Figures of Inequality
Their semantic function is highlighting differences.
Specifying, or clarifying synonyms.
Synonym used for clarification mostly follow one another (in opposition t
replacers), although not necessarily immediately. Clarifiers may either
arise in the speaker's mind or they occupy the same syntactical positions in two or mor
Thus, roughly, in a 'synonymic repetition', as this phenomenon is ofte
called, the idea recurs, but it is not exactly the same idea: a subsequen
synonym complements its predecessor, both are complemented by th
third, and so on.
"Joe was a mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going,
foolish dear fellow." (Dickens)
Climax (or: Gradation). ideas in which what precedes is less
than what follows. Thus the second element surpasses the first and is, in
its turn, surpassed by the third, and so on.
To put it otherwise, the first
element is the weakest (though not necessarily weak!); the subsequent
dements gradually increase in strength, the last being the strongest.
"I am sorry, I am so very sorry, I am so extremely sorry."
( Chesterton )
Anti-climax (or: Bathos). 'back gradation'. it is the opposite
to climax, but this assumption is not quite correct. It would serve no
purpose whatever making the second element weaker than the first, the
third still weaker, and so on.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some
few to be chewed and digested."
Pun. This term is synonymous with the current expression 'play upon
words'. "There comes a period in every man's
life, but she is just a semicolon in his." The witticism is clear to him
who recalls that period is not only 'lapse of time', but punctuation mark
as well. Thus a woman may be less than a period in a man's life: a mere
Zeugma. As with the pun, this device consists in combining unequal,
semantically heterogeneous, or even incompatible, words or phrases.
Zeugma is a kind of economy of syntactical units: one unit (word,
phrase) makes a combination with two or several others without being
repeated itself: uShe was married to Mr. Johnson, her twin sister, to Mr.
Ward; their half-sister, to Mr. Trench"
Tautology pretended and tautology disguised. repetition of th
same word or word combination: the theme and the rheme are lexical!
identical. 6 For East is East, and West is West...'