Most things have names, so we should not be too surprised that things as mundane as figures of speech have been named. Most of those names belong to an earlier age, an age when rhetoric occupied a central position in education. Today, the names are rarely encountered. But for those of us whose lives are intertwined with the written word, the names may, perhaps, draw our attention to our craft; they may offer a measure of continuity with earlier writers and, at least, they can be a source of innocent amusement.
The following table is extracted from Technical Style . The example for the scesis onomaton is taken from Douglas Hofstadter . For more about such figures of speech, see the little book by Arthur Quinn .
[ 1 ] J. M. Haile, Technical Style, Macatea Productions, Central, SC, 2001.
[ 2 ] D. R. Hofstadter, Goedel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Vintage Books, New York, 1980.
[ 3 ] Arthur Quinn, Figures of Speech, Gibbs M. Smith, Inc., Salt Lake City, 1982.
|Anadiplosis||using a previous ending as a beginning||Strive for clarity, for clarity resolves many issues of style.|
|Anaphora||repeated beginnings||Perhaps you have heard this before. Perhaps you remember.|
|Antithesis||repeated in the negative||This proof is wrong. It is certainly not valid.|
|Asterismos||using unneeded words to draw attention to what follows||Confusion often arises from this, an inability to resolve contradictions.|
|Asyndeton||omitting a conjunction||The presentation was brief, spirited, superficial.|
|Epistrophe||repeated endings||To write well, read well.|
|Pleonasm||using superfluous words||Try, try again.|
|Polyptoton||repeating a word or root, but in a different grammatical form||Common sense is uncommon. (Voltaire)|
|Polysyndeton||using unneeded conjunctions||The text was long and hard and dull.|
|Scesis onomaton||omitting all verbs||This sentence no verb.|
|Zeugma||omitting one or more verbs so that a remaining verb applies to more than one clause||He skips rope daily and lunch occasionally.|