLISTIC TERMS and particularly in oratory where the rousing of emotions is the effect generally aimed at. E g.: Isn't that too bad? (=That is too bad.) Did I say a word about money? (I didn't say a word about money.) "What's the good of a man behind a bit of glass? What use is he there and what's the good of their banks?" (Jerome K. Jerome)