TOP 20 FIGURE OF SPEECH            


 Repetition of an initial consonant sound.

  • A moist young moon hung above the mist of a neighboring meadow.
  • Guinness is good for you.
  • Good men are gruff and grumpy, cranky, crabbed, and cross.” 
Repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or verses.
  • We shall go on to the end.
  • We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air.
  • We shall depend our island. 
The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases.
  • Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing
  • Everybody doesn’t like something, but nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.
  • Hillary has soldiered on, damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t, like most powerful women, expected to be tough as nails and warm as toast at the same time.
Breaking off discourse to address some absent person or thing, some abstract quality, an inanimate object, or a nonexistent character.
  • “O western wind, when wilt thou blow
    That the small rain down can rain?”
  • “Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone,Without a dream in my heart,Without a love on my own.”
  • “Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.”
Identity or similarity in sound between internal vowels in neighboring words.
  • “Those images that yet 
    Fresh images beget, 
    That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea.” 
  • “If I bleat when I speak it’s because I just got . . . fleeced.”
  • “The spider skins lie on their sides, translucent and ragged, their legs drying in knots.”
A verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first but with the parts reversed.
  • “Nice to see you, to see you, nice!” 
  • “You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.”
  • “In the end, the true test is not the speeches a president delivers; it’s whether the president delivers on the speeches.”
The substitution of an inoffensive term for one considered offensively explicit.
  • We’ll see you when you get back from image enhancement camp.
  • You’ve got a prime figure. You really have, you know.
An extravagant statement; the use of exaggerated terms for the purpose of emphasis or heightened effect.
  • “I was helpless. I did not know what in the world to do. I was quaking from head to foot, and could have hung my hat on my eyes, they stuck out so far.”
  • “He snorted and hit me in the solar plexus.
  • “I bent over and took hold of the room with both hands and spun it. When I had it nicely spinning I gave it a full swing and hit myself on the back of the head with the floor.”
The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning. A statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea.
  • “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.”
  • He is as smart as a soap dish.
  • I have no doubt your theatrical performance will receive the praise it so richly deserves.


A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite.
  • “The grave’s a fine a private place,
    But none, I think, do there embrace.”

An implied comparison between two unlike things that actually have something important in common.
  • Love is a lie.
  • Life is going through time.
  • You are the light in my life.
A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated; also, the rhetorical strategy of describing something indirectly by referring to things around it.
  • “Fear gives wings.”
  • “Detroit is still hard at work on an SUV that runs on rain forest trees and panda blood.”
  • “I stopped at a bar and had a couple of double Scotches. They didn’t do me any good. All they did was make me think of Silver Wig, and I never saw her again.”
The use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.
  • Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. Ding-dong, ding-dong. The little train rumbled over the tracks.”
  • Brrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinng! An alarm clock clanged in the dark and silent room.”
  • I’m getting married in the morning!
    Ding dong! the bells are gonna chime.”
A figure of speech in which incongruous or contradictory terms appear side by side.
  • “How is it possible to have a civil war?”
  • “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”
  • “A yawn may be defined as a silent yell.”
A statement that appears to contradict itself.
  • “The swiftest traveler is he that goes afoot.”
  • “If you wish to preserve your secret, wrap it up in frankness.”
A figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstraction is endowed with human qualities or abilities.
  • “Oreo: Milk’s favorite cookie.”
  • “The road isn’t built that can make it breathe hard!”
A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words.
  • A vulture boards a plane, carrying two dead possums. The attendant looks at him and says, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”
  • Kings worry about a receding heir line.

A stated comparison (usually formed with “like” or “as”) between two fundamentally dissimilar things that have certain qualities in common.
  • “Good coffee is like friendship: rich and warm and strong.”
  • “You know life, life is rather like opening a tin of sardines. We’re all of us looking for the key.”
A figure of speech in which a part is used to represent the whole (for example, ABCsfor alphabet) or the whole for a part (“England won the World Cup in 1966″).
  • The sputtering economy could make the difference if you’re trying to get a deal on a new set of wheels.”
  • General Motors announced cutbacks.
A figure of speech in which a writer or a speaker deliberately makes a situation seem less important or serious than it is.
  • “The grave’s a fine and private place,But none,I think,do there embrace.”
  • “I am just going outside and may be some time.”