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Questions tagged [literary-techniques]

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Word for kind of descriptive/metaphoric style

On a web-show called Bravest Warriors there is a character called Paralyzed Horse. He has a tendency to make these interesting monologues and I was curious if there was a name for the kind of language ...
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25 views

Is there a technique used when someone splits a compound noun into two parts?

My student has asked whether the splitting of the compound word keyhole into key hole is a particular literary technique. I didn't know! It's relevant to the text, as it is about disconnection and ...
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1answer
28 views

Referring to a character by a trait rather than name/title/pronoun

This is really driving me insane. What is it called when instead of referring to a character by their name, title, or pronoun you use a short description. For example, "the cruel man spoke", "the ...
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1answer
23 views

What language techniques are used in this well-known quote from Macbeth? [closed]

What language techniques are used in this famous quote by the Witches from Macbeth: 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair'
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1answer
47 views

What is an “indirect dialogue/discourse”?

I came upon this paragraph during my practice for a literature test. "...Lin stood in the yard facing the front wall while flipping over a dozen mildewed books he had left to be sunned on a stack of ...
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1answer
33 views

Name for a set of clauses that can be split into sentences multiple ways

I'm a big fan of music with clever lyrics, and there's a particular bit of wordplay that I've come across in several songs and I've always wondered if it has a specific name. As the title says, it's ...
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2answers
83 views

Term for when a reader strongly predicts an outcome simply because the story would seemingly fail if it went differently

When discussing, say, predictions for the ending of a novel, I've often heard logic along the lines of: This character must survive, because if (s)he doesn't, the story would be [depressing/...
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1answer
59 views

Using 'a' with an uncountable entity

The sentence goes like this: Sometimes, it is just a friction that can ignite an entire forest. My editor asked me to remove 'a' because friction is uncountable noun. However, I am trying to portray ...
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44 views

What does “gimme something purty vallable” mean? [closed]

Kindly explain to me the meaning of the phrase in the box Said he'd gimme something purty vallable if I did. Taken from Puppy Show by Fredric Brown
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44 views

Is parataxis less grammatical?

Is parataxis less grammatical? According to google definitions it is: the placing of clauses or phrases one after another, without words to indicate coordination or subordination, as in Tell me, ...
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0answers
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What is this language technique called? Example: I don't think we don't love each other [duplicate]

I don't think that I don't, is this sort of like a double negative? Repetition? Obviously used for emphasis of confusion.
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2answers
384 views

Name of device for when a verb ESPECIALLY matches the rest of the sentence

The other day, I was reading an article about an individual who used to become pen pals with murderers in order to gain information about them. I believe this individual was a member of the CIA, hence ...
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591 views

What is the literary device used in “She’s not just showing you what she made. She’s showing you what she’s made of”

What is the literary device used in “She’s not just showing you what she made. She’s showing you what she’s made of” At first, I thought it was chiasmus, but it does not really fit. Certain that it ...
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1answer
394 views

What literary device is this? A. B. C

Asyndeton refers to a practice in literature whereby the author purposely leaves out conjunctions in the sentence, while maintaining the grammatical accuracy of the phrase. Example: Read, Write, ...
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0answers
299 views

What is the name of the technique used when substituting a word?

I just came out of an exam where an author used byte instead of bite in a line. The line was, "creating fake profiles, but at least she gets a byte of midnight love". It's driving me absolutely crazy ...
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Is “Love did compose” personification, or is it something else?

In Andrew Marvell’s poem ‘The Fair Singer’ he writes that love did compose: To make a final conquest of all me, Love did compose so sweet an enemy, In whom both beauties to my death agree, ...
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84 views

Help finding the name of a literary device

Circumstance/Background To express the surety of a particular outcome, a future/forecasted event is spoken of as if it has already transpired. Question The aforementioned literary style foreshadows ...
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1answer
936 views

Is there a term for a sentence with no (or implied) subject? If so, what?

Take this from Nick Cave's song 'Higgs Boson Blues': She curses the queue at the Zulu. And moves on to Amazonia. Is there a term for a sentence without a subject, or where the subject is implied ...
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3answers
490 views

Word for a phrase that by ambiguity could be accidentally self-deprecating

There is a literary technique in comedies where a person says something intending for it to be reassuring and confident, but their words are humorous because when interpreted differently, the phrase ...
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0answers
239 views

Is there a specific term for ending a rhyming line with something unexpected?

Please note that I've tried googling variations on this, but usually just end up with "words that rhyme with unexpected" which is obviously not what I'm going for. There's a technique I've seen used ...
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1answer
392 views

Is this phrase an example of irony?

The dictionary defines irony as "the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning." I also understand that irony is a form of humor. This phrase ...
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1answer
1k views

Reverse personification [duplicate]

Personification is an object or a thing described with a human-like aspect (eg. The Sun smiled at me). Can personification also be used to describe a human with an aspect from an object? For example,...
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1answer
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What is it called when novels don't start at the beginning of the storyline?

Reef, by Romesh Gunesekera, essentially starts in the middle of the character storyline - what is the literary term name for this?
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1answer
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How do you describe a castle like this (picture)? [closed]

Credit: Gothic Castle by MarinaOrtega, via DeviantArt.com What words or phrases or sentences that you can think of to depict this Gothic castle precisely? By precisely I mean people can visualise the ...
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1answer
2k views

There is a fatality about all physical and intellectual distinction

I am reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and I came across this paragraph There is a fatality about all physical and intellectual distinction, the sort of fatality that seems to dog ...
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Is this a refrain or would i call it repetition

In the poem Refugee Blues- https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/refugee-blues/ The word 'my dear' I would like to think that this is a refrain. Is it a repetition though?
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2answers
803 views

Language technique of preposition starting a sentence?

Specifically, in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby': With the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change. The phrase "With the influence of the dress" is known as a '...
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168 views

Term for Multiple Similar/Redundant Adjectives

I've been searching fervently for a potentially fictitious term that I thought I came across a while ago for structures like: The weather that day was so bleak and dreary, all I wanted to do was ...
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0answers
293 views

Word for when a word/term is used in a broader sense than its typical definition

This page covers some of the cases in which a word might be used in a non-standard way, but I'm wondering about something slightly different. Sometimes authors use words in ways that have broader ...
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1answer
250 views

Is there a name for this literary device from James Baldwin and question about punctuation? [duplicate]

In James Baldwin's essay Everybody's Protest Novel, there is the following sentence: It must be remembered that the oppressed and the oppressor are bound together within the same society; they ...
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1answer
361 views

Is “Light of moon and ray of star” an idiom?

What is the literary device used for the following quote from The Fellowship of the Ring : By light of moon and ray of star I think that it is an idiom.... I may be wrong!
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4answers
303 views

Is there a word for the narrative technique of a last-second change in mood?

Sorry if this is off topic, but this seemed to be the best site to ask. I can think of several examples of the use of a narrative technique: a last-second change in mood, often occurring so close to ...
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1answer
232 views

Word or phrase, containing another word or phrase that sounds exactly alike

I've been searching for this literary concept for two days straight, with no luck. So bear with me please as I explain. I'm looking for the correct term to use when wordplay is used in a way that's ...
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1answer
2k views

Term used for juxtaposing different meanings of the same word

There is a technique used occasionally in (often comic) writing, whereby two different meanings of the same word are combined in a sentence to create a sense of surprise in the reader. My particular ...
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3answers
3k views

What is the name of this rhetorical device involving the use of One. Word. Sentences. For. Effect

I am trying to find the name for the rather recent, I think, rhetorical device of one-word sentences used for emphasis and effect. For example: Columnist Ruth Marcus, writing for the Washington Post,...
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4answers
403 views

What is the name of the term for character facial expressions showing meaning in a play?

Last year I learnt the term for a character's facial expressions showing the audience what they feel, as well as their tone of voice in the stage directions when reading a play. I am currently writing ...
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2answers
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Is there a difference between storytelling and narration?

I'm preparing a university homework on Foer's "Eating Animals" and I'm supposed to analyse "the use of storytelling to make food meaningful". However, I have a hard time finding definitive references ...
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1answer
647 views

Term for word used at end of sentence that can be combined with first word of next sentence [closed]

Example: You do not get a free pass. Words will be your downfall. Notice how the end of the sentence, pass, can be combined with the first word of the next sentence, words, to form: passwords. What ...
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2answers
589 views

What language technique is 'She is pure guts and steel'?

I am doing an English assignment where I have to identify the language techniques used in a feature article. I am confused as to what technique is used in "She is pure guts and steel." I first ...
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2answers
594 views

Is there a word that describes a somewhat subtle, critical remark that an author uses in their writing?

Here are some examples of what I mean: From Kate Chopin's The Awakening: "'You are burnt beyond recognition,' he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which ...
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1answer
62 views

A pause that may not signal another clause

I want to know if the last line of this stanza (in Frost's Tree by My Window) is enjambed. I want to pause after it, but would like to know whether that's because of the meter, or there can be a comma ...
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3answers
384 views

Word for Self-Exemplifying Phrase

Depeche Mode's song, "I Promise You I Will," contains the following lines: I'm sorry, but I'm just thinking of the right words to say (I promise you) I know they don't sound the way I ...
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1answer
2k views

Technique for saying the title of the text

Is there a technique for when the title of the text is explicitly mentioned. For example; Cersei Lannister says "In the game of thrones, you win or you die", even in the 5th season of G.O.T. a dance ...
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4answers
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What is it called when comparing two opposite people or things

Can someone please let me know what is the technique called when I compare two people who are very different? In my case, it is Donald Woods when he first meets Steve Biko in the film Cry Freedom. I ...
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5answers
2k views

Euphemism and Colloquialism as Literary/Speech Devices

Is it possible for something to be both a 'euphemism' and a 'colloquialism'? If so, what would be some examples of this?
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598 views

Term for puns in graphics - “Can”cer be beaten

Is there a name for this construction or wordplay? It can be both: Cancer be beaten Cancer can be beaten ("Can" in "Cancer" is emphasized for the purpose) It can be called a wordplay or a pun but I ...
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1answer
626 views

Is there a term when the final spelling of a word is changed for rhyming purposes?

We see and hear it all the time in commercials, advertisements, poetry, jokes, etc... One classic example is this light and very interesting poem by Ogden Nash, where we can find two instances of ...
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1answer
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Is there a term for adjectives that don't, at face value, seem to apply to the noun modified?

There's a verse in Bob Seger's song Mainstreet that has this wonderful little seemingly-nonsensical word pairing: There was this long, lovely dancer in a little club downtown; I loved to watch ...
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96 views

A word for writings about writing

Is there a word for creating something whose subject is the same as the media used to express it. Such as: books about writing, songs about singing, movies about movies, and so on?
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111 views

On literary techniques

Are there any literary techniques in these quotes? “But a man who comes to power with the support of the common people holds it alone and has no one around him who’s unwilling to obey” and “If ...