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Lexical expressive means and stylistic devices

Peculiar use of set expressions

Stylistic functioning of morphologival forms



(as) beautiful as a rose; stupid as an ass; stubborn as a mule; fresh as a rose; fat as a pig; white as snow; proud as a peacock; drunk as a lord.

According to the expressiveness:

Ø genuine

Ø trite:

1. similes, describing the appearance:

fair as a lily, fat as a pig, bright as a button.

2. similes, describing the features of the character:

cheerful as a lark, industrious as an ant, faithful as a dog.

3. similes, describing the actions:

busy as a bee, fleet as a deer, slow as a tortoise.

4. similes, describing the inner state:

feel like a fish out of water, black as a sin, blush like a rose.


Ø grammatically, with the help of conjunctions (as if, as though, like, than, asas)

"like" is used:

to drink like a fish(= very much);

Oh, my love is like a red, red rose

That's newly sprung in June. (Burns);

Rise like lionsafter slumber, in unvanquishible number,

Shake your chains to earth, like dew

That in sleep had fallen on you.

We are many, they are few. (Shelly).


Ø lexically, by means of the words expressing likeness(remind, resemble, seem, appear) disguised simile:

He reminded me of a hungry cat.



Ø verbal, cognitive

Ø nonverbal, metaphoric, half-metaphor



1) Of all the days that's in the week
I dearly love but one day -

And that's the day that comes between

A Saturday and Monday.

2) I understand you are poor and wish to earn money by nursing the little boy, my son, who has been so prematurely deprived of what can never be replaced (Dickens).

Periphrases are classified into:

Ø figurative (metonymic and metaphoric)

"The hospital was crowded with the surgically interesting products of the fighting in Africa" (I. Sh.);

Ø logical

"Mr. Du Pont was dressed in the conventional disguise with which Brooks Brothers cover the shame of American millionaires." (M. St.)

The little boy has been deprived of what can never be replaced (Dickens) (= deprived of his mother);

An addition to the little party now made its appearance (= another person came in).

The notion of king may be poetically represented as the protector of earls; the victor lord; the giver of lands; abattle may be called a play of swords; a saddle = a battle-seat; a soldier = a shield-bearer, God = Our Lord, Almighty, Goodness, Heavens, the Skies.

Periphrasis may have a poetic colouring:

a pensive warbler of the ruddy breast (= a bullfinch, : A. Pope); The sightless couriers of the air (= the winds: Shakespeare),

or a humorous colouring: a disturber of the piano keys (= a pianist; O. Henry).



Several groups:

Ø Religious euphemisms:

God may be replaced by Godness, Lord, Jove, Heaven, etc.

Devil by the deuce, the dickens, old Nick, old Harry.

Death to join the majority, to pass away, to go the way of al flesh, to go west, to breathe ones last, to expire, to depart, etc.

Ø Moral and convential

person with an alternative body image, big, fluffy, full-figured or heavy-set fat

hair disadvantaged bald

incomplete success failure

person of differing sobriety drunk

vertically challenged short

ten oclock girl, lady of the night ,night workers the oldest profession - call girl

to tie a donkey - to visit the toilet

Ø Professional

metalworker; locksmith

office manager secretary

press agent - publicist

Ø Medical

French ache, or French disease syphilis

heart attack

people with special needs

Lunatic Liam - psychiatric hospital

Ø Parlamentary, political

confrontation, incident, intervention,

limited action, operation

developing countries


hyperbole (, )
a car as big as a house; the man-mountain (-, );

The coffee shop smell was strong enough to build a garage on. (R. Chandler)

His grey face was so long that he could wind it twice round his neck.

One after another those people lay down on the ground to laugh and two of them died.

I was scared to death when he entered the room.

The girls were dressed to kill. He was so tall that I was not sure he had a face. (O. Henry);

I'd give anything to see it. Your dad is the smartest guy in the world. Janet worked her fingers to the bone. I can smell pizza from a mile away.


Ø The man was like the rock of Gibraltar. (simile)

Ø I was wildly sympathetic. (oxymoron)

Ø He is such a prehistoric monster. (metaphor)


Ø pronouns (all, every, everybody)

All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. (Shakespeare)

Ø Numerical nouns, numerals

a thousand pardons

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

I've told you a million times.

Her family is one aunt about a thousand years old.

Ive seen this movie at least 80,000 times.

Ø adverbs of time (always, forever, for ages, never ever and forever)

We will be best friends forever.

Vanessa never has anything interesting to say.

I will never say never.

meiosis[mi'ousis] (understatement)


She wore a pink hat, the size of a button.

I was half-afraid that you have forgotten me.

It will cost you a pretty penny.

"It isn't very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain." J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

"You know, Einstein was not a bad physicist."

"The pond" as a name for the Atlantic Ocean.


Date: 2015-12-24; view: 5848

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Interjections and exclamatory words | MORPHEMIC REPETITION
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