Hyperbole is a deliberate exaggeration of a certain quality of an

Object or phenomenon.

Assigned features. Hyperbole can be expressed by all notional parts of speech. The most typical cases of expression are: by pronouns (all, every, everybody, everything); by numerical nouns (a million, a thousand); byadverbs of time (ever, never). In Ukrainian the ways of expression are such: by pronouns (, , , , (), , , ); by numerical nouns (, , ); by intensifying adverbs (, , ); by adverbs of time, place (, , ).

Hyperbole may be the final effect of other stylistic devices: metaphor,

similie, irony. Communicative function. Hyperbole mounts the expressiveness of speech. Examples:

Mary was scared to death.

Sam would eive the world to see Dave again.

I beg a thousand pardons.

Pete knows everybody in the town.

Every single rascal tries to cheat the public here.

It was so noisy inside that you couldn't hear yourself think.


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This figure of quantity is opposite in meaning to hyperbole. Meiosis is a deliberate diminution of a certain quality of an object or phenomenon. Assigned features. Meiosis underlines insignificance of such qualities of objects and phenomena as their size, volume, distance, time, shape, etc. The domain of meiosis is colloquial speech. Communicative function. Meiosis makes speech expressive. Examples:

There was a drop of water left in the bucket.

it was a cat-size pony.

August can do the job in a second.

Cary and Jane's house is one minute from here.

The guy is so disgusting! He is a real microbe.


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Litotes is a specific variant of meiosis.

Assigned features. Litotes has a peculiar syntactic structure. It is a

:ombination of the negative particle "not" and a word with negative meaning

)r a negative prefix. Such a combination makes positive sense: "not bad"

neans "good", "not unkind" means "kind", etc. Litotes is used in all functional styles of English.

Communicative functions. Litotes extenuats positive qualities of objects or phenomena. It makes statements and judgments sound delicate and diplomatic. It also expresses irony.


After the brawl Julia was not dissatisfied with herself

Martin is not without sense of humour.

The decision was not unreasonable.

The venture was not impossible.

John's behaviour was not disrespectful.



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Metonymy is transference of a name of one object to another object. Metonymic transference of names is based upon the principle of contiguity of the two objects.

Assigned features. As a rule, metonymy is expressed by nouns, less frequently - by substantivized numerals. That is why the syntactic functions and positions of metonymic words are those of the subject, object and predicative.

Classification. Metonymy may be lexical and contextual (genuine). Lexical metonymyis a source of creating new words or new meanings: table's leg, teapots nose, a hand (instead of a worker), the press (instead of people writing for newspapers), grave (instead of death), the cradle (instead of infancy), etc. Such metonymic meanings are registered in dictio-

naries. It is obvious that lexical metonymy is devoid of stylistic information. Contextual metonymyis the result of unexpected substitution of one word for another in speech. It is fresh and expressive:

This pair of whiskers is a convinced scoundrel. Communicative functions. Stylistic metonymy builds up imagery, points out

this or another feature of the object described, and makes speech economical. More examples:

The sword is the worst argument in a situation like that.

The other voice shook his head and went away.

The messenger was followed by a pair of heavy boots.

The fish swallowed her death and the float went down.

I wish you had Gary's ears and Jack's eves.

Linda gave her heart to the grocer's young man.


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> metonymy

Metonymy can be seen as a specific kind of symbolism by which the most essential component of the subject is abstracted to represent it. This component acts as a single symbol for something larger and usually more complex.

For instance, a crown is the most essential material component of the trappings of royalty, and so it serves well in representing the whole system of monarchy.

Similarly, the stage is a material component of acting as a profession. This too serves to represent symbolically something abstract and dynamic.

The 'cloth' symbolises the religious profession, and the 'bar' represents the legal profession. Both these items are essential material objects and are used to refer to the abstract concept of a profession.

In a statement such as 'Shakespeare depicts monarchs as human' the name is actually symbolising the total collection of his works. This form of metonymy is useful as a very graphic kind of shorthand.

This pragmatic explanation could also apply to the example of 'Whitehall announced today ...', although we could ascribe more political and even ulterior functions to this usage. [Remember, 'Whitehall' represent the civil service in the UK.]

To refer to Whitehall as having issued a statement is to generalise the source of the communication. This may be in the political interest of the Establishment. It is a form of social control to promote an image of a corporate mass of civil servants, rather than suggesting that one person or even a small hierarchical group makes significant and powerful


Whitehall as a material location stands for something abstract, in this
case an institution. This symbolic use depersonalises the source of the
statement, perhaps thereby giving it more authority.

This political interpretation is merely speculation, but the mechanical analysis of metonymy as a symbolic device stands on firmer ground.

[Pedants who collect terms enjoy distinguishing metonymy from synech-doche, which is its figurative bedfellow.]


This variety of metonymy is realized in two variants. The first variant is naming the whole object by mentioning part of it:

Caroline lives with Jack under the same roof (under the same roof -

in the same house).

The second variant of synecdoche is using the name of the whole object to denote a constituent part of this object:

The hall applauded (the hall = the people inside). More examples:

The school went to the zoo.

Here comes another beard.

The blue suit bowed and left the room.

Tfie museum spoke of the past.

It's October now. Rummer's rose no more.

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> synecdoche

In the expression 'All hands on deck!', the term 'hands' stands for 'mariners'.

The term 'hand' has been chosen to represent the whole expression 'able-bodied seaman' [or in PC (politically correct) terms 'sea-person'] because that is the most important feature required for work on deck.

In the expression 'United won the match', the term 'United' (in the case of Manchester United Football Club) might not appear to be the most important or essential item to represent the whole.

However, Manchester has two football teams the other being Manchester City Football Club. A supporter of MUFC would therefore be selecting the one important linguistic feature which distinguished his team from the other football club.

The parts of the name 'Manchester' and 'Football Club' would be implied by the speaker, and understood by the listener.


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