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Lexico-syntactical stylistic devices

Lexico-syntactical SDs

certain structures, whose emphasis depends not only on the arrangement of sentence members but also on the lexico-semantic aspect of the utterance (V.A.K.)

- include: <antithesis>, <climax>, <anticlimax>, <simile>, <litotes>, <periphrasis>

See: <lexical SDs>, <cluster SDs>, <syntactical SDs>, <stylistic device>




a semantically complicated <parallel construction>, 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 <meaning> caused by being opposed one to another.

- is generally moulded in <parallel construction>;

- 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

Source: <I.R.G.>:222-224


стилистическая фигура, усиливающая выразительность за счёт столкновения (противопоставления) в одном контексте прямо противоположных понятий и образов (I.V.A.)

See: <oxymoron>, <parallel construction>, <lexico-syntactical SDs>





a semantically complicated <parallel construction>, in which each next word combination (clause, sentence) is logically more important or emotionally stronger and more explicit (V.A.K.)

Three types:

@ logical climax

a three-step <climax> (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 <climax>, 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 <emotive meaning> (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)


an arrangement of sentences (or of the homogeneous parts of one sentence) which secures a gradual increase in significance importance, or emotional tension in the utterance (I.R.G.:219)


расположение слов и выражений в порядке возрастающего их значения (I.V.A.)

Syn.: climax, gradation

Ant.: <anticlimax>

See: <parallel construction>, <repetition>, <lexico-syntactical SDs>



антиклимакс, спад

a <climax> suddenly interrupted by an unexpected turn of the thought which defeats expectations of the reader (listener) and ends in complete semantic reversal of the emphasised idea (V.A.K.)

e.g. It was appalling – and soon forgotten. (Galsworthy)

e.g. He was unconsolable – for an afternoon. (Galsworthy)

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

Ant.: <climax>

See: <lexico-syntactical SDs>




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)

Source: <V.A.K.>


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)

Source: <I.R.G.>

Compare: <logical comparison>

See: <metaphor>, <epic simile> or <Homeric simile>, <lexico-syntactical SDs>

(logical) comparison

(логическое) сопоставление

a) an ordinary comparison of two objects belonging to the same classes (V.A.K.)

e.g. She is like her mother.

b) weighing two objects belonging to one class of things with the purpose of establishing the degree of their sameness or difference

- takes into consideration all the properties of the two objects, stressing the one that is compared

e.g. The boy Seems to be as clever as his mother.

Source: <I.R.G.>

Compare: <simile>

See: <lexico-syntactical SDs>

(the) tenor

(the) vehicle

See: <simile>

Epic simile

Homeric simile

extended <simile>, sustained expression of likeness

See: <simile>

Syn.: epic simile, Homeric simile



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)

Source: <V.A.K.>


a) is a <stylistic device> 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 <understatement> 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)

Source: <I.R.G.>


фигура речи, состоящая в употреблении частицы с антонимом, уже содержащий отрицательный префикс

e.g. it is not unlikely = it is very likely; he was not unaware of = he was quite aware of

- в разговорном стиле передаёт преимущественно воспитанную сдержанность или иронию;

- в научном стиле сообщает высказыванию большую строгость и осторожность:

e.g. it is not difficult to See = it easy to See

- интересна свей национальной специфичностью; Её принято объяснять английским национальным характером, отражённым в речевом этикете англичан: английской сдержанностью в проявлении оценок и эмоций, стремлением избежать крайностей и сохранить самообладание в любых ситуациях:

e.g. It is rather an unusual story, isn’t it? = You lie. It would not suit be all that well. = It is impossible.

Source: <I.V.A.>, 236

See: <understatement>, <transference>, <lexico-syntactical SDs>





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 <figurative periphrasis> (<metaphoric periphrasis> or <metonymic periphrasis>) and <logical periphrasis> (<euphemistic periphrasis>)

Source: <V.A.K.>


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 <simile>, 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)

Source: <I.R.G.>


<троп>, состоящий в замене названия предмета описательным оборотом с указанием его существенных, характерных признаков (I.V.A.)

e.g. The beast that bears me. (horse) (W.Shakespeare - L)

See: <euphemism>, <lexico-syntactical SDs>

Syn.: periphrasis, circumlocution


Figurative periphrasis

Metaphoric periphrasis

Metonymic periphrasis

перифраз фигуральный (метафорический, метонимический)

a <periphrasis> that is made of phrase-metonymies or phrase-metaphors (V.A.K.)

- is to convey a purely individual perception of the described object

e.g. The hospital was crowded with the surgically interesting products of the fighting in Africa. \[=wounded\] (I.Shaw)

e.g. His huge leather chairs were kind to the femurs. (R.P.Warren)

e.g. I took my obedient feet away from him. (W.S.Gilbert)

See: <metaphor>, <metonymy>, <periphrasis>

Syn.: figurative periphrasis, metaphoric periphrasis, metonymic periphrasis


Logical periphrasis

Euphemistic periphrasis


перифраз логический (эвфемистический)

a phrase synonymic with the words which were substituted by <periphrasis> 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)

Source: <V.A.K.>



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)

Source: <I.R.G.>

See: <periphrasis>

Syn.: logical periphrasis, euphemistic periphrasis, euphemism



{{ Арнольд И.В. }}



схождение в одном месте пучка стилистических приёмов, участвующих в единой стилистической функции

e.g. And heaved and heaved, still unrestingly heaved the black sea, as if its vast tides were a conscience. (H. Melville – Moby-Dick)

e.g. Sara was a menace and a tonic, my best enemy; Rozzie was a disease, my worst friend. (J.Gary – The Horse’s Mouth)

e.g. The rank and file of doctors are no more scientific than their tailors; or their tailors are no less scientific than they. (B.Shaw) (<parallel construction>, <anadiplosis>, <antithesis>, <negation>)

Source: <I.V.A.>

e.g. The more you study, the more you know, the more you know the more you forget. (proverb) (<parallel construction>, <anaphora>, <anticlimax>)

e.g. Live hundred years, learn hundred years, and die a fool! (proverb) (<parallel construction>, <epiphora>, <anticlimax>

See: <syntactical convergence>, <repetition>, <syntactical SDs>




величина, характеризующая представление сообщения большим числом знаков, чем это было бы необходимо при отсутствии помех (I.V.A.)




появление сходных элементов в сходных позициях (I.V.A.)

e.g. Hedges have eyes and walls have ears. (proverb)

e.g. I kissed thee ere I killed thee. (Shakespeare)

e.g. A Soul as full of Worth as void of Pride, // Which nothing Seeks to show, or needs to hide, // Which nor to guilt nor fear its Caution owes, // And boasts a Warmth that from no passion flows. (A.Popa to J.Kregs)

See: <parallel construction>




выражение отвлечённой идеи в развёрнутом художественном образе с развитием ситуации и сюжета (I.V.A.)

e.g. See: Sonnet LX by W.Shakespeare, Дж. Бэньяна «Путь паломника», «Божественная комедия» Данте ()





лексическое изобразительно-выразительное средство, в котором слово или словосочетание употребляется в преобразованном значении (I.V.A.)

See: <tropes>; <lexical SDs>



include: <epithet>, <metaphor>, <metonymy>, <oxymoron>, <periphrasis>, <personification>, <simile>

See: <trope>; <lexical SDs>


Semi-marked structure

полуотмеченная структура

структура с нарушением лексической (once bellow a time) или грамматической (chips of when) сочетаемости (Н.Хомский)

e.g. Colourless green ideas sleep furiously (Н.Хомский)

e.g. a grief ago, a farmyard away, all the sun long, a white noise, the shadow of a sound, a pretty how town, little whos, he danced his did, for as long as forever is e.g. He is dreadfully married. He is the most married man I ever saw. (A.Ward)

Source: <I.V.A.>




особый стилистический приём (минус-приём) преднамеренной простоты описания посредством слов, употреблённых только в прямых значениях (I.V.A.)

See: <stylistic device>




слова, принадлежащие к одной части речи, близкие или тождественные по предметно-логическому значению хотя бы в одном из своих лексико-семантических вариантов и такие, что для них можно указать контексты, в которых они взаимозаменяемы (I.V.A.)

See: <synonymical repetition>; <logical periphrasis>; <lexical SDs>



Grammatical metaphor


1a) расхождение между традиционно обозначающим и ситуативно обозначающим на уровне морфологии

1b) стилистический эффект употребления слов разных частей речи и их форм в необычных лексико-грамматических и грамматических значениях и/или с необычной референтной отнесённостью

See: <personification>

2) употребление синтаксических структур в несвойственных им денотативных значениях и с дополнительными коннотациями


e.g. Риторические вопросы служат эмфатическим утверждением, а повелительные предложения могут иногда передавать не побуждение к действию, а угрозу или насмешку. Эмфатическое отрицание выражается предложениями, в которых нет отрицательных слов.

e.g. Catch you taking liberties with a gentleman! (B.Shaw)

- выражается в нарушении валентностных связей, что создаёт дополнительные коннотации оценочности, эмоциональности, экспрессивности или стилистической отнесённости, а также в семантическом осложнении лексического значения

See: <rhetorical question>

Syn.: transposition, grammatical metaphor


Zoonymic metaphor


зоонимическая метафора, зооморфизм

применение к людям слов второго разряда, т.е. названий животных, птиц и фантастических существ (метафорическое, эмоционально окрашенное и нередко обидное) (I.V.A.)

e.g. ass, bear, beast, bitch, bookworm, donkey, duck, kid, monkey, mule, pig, shark, snake, swine, tabby, toad, wolf, worm, angel, devil, imp, sphinx, witch (I.V.A.)

e.g. I was not going to have all the [u]old tabbies[/u] bossing her around just because she is not what they call “our class”. (A.Wilson - The Middle Age)

e.g. What were you talking about to that old mare downstairs? (S.Delaney)

e.g. Don’t be such a donkey, dear. (C.P.Snow)

Syn.: zoonymic metaphor, zoomorphism


Group genitive

Group possessive

групповой генитив

Падежный суффикс генитива ('s) может присоединяться не к основе, как обычно, а к целому словосочетанию или предложению

e.g. She's the boy I used to go with's mother. // She's the man that bought my wheelbarrow's wife. // It's the young fellow in the backroom's car. // He is the niece, I told you about's husband. (J.Bailey)

Морфема - показатель генитива - присоединяется во всех этих примерах не к основе, а к целому определительному комплексу - существительному с определяющим его придаточным предложением.

Source: <I.V.A.>


is the construction by which the ending -'s of the possessive case can be added to the last word of a noun phrase, which is regarded as a single unit:

e.g. The king of Spain's daughter.

e.g. John and Mary's baby.

e.g. Somebody else's umbrella.

e.g. A quarter of an hour's drive.

Expressions like these are natural and acceptable.

Informal language, however, permits the extension of the construction to long and complicated phrases:

e.g. The people in the house opposite's geraniums.

e.g. The woman I told you about on the phone yesterday's name is Thompson.

e.g. The man who called last week's umbrella is still in the hall.

In these, the connection between the words forming the group possessive is much looser and more complicated than in the earlier examples. The effect is often somewhat ludicrous.

Expressions of this sort should not be used in serious prose.

e.g. [u]Substitute:[/u]

e.g. The geraniums of the people in the house opposite

e.g. The name of the woman I told you about on the phone yesterday is Thompson.

e.g. The umbrella of the man who called last week is still in the hall.

Source: The Oxford Guide to English Usage


See: <morphological level>, <colloquial type of language>




безотносительно большая степень признака (I.V.A.)

e.g. a most valuable idea, the sweetest baby, the newest fashion of all, a most foolish wife; the orangemostest drink in the world(I.V.A.)

e.g. You cannot be deader then the dead. (E.Hemingway)

e.g. Oh, Josie, you are a naughty girl, you really are. I was hoping you’d have everything nice and clean and tidy when I came in. (J.Osborne and A.Creighton)

See: <morphological level>




фигура речи, которая состоит в повторении звуков, слов, морфем, синонимов или синтаксических конструкций в условиях достаточной тесноты ряда, т.е. достаточно близко друг от друга, чтобы их можно было заметить. (I.V.A.)

e.g. Beat! beat! drums! – blow! bugles! blow! (W.Whitman)

e.g. Tiger, tiger, burning bright. (W.Blake)

e.g. ... where white horses and black horses and brown horses and white and black horses and brown and white horses trotted tap-tap-tap tap-tap-tappety-tap over cobble stones ...(Ш.О’Кейси)

See: <repetition>, <morphemic repetition>, <alliteration>, <assonance>, <synonymical repetition>


Syntactical convergence

синтаксическая конвергенция

группа из нескольких совпадающих по функции элементов, объединённых одинаковым синтаксическим отношением и подчиняющему их слову или предложению

e.g. Группа однородных членов предложения (предложных дополнений): To make a separate peace with poverty, filth, immorality or ignorance is treason to the rest of the human race. (S. Levenson. – Everything but Money)

e.g. Однотипные определения, обстоятельства, приложения, подлежащие или сказуемые. Они могут без изменения грамматического смысла соединяться союзами или просто следовать друг за другом.

e.g. Перечислительные предложения, т.е. бессоюзные сложные предложения, состоящие из ряда однородных сочинённых предложений.

- может быть основана на семантической неоднородности синтаксически однородных членов.

Комический или сатирический эффект создаётся так называемым хаотическим перечислением, при котором в один ряд ставятся предметы мелкие, прозаические и возвышенные, живые люди и абстрактные понятия, далёкое и близкое.

e.g. A disorderly rush begins – my parents, my wives, my girls, my children, my farm, my animals, my habits, my money, my music lessons, my face, my soul! I have to cry. (S.Bellow)

Source: <I.V.A.>, 256

See: <convergence>, <repetition>, <syntactical SDs>




объединение двух или более однородных членов, так или иначе различающихся в грамматическом отношении

e.g. Силлепсис числа – одни элементы ряда стоят во множ. числе, другие – в ед.

Source: <I.V.A.>, 258

See: <zeugma>




- в целом более экспрессивно, чем утверждение;

- встречается в среднем во много раз реже, чем утверждение, появление его оказывается особо информативным;

- экспрессивность зависит от функции указывать на то, что связи между названными элементами реально не существует;

- подразумевает контраст между возможным и действительным, что создаёт экспрессивный и оценочный материал;

e.g. The rank and file of doctors are no more scientific than their tailors; or their tailors are no less scientific than they. (B.Shaw)

- позволяет сделать фразу предельно лаконичной и усилить выражение необратимости:

e.g. There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most men lives. (Gr. Green – The Comedians)

- передаёт компрессию информации:

e.g. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. (Macbeth)

- может передавать волнение, нерешительность, колебание:

e.g. I’m wondering if I oughtn’t to ring him up. (B.Shaw)

- накопление может свидетельствовать о взволнованности, возбуждении, оживлении:

e.g. Isn’t that lovely? … I shouldn’t be a bit surprised if Robin doesn’t do awfully well in some business quite soon. … Gerald, it isn’t so very long ago that … . If it hadn’t been for the children, I wouldn’t have wanted to go on living. (J.Pristley)

- средство усиления иронии:

e.g. insupportable plagues, effect of that incurable distemper, inexpressible, incurable fools, inconceivable plagues (J.Swift) (подчёркивается безнадёжность «неизлечимых»)

Source: <I.V.A.>, 233

See: <litotes>, <irony>, <double negative>


- может употребляться, а может и нет;

- говоря строго логически, в повествовании не нужно (если чего-либо нет, то зачем об этом говорить?), поэтому несёт дополнительные смыслы;

- присутствует в создании экспрессивности языкового выражения;

- имеет широкие выразительные возможности;

- выражает слабое утверждение (<understatement>);

- выражает литоту (<litotes>);

- выражает иронию (<irony>);

- выражает отталкивание от какого-то стандарта, от того, что ожидает читатель;

(включение текста в общий поток литературного процесса, активное воздействие автора на вкусы и взгляды читателя)

e.g. «он не беден» <-> «он богат»

e.g. … he had never been handsome.

e.g. … he was not in the last addicted to ..

- ответ на невысказанное предположение;

e.g. «Её отец не был богат» (хотя все считали его богатым), или

e.g. «Её отец не был богат» (а отец такой девушки, скажем, избалованной, непременно должен быть богат)

- само по себе не может выразить сложные оттенки смысла, но лишь участвует в создании стилистико-смыслового эффекта. Основную роль играет содержание высказываний.

e.g. No one who ever Seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. (J.Austen – Northanger Abbey)

Source: <N.F.P.>

See: <litotes>, <double negative>, <morphological level>

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