These are the most important devices as described by wikipedia.org. If you don’t know them by heart go to the Maths class!
Alliteration is a stylistic literary device identified by the repeated sound of the first consonant in a series of multiple words, or the repetition of the same consonant sounds in stressed syllables of a phrase. „Alliteration“ from the Latin word “litera”, meaning “letters of the alphabet”, and the first known use of the word to refer to a literary device occurred around 1624. Alliteration narrowly refers to the repetition of a consonant in any syllables that, according to the poem’s meter, are stressed, as in James Thomson’s verse „Come…dragging the lazy languid Line along“. Another example is „Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers“.
In rhetoric, an anaphora (Greek: ἀναφορά, „carrying back“) is a rhetorical device that consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses, thereby lending them emphasis. In contrast, anepistrophe (or epiphora) is repeating words at the clauses‘ ends. The combination of anaphora and epistrophe results in symploce.
Antithesis (Greek for „setting opposite“, from ἀντί „against“ and θέσις „position“) is used in writing or speech either as a proposition that contrasts with or reverses some previously mentioned proposition, or when two opposites are introduced together for contrasting effect.
In rhetoric, a climax (Greek: κλῖμαξ, klîmax, lit. „staircase“ or „ladder“) is a figure of speech in which words, phrases, or clauses are arranged in order of increasing importance. In its use with clauses,
A colloquialism is a word, phrase, or other form used in informal language. Dictionaries often display colloquial words and phrases with the abbreviation colloq.as an identifier. Colloquial language, colloquial dialect, or informal language is a variety of language commonly employed in conversation or other communication in informal situations. The word colloquial by its etymology originally referred to speech as distinguished from writing, but colloquial register is fundamentally about the degree of informality or casualness rather than the medium, and some usage commentators thus prefer the term casualism.
In linguistics, ellipsis (from the Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, „omission“) or elliptical construction refers to the omission from a clause of one or more words that are nevertheless understood in the context of the remaining elements. There are numerous distinct types of ellipsis acknowledged in theoretical syntax. This article provides an overview of them. Theoretical accounts of ellipsis can vary greatly depending in part upon whether a constituency-based or a dependency-based theory of syntactic structure is pursued.
Accumulatio is a figure of speech, part of the broader group of enumeratio, in which the points made previously are presented again in a compact, forceful manner. It often employs the use of climax in the summation of a speech.
The word is Latin, from a verb meaning „to amass.“
A euphemism /ˈjufəˌmɪzəm/ is a generally innocuous word or expression used in place of one that may be found offensiveor suggest something unpleasant. Some euphemisms are intended to amuse; while others use bland, inoffensive terms for things the user wishes to downplay. Euphemisms are used to refer to taboo topics (such as disability, sex, excretion, and death) in a polite way, or to mask profanity
Hyperbole(ˈ/haɪˈpɜːrbəli/; Greek: ὑπερβολή, huperbolḗ, from ὑπέρ (hupér, “above”) + βάλλω (bállō, „I throw“)) is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device orfigure of speech. In rhetoric, it is also sometimes known as auxesis (lit. „growth“). In poetry and oratory, it emphasizes, evokes strong feelings, and creates strong impressions. As a figure of speech, it is usually not meant to be taken literally
Irony (from Ancient Greek εἰρωνεία (eirōneía), meaning „dissimulation, feigned ignorance“), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event in which what appears, on the surface, to be the case, differs radically from what is actually the case. Irony may be divided into categories such as verbal, dramatic, and situational.
Jargon is a type of language that is used in a particular context and may not be well understood outside of it. The context is usually a particular occupation (that is, a certain trade, profession, or academic field), but any ingroup can have jargon. The main trait that distinguishes jargon from the rest of a language is specialvocabulary—including some words specific to it and, often, narrower senses of words that outgroups would tend to take in a broader sense. Jargon is thus „the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group“. Most jargon is technical terminology, involving terms of art or industry terms, with particular meaning within a specific industry.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that refers to something as being the same as another thing for rhetorical effect. It may provide clarity or identify hidden similarities between two ideas. Where a simile compares two items, a metaphor directly equates them, and does not use „like“ or „as“ as does a simile. One of the most commonly cited examples of a metaphor in English literature is the „All the world’s a stage“ monologue from As You Like It:
In rhetoric, litotes (/ˈlaɪtətiːz/, US /ˈlɪtətiːz/ or /laɪˈtoʊtiːz/) is a figure of speech wherein understatement is used to emphasize a point by stating a negative to further affirm a positive, often incorporating double negatives for effect. For example, „She’s not bad looking“ could be used to express that someone is gorgeous. Or it could convey that she’s not particularly ugly, but also isn’t particularly attractive. The degree of emphasis depends on the context in which it is used. For instance, the commonly used phrase „not bad“ could indicate that something was either average or excellent. Along the same lines, litotes can be used to diminish the harshness of an observation; „He isn’t the cleanest person I know“ could be used as a means of indicating that someone is a messy person
An oxymoron (usual plural oxymorons, less commonly the Greek-style oxymora) is a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements that appear to be contradictory, but which contain a concealed point. Oxymorons appear in a variety of contexts, including inadvertent errors (such as „ground pilot“) and literary oxymorons crafted to reveal a paradox.
In rhetoric, Parallel Syntax (also known as parallel construction and parallelism) is a rhetorical device that consists of repetition among adjacent sentences or clauses. The repeated sentences or clauses provides emphasis to a center theme or idea the author is trying to convey.
Repetition is the simple repeating of a word, within a sentence or a poetical line, with no particular placement of the words, in order to secure emphasis. This is such a common literary device that it is almost never even noted as a figure of speech.
A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked to make a point rather than to elicit an answer. Though classically stated as a proper question, such a rhetorical device by implying a question, and therefore may not always require a question mark when written. Though a rhetorical question does not require a direct answer, in many cases it may be intended to start a discussion or at least draw an acknowledgement that the listener understands the intended message.
A simile (/ˈsɪməli/) is a figure of speech that directly compares two things. Although similes and metaphors are similar, similes explicitly use connecting words (such as like, as, so, than, or various verbs such as resemble), though these specific words are not always necessary. While similes are mainly used in forms of poetry that compare the inanimate and the living, there are also terms in which similes and personifications are used for humorous purposes and comparison.
In rhetoric, a tautology (from Greek ταὐτός, „the same“ and λόγος, „word/idea“) is a logical argument constructed in such a way, generally by repeating the same concept or assertion using different phrasing or terminology, that the proposition as stated is logically irrefutable, while obscuring the lack of evidence or valid reasoning supporting the stated conclusion.
These are just the basics. For more fun with words visit the glossary of rhetorical terms.