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Classifications of Figures of Speech

Based on Resemblance


A Metaphor is an implied Simile. It does not, like a Simile, state that one thing is like another or
acts as another, but takes that for granted and proceeds as if two things were one.

He was a lion in the fight.

The camel is the ship of the desert.


In Personification, inanimate objects and abstract notions are spoken of as having life and

Death lays its icy hands on King.

My alarm clock yells at me every morning

Based on Contrast


In Antithesis, a striking opposition or contrast of words or sentiments is made in the same

sentence. It is employed to secure emphasis.

Speech is silver, but Silence is Gold.

Many are called, but few are chosen.

To err is human, but to forgive on divine.

An Epigram is a brief pointed saying frequently introducing antithetical ideas which excite
surprise and arrest attention.

He makes no friend who never made a foe.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Based on Association


A metonymy is a literary device in which one representative term stands in for something else.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

The golden arches


Synecdoche is a literary device in which a part of something represents the whole or it may use a
whole to represent a part. It may also use larger groups to refer to smaller groups or vice versa. It
may also call a thing by the name of the material it is made of or it may refer to a thing in a
container or packing by the name of that container or packing.

The ship was lost with all hands. (sailors)

His parents bought him a new set of wheels. (new car)

He has many mouths to feed.

Based on Sentence Construction


Anticlimax refers to a figure of speech in which statements gradually descend in order of

importance. Unlike climax, anticlimax is the arrangement of a series of words, phrases, or clauses
in order of decreasing importance.

She is a great writer, a mother and a good humorist.

He lost his family, his car and his cell phone.


Climax is a figure of speech that orders phrases or words in increasing importance. The word
climax actually comes from the Greek klimax, which means staircase or ladder, so its fairly
logical that the ordering within a climax is from least to most important.

He sacrificed his business, his home, and his honor for political gain.

Since concord was lost, friendship was lost; fidelity was lost; liberty was lostall was lost.