ТОП 10:


Discussion Points

Figures of substitution as semasiological EM. General characteristics and classification.

Figures of quantity. General characteristics.

a) hyperbole;

b) meiosis, litotes.

Figures of quality (qualification). General characteristics.

4. Metonymy group. General characteristics.

a) synecdoche;

b) periphrasis, euphemism, dysphemism.

5.Metaphor group. General characteristics. Syntactical and semantic differences between metaphor and metonymy.

a) types of metaphor according to various criteria;

b) antonomasia;

c) personification;

d) allegory;

e) allusion;

f) epithet; semantic and structural types of epithets.

6. Irony. Types of irony.

Recommended Literature

1. Стилистика английского языка / А.Н.Мороховский, О.П.Воробьёва, Н.И.Лихошерст, З.В.Тимошенко. – К.: Вища школа, 1991. – С. 163-186.

2. Galperin I.R. Stylistics. – M.: Higher School Publ. House, 1981. – P. 136-153, 157-177.

Optional Literature

Кухаренко В.А. Практикум з стилістики англійської мови. – Вінниця: “Нова книга”, 2000. – С. 42-68.


Semasiologyis a branch of linguistics which studies semantics (meaning) of linguistic units belonging to different language levels.

Lexical semasiology is concerned with the meaning of different linguistic units, correlation between these meanings and the changes the meanings undergo.

Stylistic semasiology is interested in the stylistic meaning only, i.e. the additional meaning of linguistic units, which may appear due to:

1) the unusual denotative reference of linguistic units as bearers of meaning – semasiological EM;


2) the unusual combination of meanings expressed by the linguistic units – semasiological SDs.


Thus, stylistic semasiology deals with those semantic relations and changes which form the basis of EM and SDs.

Semasiological EMsare different means of secondary nomination, i.e. figures of substitution, either existing in the language in a ready-made form or coined in speech on the basis of regular (recurrent) patterns.

Figures of Substitution

Figures of Quantity   Figures of Quality

Hyperbole sis Meiosis Litotes   Metonymy Synecdoche Periphrasis Euphemism (dysphemism)   Metaphor Personification Antonomasia Allegory Allusion Epithet   Irony        


Hyperboleis a deliberate overstatement or exaggeration aimed at intensifying one of the features of the object in question.

Meiosisis a deliberate understatement, i.e. lessening, weakening or reducing the real characteristics of the object of speech.

Litotesis expressing an idea by means of negating the opposite idea or the statement in the form of negation.

Metonymyis a figure of secondary nomination based upon contiguity, i.e. upon a real connection between two objects: that which is named and that the name of which is taken.Types of metonymy forming relations are manifold.

The simplest type of Metonymyis Synecdocheusing the name of a part to denote the whole and vice versa.

Periphrasis (from Greek: peri – around; phraseo – speak) is a stylistic figure which lies in naming the characteristic features of the object instead of naming the object itself. It can be based on the logical connection of the descriptive phrase with a definite feature of the object described (logical periphrasis) or on metaphor or metonymy (figurative periphrasis).


Euphemism(Greek euphēmismos < eu “well” + phēme “speaking”) is a word or phrase used to replace an unpleasant word or expression by a conventionally more acceptable one.

Euphemisms may be divided into several groups: religious, connected with death, medical, political, moral etc.

Dysphemisms are deliberately rough and unpleasant expressions replacing neutral/ positive units in order to express contempt, irritation, hatred and other negative attitudes on the part of the speaker.

Metaphor– expressive renaming on the basis of similarity, likeness, or affinity (real or imaginary) of two objects: the real object of speech and the one whose name is actually used.

Structurally metaphors are simple (elementary) or prolonged (sustained).

Personification – is attributing human properties to lifeless objects, mostly to abstract notions, such as thoughts, actions, intentions, emotions, seasons of the year etc.

Allegoryisa means of expressing abstract ideas through concrete pictures.

Allusionis a brief reference to some literary or historical event commonly known.

Antonomasia(Greek: antonomasia – “renaming”) is a peculiar variety of metaphor in which a proper name is used instead of a common noun or vice versa.

Epithet expresses characteristics of an object, both existing and imaginary. Its basic feature is its subjectivity and emotiveness: it gives an individual perception and evaluation of some properties.

Semanticallyepithets may be divided into two groups: associated and unassociated (I.R.Galperin); or affective and figurative (V.A.Kukharenko).

As to their structure and the number of components, epithets may be used singly, in pairs, in chains/ strings, in two-step structures, also as phrase epithets, sentence epithets. A specific variety of epithet is an inverted/ reversed epithet (the devil of a man).

Irony(Greek: eironea – “concealed mockery”) is a trope, a renaming based on the opposition of two notions: the notion named and the notion meant. Irony is commonly used with the aim of critical evaluation of the thing spoken about. The general scheme is: “praise stands for blame”.


In the excerpts that follow find figures of substitution used. Explain their stylistic functions in the given excerpts:

1. I remember a friend of mine buying a couple of cheeses at Liverpool. Splendid cheeses they were, ripe and mellow, and with a two-hundred horse-power scent about them that might have been warranted to carry three miles, and knock a man over at two hundred yards. (J.K.Jerome).

2. The car which picked me up on that particular guilty evening was a Cadillac limousine about seventy-three blocks long (J.Baldwin).

3. The little woman, for she was of pocket size, crossed her hands solemnly on her middle. (J.Galsworthy).

4. We all think that time is endless when we’re younger. The years ahead seem to stretch out forever and indefinitely. But they don’t … they disappear in a flash, in the wink of an eye. (B.T.Bradford)

5. Was it possible that she could have gone to have an abortion?

In the Dublin of 1958 such things were not unknown. (M. Binchy)

6. Maybe one of those old men in the commercial room had been Nellie’s heart’s desire.

It wasn’t so impossible. (M.Binchy)

7. I was a young man then – Good Heavens, it’s a quarter of a century ago – and I wanted to enjoy all the loveliness of the world in the short time allotted to me before I passed into the darkness. (W.S.Maugham).

8. Charity as she knew it was complex and reciprocal, and almost every roof she saw signified charity. Mrs. Balcolm worked for the brain. Mrs. Ten Eyke did mental health. Mrs. Trenchard worked for the blind. Mrs. Horowitz was in charge of diseases of the nose and throat. Mrs. Trempler was tuberculosis, Mrs. Surcliffe was Mothers’ March of Dimes, Mrs. Craven was cancer, and Mrs. Gilkson did the kidney. (J.Cheever)

9. She missed Qwen. She would miss him until the day she shed this mortal coil and went to join him. (B.T. Bradford)

10. Across country we went like wind followed by a couple of black cars full of moustaches. They were gaining on us. (L.Durrell).

11. I knew them all, or knew what they did for a living: timber, flour, textiles, insurance. Timber and flour were standing at the counter discussing the cost of labour. Textiles at a table in the opposite side of the room was complaining about his garage bills. Insurance was listening waiting his turn. (J.Braine).

12. Old age is golden, so I’ve heard said

But sometimes I wonder as I crawl into bed

With my ears in a drawer and my teeth in a cup

My eyes on the table until I wake up (P.Seeger).

13. Nessa felt a blanket of guilt almost suffocate her (M.Binchy)

14. In fact she was an inspired gardener. Flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs were woven into a tapestry of living color and design by her, one that stunned the eye with its compelling beauty. (B.T. Bradford)

15. Huddled in her grey fur against the sofa-cushions, she had a strange resemblance to a captive owl, bunched in its soft feathers against the wires of a cage. The supple erectness of her figure was gone, as though she had been broken by cruel exercise, as if there were no longer any reason for being beautiful, and supple, and erect (J.Galsworthy).

16. Well, that’s the way I was. A dusty little thinker thinking stony little thoughts and casting them at oblivious shadows, when my meditations were interrupted. I thought I heard a voice. Then I thought perhaps it was the noise of the machinery. Stresses and strains make conveyers talk. They scream curses, they grumble and complain. When they can take the load they whistle like butcher boys used to whistle when there was meat for the butcher to deliver. (S.Chaplin).

17. Remember Brake as he was and for what he was, and remember him true, capricious, passionate, infuriating, wild, tender, drunk, sober, loving, petulant, dark and brilliant. He was a bottle of champagne about to be open, a piano about to be played, a canvas about to be painted, he was life with the top off <…>. (Ch. Bingham)

18. “You cheat, you no-good cheat – you tricked our son. Took our son with a scheming trick, Miss Tomboy, Miss Sarcastic, Miss Sneerface”. (Ph.Roth).

19. Kate kept him because she knew he would do anything in the world if he were paid to do it or was afraid not to do it. She had no illusions about him. In her business Joes were necessary. .(J.Steinbeck).

20. “Thief!” Pillon shouted. “Dirty pig of an untrue friend!” (J.Steinbeck).

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