Word meaning is altered from the usual or expected.


™An allegory is a type of extended metaphor. The metaphor is prevalent in the whole piece so the reader makes connections to the real world.

™EXAMPLES- Golding’s Lord of the Flies; Orwell’s Animal Farm; Avatar; and The Seventh Seal.

™The most famous allegory is John Bunyan’s "Pilgrim’s Progress", a story about Christian salvation.  Dante's Inferno is perhaps the second most famous allegory.  1984 is a close third.

™EFFECT- Allegories are used to teach a lesson.


™A reference to a well known piece of literature, person, or event.

™EXAMPLES- “Plan ahead: it wasn’t raining when Noah built the arc.”

“You belong in the 8th circle.”

“If you use my pen again, expect WWII.”

EFFECT- The reader makes a clear distinction (if the allusion is known; if not, it will be a dead end).

Adds variety and depth.


™An expression that has more than one meaning.

™EXAMPLES- Brave men run in my family.

Union Demands Increased Unemployment.

"Leahy Wants FBI to Help Corrupt Iraqi Police Force“

EFFECT- Usually humorous, ambiguous statements show duality. (However, not every person will see both meanings, hence why they are usually newspaper headlines already published.)


™A comparison between two similar items. The comparison may be explained in detail and include a simile.

™EXAMPLE- “Knowledge always desires increase: it is like fire, which must first be kindled by some external agent, but which will afterwards propagate itself.” --Samuel Johnson

™EFFECT- To explain the comparison and possibly help someone see the comparison clearer.

This advertisement (as disturbing as it is) is an analogy.  What is the analogy? This can also have different Tropes in it as well. As we go along with the Tropes, you may spot other devices in this advertisement.


™Addresses a person or personified item, either present or absent. This usually begins with an “O”.

™EXAMPLES- “Sing to me, O Muse…”

–“O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth.”

–“O value of wisdom…”

–O Love! Thou have won again!

EFFECT-To vent or to display intense emotion.

Personifies inanimate objects and makes them relatable.


™Everyday speech not used in formal writing; slang.

™EXAMPLES- “So, I said, like, whatever, ya know. I’m sooooo over that.”

™EFFECT- Other than being annoying to read and listen to, this does add an everyday “earthy” tone.

™AVOID using in your own formal writing. However, when authors use it, they are trying to imitate natural speech and meaning.

(See Pinterest Board.)


™An extended metaphor, usually found in poetry. This is an in-depth exploration of a topic and is much longer than an analogy.™

EFFECT-To relate a comparison at length.


™A pleasant expression for an unpleasant or unacceptable one.

™EXAMPLES- “Senior citizens” for old people

™“His tongue is now a stringless instrument” for he’s dead.

™EFFECT-De-emphasizes the truth so the truth is not so blunt yet is sarcastic.


™Deliberate exaggeration. Similes, metaphors, and analogies are used.

™EXAMPLES- “I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate.”

™“It was so cold I saw polar bears wearing jackets.”

™“We are so poor, we don’t have two cents to rub together.”

™EFFECT-Add color and humor to fiction works.


™Exaggeration that belittles the situation. This belittling, in turn, makes the situation seem a little extreme. A type of euphemism. Usually contains “not”, which is meant to negate.

EXAMPLES- “It’s just a flesh wound.”

™“Poison is not poisonous after all, nor any wounds fatal.”

™EFFECT- This makes the situation seem not as serious.


™Opposite of euphemism: a MEAN expression meant to degrade.

™EXAMPLES- Abortionists = Murderers.

™Devout = Bible Thumper

™Environmentalist = Eco-Nazi or Tree Humper

™EFFECT- To diminish any respect and belittle the person. This is the opposite of euphemism and litotes.


™The opposite occurs than what was expected. Three types of irony exist.

™#1. Verbal- spoken.

™#2. Dramatic-audience knows but the actors do not.

™#3. Situational-occurrence.


™Nym = name. An item is substituted for the NAME of a person associated with it.

™EXAMPLES- You can’t fight city hall. (Mayor)

™The checkered flag waved and victory crossed the finish line. (Victory = driver’s name)

™The crown = Queen’s name

™EFFECT- The substitution defines the idea with a connotation. We know what is meant without saying it.



™A statement that contradicts.

™EXAMPLES-”Whosoever loses his life, shall find it.”

™“The swiftest traveler is he who goes afoot.” Thoreau

™EFFECT- These statements present a duality that shows a truth.


™A play on words, usually funny or droll (lol).

™EXAMPLES-”The defendant in a coffee theft trial refused to testify on the grounds that could incriminate him.”

™“I heard Einstein got along well with his parents ... relatively speaking.”

™“Did you hear about the farmer who got attacked by a cow? He milked it for all it was worth.”

™EFFECT- Comedic.


™The part represents the whole. DO NOT CONFUSE WITH METONYMY. This is not a name. This is one part (could be a body part) that represents the whole item.

™EXAMPLES-”I have to sit next to that mouth.”

™All hands on deck. (hands = sailors)

EFFECT-Focus on the important part of the image, not the whole image or individual.