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Thursday Thirteen # 27 - 13 tropes, schemes and figures of speech


We’re expecting a fierce wind-storm this evening. I’ve retired to my bedroom with a large cup of lavender earl gray tea and am listening to rain. I’m feeling rather words-y tonight … and so it’s my pleasure to bring you 13 tropes and schemes (figures of speech) for my 27th Thursday Thirteen. Enjoy!

1. Anaphora: A scheme in which the same word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences. “I will fight for you. I will fight to save Social Security. I will fight to raise the minimum wage.”

2. Anastrophe: A scheme in which normal word order is changed for emphasis. “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

3. Apostrophe: A scheme in which a person or an abstract quality is directly addressed, whether present or not. “Freedom! You are a beguiling mistress.”

4. Epistrophe: A scheme in which the same word is repeated at the end of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences. “I believe we should fight for justice. You believe we should fight for justice. How can we not, then, fight for justice?”

5. Hyperbole: A trope composed of exaggerated words or ideals used for emphasis and not to be taken literally. “I’ve told you a million times not to call me a liar!”

6. Irony: A trope in which a word or phrase is used to mean the opposite of its literal meaning. “I just love scrubbing the floor.”


7. Litotes: A trope in which one makes a deliberate understatement for emphasis. Example: Young lovers are kissing and an observer says: “I think they like each other.”

8. Metonymy: A trope that substitutes an associated word for one that is meant. Example: Using “top brass” to refer to military officers.

9. Oxymoron: A trope that connects two contradictory terms. “Bill is a cheerful pessimist.”

10. Periphrasis: A trope in which one substitutes a descriptive word or phrase for a proper noun. “The big man upstairs hears your prayers.”

11. Rhetorical Question: A trope in which the one asks a leading question. “With all the violence on TV today, is it any wonder kids bring guns to school?”

12. Synecdoche: A trope in which a part stands for the whole. “Tom just bought a fancy new set of wheels.”

13. Zeugma: A trope in which one verb governs several words, or clauses, each in a different sense. “He stiffened his drink and his spine.”

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Loved this list.

I knew no of zeugma or anastrophe...but I think that some of those words could be played upon quite well.

I hope you survived the weather.


I'm visiting your blog every Thursday to learn. What a great service for people who like to refresh their knowledge base without without doing the hard work! Your web site is a truly great resource for writers and thinkers. Thanks Xine, I'm getting smarter every day by reading your blog! C.

I love it when I come across an example of zeugma. It is usually so witty. Great TT!
My TT is up here if you fancy popping over for a read.

I think I didn't get #10, but good list otherwise.

This was interesting. I use these all the time, but had no idea there were names for them!

This was really interesting. Great list!

You are going to make us all better writers Thanks

Fascinating list! Happy TT!

These were a great idea to share on TT, Xine!! =) I love anaphoras. I love writing them, I love reading them, I love the tension in them. Ah, see? Now there is my darling anaphora. LOL! =)

Yeah, great TT on Trophes...I'm with Nicholas and copying them ... Hope the storm passed without wrecking havoc.

No fair making me think this early in the morning!

I obviously slept through high school and college english because I only remember about half of these!

Great list!

I never knew what a lot of those were called. Cool! Thanks!

Happy TT, babe. Hope the winds weren't too bad and it's all over now.

What an informative list! Reminds me of my English teacher.

What a wonderful list -- I enjoyed reading each one. Several of them were new to me -- thank you! I love learning new things.

And ya know what, about T13 -- since I've given myself permission to take a break from it for a while, I've been coming up with all kinds if ideas for future T13s -- how d'ya like that! I believe that could fall under "irony" -- lol!

So when I return to T13, I'll have all kinds of ideas stored up. :)

Lavender Earl Gray tea -- yummy!

Hugs to you, my sweet friend! Your blog is a delight.

Great list! I'm a fan of irony and understatement! :P

Holy cow, I'm feeling not smart. This is a great list.

This is an excellent list. I'm going to print it out.

We're expecting the same storm! Great list.

I love this list! I only knew the exact names for about half these. I'm printing off the rest so I'll sound 'smart' teaching these to my kiddos.

Interesting and informative list.

Happy TT!