34 votes
Accepted

Are there situations where using an anastrophe is ill-advised?

It's never good style to depart from standard usage without a good reason. It just makes things harder to read and understand. In your example, the meaning is clear, but there's nothing about it ...
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13 votes

Are there situations where using an anastrophe is ill-advised?

Is there a situation where reversing the natural word order is ill-advised or completely wrong. Yes. Consider a simple sentence such as "Mary ate an apple." Using anastrophe, you could write this as ...
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10 votes

Metaphor or Personification

It is personification. Simile and metaphor are both comparing X to Y, but in different ways. A simile always uses "like" or "as": "The rustling of the branches was like trees whispering to each ...
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9 votes
Accepted

Using colors as words

It is done already. Consider: He strode onto the pitch in freshly pressed whites. (Cricket) 'He was clothed in brown rags' doesn't mean he was actually wearing rags. It is quite common to say ...
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  • 7,656
8 votes
Accepted

Can metaphors be used for other purposes than for stylistic effect and to form an allegory?

Your two categories cover a whole lot of ground between the two of them. But there's at least one other usage that comes readily to mind that isn't really encompassed by either of those. You can use ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Ironic Juxtaposition or Antithesis?

You're on the right track with the guesses in your subject line. It is a sort of antithesis, by the definition: Juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas (often, although not always, in ...
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  • 3,097
7 votes

Is alliteration distracting and not very valuable/interesting for the reader?

I definitely noticed the alliterations. They stood out, and were frankly jarring. If you were writing poetry, or prose which is echoing poetry, I'd tell you to go for it, but if your point is to tell ...
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7 votes

Metaphor or Personification

Both "Personification" and "Metaphor" are correct answers. Personification happens to be the best answer because it's more specific, but it's actually a type of metaphor. Everyone knows what a ...
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6 votes

When is using a simile better than giving a literal description?

When it works. It's not something that has a particular formula. Nothing to count. No threshold to pass or avoid passing. Use your critique group or beta-readers or your favorite alpha reader. ...
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6 votes

Is writing literary devices in a narrative essay (reflective) always good?

Writing can be fine without metaphors or similes or other "literary devices". Your particular writing has problems. Normally we don't do critiques here, but I think for your example this will benefit ...
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  • 93.2k
5 votes
Accepted

Combining an idiom with a metonymy

The problem is more the meter of the sentence. How you say things makes as big of an impact as what you say. The problem is furthered by the fact what you're trying to replace with "fedora hats&...
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5 votes
Accepted

Can someone give me an example of a figure of speech that could realistically be confused for a literal statement?

I can think of a few. A synecdoche like "I bought a new set of wheels" where a car is actually meant can be taken literally. Also an understatement like "It's just a scratch" when someone is injured ...
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  • 1,032
5 votes
Accepted

What kind of metaphor is "trees in the wind"?

It's Personification. While it is a type of metaphor, this is called personification. The intent here is simply to describe the random movement of the tree branches with a sense of purpose. Although "...
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  • 24.8k
4 votes

Is this an oxymoron, and what would be the purpose of making seemingly illogical statements in writing?

Poetry forces us to see things in a different way, so it often uses language in ways that we wouldn't typically see in prose. Grammar that is technically incorrect, words used in non-standard ways, ...
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4 votes

Are there situations where using an anastrophe is ill-advised?

You asked (or stated): Is there a situation where reversing the natural word order is ill-advised or completely wrong. Not absolutely! And by that, mean I, no of the absolute kind. :) I think ...
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  • 6,433
4 votes

Combining an idiom with a metonymy

I don't think the problem is the combination, it is the unfamiliar metonymy. The use of "fedora hats" to mean "Mafia family" is just not common enough for the reader not to be thrown out of the text, ...
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  • 4,182
4 votes
Accepted

Is this 'complex' metaphor an oxymoron?

I don't think it is an oxymoron, because the person is talking about two "different" entities. His true self which hides behind the mask. And his day-to-day self which probably has worn the mask so ...
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4 votes
Accepted

Can you combine any number of figures of speech into a single one?

Kind of, but don't go overboard. In theory, yes, you could combine as many literary techniques and figures of speech together as you want and it would make for a semi-coherent piece of writing. ...
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  • 8,672
3 votes
Accepted

Using spoonerism for a non-humoristic purpose

The original Spoonerisms were accidental slips of the tongue and became a source of ridicule. Deliberate ones are either humorous or offensive - as the second example you cite is intended to anger the ...
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  • 12.4k
3 votes

Can metaphors be used for other purposes than for stylistic effect and to form an allegory?

A metaphor allows you to explain something complex, abstract or unfamliar to the reader in a way that they have a good chance of understanding or relating to. You can also use them to evoke sensory ...
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  • 6,687
3 votes
Accepted

Is this an oxymoron, and what would be the purpose of making seemingly illogical statements in writing?

I don't think it's an oxymoron. Sure thing, you have chosen a strange mix of images to evoke - mainly due to the contrast between "cradling" and "rocked". But as far as I read it, it's a legitimate ...
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3 votes
Accepted

Is alliteration distracting and not very valuable/interesting for the reader?

One of your responses to a comment: For me, alliteration has the same function as a simile or a metaphor; makes the prose "livelier". Regardless whether the prose is "lively" or not, people will ...
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3 votes

Is there such a thing as a "cinematographic metaphor" in novels?

I suspect you mean allegory. It is an ancient device that can be traced back to Homer. It allows for a deeper meaning to be inserted without necessarily announcing it. In the novel The Leopard, ...
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  • 12.4k
3 votes
Accepted

When does a phrase change from "quote" to "expression coined by"?

I think this is a matter of opinion; but you come close with In fact, not every person using the expression would be aware of its provenance. It becomes an "expression" or "colloquialism" when it ...
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  • 93.2k
3 votes

Is writing literary devices in a narrative essay (reflective) always good?

Writing is not real life. It is words on a page arranged to produce an effect, express a truth, or meet any of the many other possible goals of writing. So neither the non-naturalistic eloquence of ...
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3 votes

What kind of metaphor is "trees in the wind"?

More explicitly stated, the metaphor is that the trees move to and fro in the wind because God (using the wind) is teaching them Tai Chi. The imagery is the trees of the forest moving in unison like ...
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  • 93.2k
3 votes
Accepted

Adding a double-meaning to a phrase/sentence by "layering" our writing with meanings

Writers are not mathematicians or logicians. Mathematics and logic have very strict rules to convey narrowly defined concepts. On the other hand, writers strive to communicate ideas and emotions that ...
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  • 4,904
3 votes

When does figurative language go too far?

Metaphors and personifications are wonderful figures, adding beauty and interest to writing, and often (especially in the case of metaphors) helping to explain the unknown in terms of the known. But ...
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3 votes

Can you use the landscape and personification to imply what a person is thinking?

If you write with a POV character (e.g. first or third person POV) your descriptions should always be colored by what that character is thinking and feeling. For example, if the character is driving ...
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  • 5,021
3 votes
Accepted

Is this a valid metonymy?

Your examples don’t seem like examples of using metonmy Changing “She flirted with the raunchy snarls of men.” to read “she flirted with the catcalls and wolf whistles” uses metonymy to imply the ...
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  • 7,997

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