ТОП 10:

He acknowledged an early-afternoon customer with a be-with-you-in-a-minute nod. (D.Uhnak).

23. Fiona’s mother was very firmly in the Nice Girls Wait Until They Are Married school of thought. (M.Binchy)

24. Her painful shoes slipped off. (J.Updike).

25. Mum went into her slow “Let’s try to make best friends with the waiting staff and be the most special person in the cafe for no fathomable reason” voice. (H.Fielding)

26. Apart from splits based on politics, racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds and specific personality differences, we’re just one cohesive team. (D.Uhnak).

27. Stoney smiles the sweet smile of an alligator (J.Steinbeck).




Discussion Points

1. Figures of combination as SDs of semasiology. General characteristics and classification.

2. Figures of identity (equivalence). General characteristics.




3. Figures of opposition. General characteristics.



4. Figures of inequality (non-equivalence). General characteristics.



– pun

– zeugma.

Recommended Literature

1. Стилистика английского языка / А.Н.Мороховский, О.П.Воробьёва, Н.И.Лихошерст, З.В.Тимошенко. – К.: Вища школа, 1991. – С. 186-199.

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.



Figures of combination are SDs of semasiology. They are stylistically relevant semantic means of combining lexical, syntactical and other units (including EM) belonging to the same or different language levels. The realisation of the figures of combination is possible only in context. The most general types of semantic relations between words, phrases and utterances forming the basis of semasiological SDs can be reduced to three: meanings can be 1) identical, or 2) different or else 3) opposite.


Figures of Combination

Figures of Identity   Figures of Opposition   Figures of Inequality   Figures of Inequality

Simile Synonyms-substitutes Synonyms-specifiers   Antithesis Oxymoron   Climax Anticlimax Pun Zeugma        


Simileis an imaginative comparison, embodied in an explicit statement of partial identity (affinity, likeness, similarity) of two objects belonging to different classes.

Simile is characterized by a definite formula or structure: it includes 1) the object named (the tenor); 2) the object being used to name (the vehicle) and 3) the link word as a formal signal of comparison. The links between the tenor and the vehicle are expressed mainly by the conjunctions like, as, as if, as though, as…as, than.

Simile should not be confused with simple (logical, ordinary) comparison.

Cf: She sings like a professional singer. She sings like a nightingale.

He talks French like a Frenchman. He talks French like a machine-gun.

Substituting synonyms are used for the sake of diversity, to avoid monotony.

Specifying synonyms contribute to precision in characterizing the object of speech. They mostly follow one another (in opposition to substitutes), although not necessarily immediately. There are two ways of using specifying synonyms:

1) as paired synonyms (safe and sound);

2) as synonymic variations.

Antithesis(from Greek anti “against”; thesis “statement”) is a stylistic device which presents contrasting ideas in close proximity in order to stress the contrast.

Oxymoron (from Greek: “sharp(ly) dull”) is based on the logical collision of notional words, which express mutually exclusive (incompatible) notions: loving hate.

The most typical oxymoron is a combination of:

– an adjective and a noun;

– an adverb with an adjective;

– structures with verbs.

Climax (gradation) – such an arrangement of correlative ideas in which every successive word, phrase or sentence is emotionally stronger, logically more important or more qualitative than the preceding one. This arrangement secures a gradual increase in importance (logical climax), emotional tension (emotional/ emotive climax) or in the volume of the corresponding conceptsin the utterance (quantitative climax).

A phenomenon opposite to climax is called anticlimax (back gradation).There are two types of anticlimax: gradual drop in intensity and sudden break in intensity/ emotive power.

Pun(also called paronomasiaor calembour).The term is synonymous with the current expression ‘play upon words’. The semantic essence of this device is based on polysemy, homonymy or phonetic similarity and is meant to achieve a humorous effect.

Zeugma(Greek: zeuguana “to join, to combine”) is sometimes defined as the usage of parallel constructions with unparalleled meanings.As with pun, this device consists in combining unequal, semantically heterogeneous, or even incompatible, words or phrases.

Zeugma combines syntactical and semantic characteristics: syntactically it is based on similar structures, semantically it comprises different meanings, which leads to logical and semantic incompatibility.

E.g.: She possessed two false teeth and a sympathetic heart (O.Henry).

She dropped a tear and her pocket handkerchief (Dickens);

Cf.: Она потеряла честь и кошелёк.


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

1. A fog rose over the valley, she saw it marching like an army of ghosts (K.A.Porter).

2. She had beautiful long white hands with skin as smooth as the breast of a dove (G.Atherton).

3. “Mr. Witte’s method of paying off debts would be a form of feeding a dog with bits of its own tail” (Nesfield).

4. His strangely taut, full-width grin made his large teeth resemble a dazzling miniature piano keyboard in the green light (J.Jones).

5. There is Mr. Guppy, who was at first as open as the sun at noon, but who suddenly shut up as close midnight (Ch.Dickens).

6. It was dawn. The mist had rolled down from the moors and the higher fells to spread across the meadows like a mantle of gray lace, partially obscuring the trees and the dry stone walls and the cottages nestling in the folds of the fields (B.T.Bradford).

7. Sometimes Mrs. Ryan was terrific, like when she got them all dancing lessons <…> Sometimes Mother was horrible – when she had asked Father to leave the bar the night he won eighty-five pounds on a greyhound. (M.Binchy).

8. According to Maggie, Lena was not in love. She was suffering from an obsession, an infatuation. It wasn’t healthy for someone who was twenty-six to develop this kind of crush on a man who didn’t return it and wasn’t even aware of it. And however unwise it might have been to have allowed a temporary fascination to take over, it was positively dangerous to let it continue the way Lena had (M.Binchy).

9. Finally I wrote my grandmother about it. Her answer came quick and sharp (M.Twain).

10. He’s a proud, haughty, consequential, turned-nosed peacock (Ch.Dickens).

11. He was an actor and a clever one, but he was difficult to suit and so was often out of work. He was about thirty, a man with pleasantly ugly face and a clipped way of speaking that made what he said sound funny (W.S.Maugham).

12. Sprinting towards the elevator he felt amazed at his own cowardly courage (G.Markey).

13. He caught a ride home to the crowded loneliness of the barracks (J.Jones).

14. He was sure the whites could not detect his adoring hatred of them (R.Write).

15. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going the other way (Ch.Dickens).

16. At a sign from him, Nelson knew, that, notwithstanding his love, his tenderness, his sympathy, his generosity, she would leave him without a moment’s hesitation (W.S.Maugham).

17. I am sorry, I am so very sorry, I am so extremely sorry (G.K.Chesterton).

18. She stopped being twenty-six and became twenty-seven, and twenty-eight and twenty-nine. Soon she would be thirty years of age, and what had she to show for it? (M.Binchy)

19. She disapproved of many things; some people went as far as to say that she disapproved of most things (Saki).

20. That’s a nice girl; that’s a very nice girl; a promising girl (Ch.Dickens).

21. I was well inclined to him before I saw him. I liked him when I did see him; I admire him now (Ch. Bronte).

22. She felt better, immensely better, standing beside this big old man (W.Deeping).

23. Jupiter was an anomaly. His retrieving instincts and his high spirits were out of place in Shady Hill. He was as black as coal, with a long, alert, intelligent, rakehell face. His eyes gleamed with mischief, and he held his head high. It was the fierce, heavily collared dog’s head that appears in heraldry, in tapestry, and that used to appear on umbrella handles and walking sticks (J. Cheever).

24. No tree, no shrub, no blade of grass that was not owned (J. Galsworthy).

25. This was appalling – and soon forgotten (J.Galsworthy).

26. “Be careful,” said Mr.Jingle. “Not a look.” “Not a wink,” said Mr. Tupman. “Not a syllable. Not a whisper’ (Dickens).

27. Women have a wonderful instinct about things. They can discover everything except the obvious (O.Wilde).

28. He took his hat and his leave (Ch.Dickens).

29. At noon Mrs. Turpin would get out of bed and humor, put on kimono, airs and the water to boil for coffee(O.Henry).

30. – I wonder if I can see your mother, little boy. Is she engaged?

– Engaged ?! She's married.

31. Professor – What kept you out of class yesterday – acute indigestion?

Student – No, a cute engineer.

32. A cynic was standing in front of an exhibition of modern picture labelled “Art objects”.

“Well“, he announced to the attendant in charge, “I should think Art would object, and I can’t say that I blame it.”

33. – Did you hit a woman with a child?

– No, sir, I hit her with a brick (Th.Smith).

34. After a while and a cake he crept nervously to the door of the parlour (A.Tolkien).

35. When I am dead, I hope it may be said:

“His sins were scarlet, but his books were read” (H.Belloc).

36. – I’ve spent last summer in a very pretty city of Switzerland.

– Berne?

– No, I almost froze.

37. There is only one brand of tobacco allowed here – “Three nuns”. None today, none tomorrow, and none the day after (Br.Behan).

38. On a raw Wednesday morning, in a few ill-chosen words, she told the cook that she drank. She remembered the scene afterwards as vividly as though it had been painted in her mind by Abbey. The cook was a good cook, as cooks go; and as cooks go she went (Saki).

39. – Is life worth living?

– It depends on the liver.

Additional Activities

I. Here is a list of 10 oxymorons. See how many you can match to make the correct phrases:


old opposition

pretty unseen

civil news

small war

deafening secret

industrial vacation

sight fortune

working park

open ugly

loyal silence

II. Some riddles are funny because they are puns. Puns are made with words that have double meaning. A pun doesn’t make sense until you know both meanings of the word.

Последнее изменение этой страницы: 2016-08-01; Нарушение авторского права страницы

infopedia.su Все материалы представленные на сайте исключительно с целью ознакомления читателями и не преследуют коммерческих целей или нарушение авторских прав. Обратная связь - (0.014 с.)