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Linguistic importance and tasks of lexico-syntactical stylistic devices: Simile, periphrasis, euphemism, litotes, antithesis, gradation

Group: 433

Made by Rakhmatova Mukhlisa


  • Simile
  • Periphrasis
  • Euphemism
  • Litotes
  • Antithesis
  • gradation


  • an imaginative comparison of two unlike objects belonging to two different classes on the grounds of similarity of some quality
  • The one which is compared is called the tenor, the one with which it is compared, is called the vehicle. The tenor and the vehicle form the two semantic poles of the simile, which are connected by one of the following link words: “like”, “as”, “as though”, “as if”, “as like”, “such as”, “as ... as”, etc.
  • e.g. She is like a rose.
  • e.g. He stood immovable like a rock in a torrent. (J.Reed)
  • e.g. His muscles are hard as rock. (T.Capote)
  • e.g. The conversation she began behaved like green logs: they fumed but would not fire. (T.Capote)


  • characterisation of one object by bringing it into contact with another object belonging to an entirely different class of things
  • - excludes all the properties of the two objects except one which is made common to them;
  • - forcibly set one object against another regardless of the fact that they may be completely alien to each other;
  • e.g. Maidens, like moths, are ever caught by glare. (Byron)
  • e.g. Other words live but a short time and are like bubbles on the surface of water – they disappear leaving no trace of their existence. (I.R.G.)
  • e.g. His mind was restless, but it worked perversely and thoughts jerked through his brain like the misfirings of a defective carburettor. (S.Maugham)
  • e.g. It was that moment of the year when the countryside Seems to faint from its own loveliness, from the intoxication of tis scents and sounds. (Galsworthy)


  • a) using a roundabout form of expression instead of a simpler one
  • b) using a more or less complicated syntactical structure instead of a word
  • They are classified into ( or ) and ()


  • a device which, according to Webster’s dictionary, denotes the use of a longer phrasing in place of a possible shorter and plainer form of expression
  • - aims at pointing to one of the Seemingly insignificant or barely noticeable features or properties of the given object, and intensifies this property by naming the object by the property;
  • - makes the reader perceive the new appellation against the background of the one existing in the language code and the twofold simultaneous perception secures the stylistic effect;
  • - like , has a certain cognitive function inasmuch as in deepens our knowledge of the phenomenon described;
  • e.g. I understand you are poor, and wish to earn money by nursing the little boy, my son, who has so prematurely deprived of what can never be replaced. \[= mother\] (Dickens)
  • e.g. The lamp-lighter made his nightly failure in attempting to brighten up the street with gas. \[= lit the street lamps\] (Dickens)
  • If a periphrastic locution is understandable outside the context, it is not a stylistic device but merely a synonymous expression.
  • e.g. the cap and gown (student body); a gentleman of the long robe (a lawyer); the fair sex (women); my better half (my wife)


  • a phrase synonymic with the words which were substituted by
    because the direct nomination of the not too elegant feature of appearance was substituted by a roundabout description
  • - offers more polite (euphemistic) qualification instead of a coarser one
  • e.g. Mr. Du Pont was dressed in the conventional disguise \[the suit \] with which Brooks Brothers cover the shame of American millionaires \[the paunch (belly)\]. (The Morning Star)
  • e.g. I am thinking an unmentionable thing about your mother. (I.Shaw)


  • a) a word or phrase used to replace an unpleasant word or expression by a conventionally more acceptable one
  • b) a synonym which aims at producing a deliberately mild effect
  • e.g. to die = to pass away, to expire, to be no more, to depart, to join the majority, to be gone; to kick the bucket, to give up the ghost, to go west
  • e.g. to lie = to possess a vivid imagination, to tell stories; speak with a forked tongue, throw a curve
  • e.g. They think we have come by this horse in some dishonest manner. \[= have stolen it\] (Dickens)


  • a two-component structure in which two negations are joined to give a possessive evaluation
  • - the first component is always the negative particle “not”, while the second, always negative in semantics, varies in form from a negatively affixed word (as above) to a negative phrase
  • e.g. Her face was not unpretty. (K.Kesey)
  • e.g. It was not unnatural if Gilbert felt a certain embarrassment. (E.Waugh)
  • e.g. The idea was not totally erroneous. The thought did not displease me. (I.Murdoch)


  • a) is a consisting of a peculiar use of negative constructions: the negation plus noun or adjective serves to establish a positive feature in a person or thing
  • - is a deliberate used to produce stylistic effect: it is a negation that includes affirmation;
  • - is a means by which the natural logical and linguistic property of negation can be strengthened;
  • e.g. He found that this was no easy task.
  • - is used in different styles of speech, excluding those which may be called the matter-of-fact styles, like official style and scientific prose
  • b) a construction with two negations
  • e.g. not unlike, not unpromising, not displeased
  • e.g. Soames, with his lips and his squared chin was not unlike a bull dog. (Galsworthy)


  • a semantically complicated
    , the two parts of which are semantically opposite to each other
  • - is to stress the heterogenity of the described phenomenon, to show that the latter is a dialectical unity of two (or more) opposing features. (V.A.K.)
  • e.g. Some people have much to live on, and little to live for. (Wilde)
  • e.g. If we don’t know who gains by his death we do know who loses by it. (A.Christie)
  • e.g. Mrs. Nork had a large home and a small husband. (S.Lewis)
  • e.g. In marriage the upkeep of woman is often the downfall of man. (S.Evans)
  • e.g. Don’t use big words. They mean so little. (Wilde)


  • - stylistic opposition, based on relative opposition which arises out of the context through the expansion of objectively contrasting pairs
  • e.g. saint – devil, reign – serve, hell – heaven, youth – age, fiery – frosty
  • The words involved in the opposition do not display any additional nuance of caused by being opposed one to another.
  • - is generally moulded in
  • - is often signalled by the introductory connective but, when so, the other structural signal, the parallel arrangement, may not be evident, it may be unnecessary;
  • - a device, bordering between stylistics and logic;
  • It is essential to distinguish between antithesis and what is termed contrast. Contrast is a literary (not a linguistic) device based on logical opposition between the phenomena set one against another.
  • - has the following basic functions: rhythm-forming (because of the parallel arrangement on which it is founded); copulative; dissevering; comparative


  • a semantically complicated
    , in which each next word combination (clause, sentence) is logically more important or emotionally stronger and more explicit 


  • Three types:
  •  logical climax
  • Emotive climax
  • Quantitative climax

Logical climax

  • a three-step (the most widely spread model), in which intensification of logical importance, of emotion or quantity (size, dimensions) is gradually rising step by step (V.A.K.)
  • ••
  • is based on the relative importance of the component parts looked at from the point of view of the concepts embodied in them (I.R.G.)
  • e.g. Better to borrow, better to beg, better to die! (Dickens)
  • e.g. Like a well, like a vault, like a tomb, the prison had no knowledge of the brightness outside. (Dickens)
  • e.g. For that one instant there was no one else in the room, in the house, in the world, besides themselves. (M.Wilson)

Emotive climax

  • a two-step , in which the second part repeats the first one and is further strengthened by an intensifier (V.A.K.)
  • ••
  • is based on the relative emotional tension produced by words with (I.R.G.)
  • e.g. He was so helpless, so very helpless. (W.Deeping)
  • e.g. She felt better, immensely better. (W.Deeping)
  • e.g. I have been so unhappy here, so very very unhappy. (Dickens)

Quantitative climax

  • an evident increase in the volume of the corresponding concepts (I.R.G.)
  • e.g. They looked at hundreds of houses; they climbed thousands of stairs; they inspected innumerable kitchens. (S.Maugham)
  • e.g. Little by little, bit by bit, and day by day, and year by year the baron got the worst of some disputed question. (Dickens)
  • e.g. We were all in all to one another, it was the morning of life, it was bliss, it was frenzy, it was everything else of that sort in the highest degree. (Dickens)
  • e.g. I am firm, thou art obstinate, he is pig-headed. (B.Charlestone)
  • e.g. No tree, no shrub, no blade of grass that was not owned. (J. Galsworthy)

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