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36

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 that makes it preferable to the more standard "ebony hair." There could be many possible "good reasons" to invert word order. With that said, the fact that you ...


14

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 subject-object-verb ("Mary an apple ate"), object-subject-verb ("an apple Mary ate") or even object-verb-subject ("an apple ate Mary"). The last one is a bit ...


10

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 other." A metaphor uses symbolism. It's something which can't be literal: "Their hissing gossip was the rustle of tree branches: indistinct, indecipherable, far ...


8

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 metaphors to suggest the frame of mind or unique perspective of your POV character. Consider these two different descriptions of the same strand of trees in a ...


8

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 parallel structure). I'd say it's more precisely an example of enantiosis: Using opposing or contrary descriptions together, typically in a somewhat ...


7

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 person is, but do you know what personification is? Personification is a type of metaphor and a common literary tool. It is when you assign the qualities of a ...


6

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. Don't ask them to look at this metaphor but, rather, to just read. If the simile sticks out like a sore thumb, they'll tell you. If they love it, they'll tell ...


6

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 other writers. 1) Why resort to speculation that wolves faces cannot show sadness? Wolves and dogs recognize emotions, both within their species and in humans; ...


5

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", "mafia family". It feels bulky and cumbersome to the flow of the sentence. Most metonymies tend to be syllabalically shorter than what they replace. Sometimes the ...


5

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 a story, then using poetic tools may get in the way. Part of the joy of poetry is the sound of the words and how they play against each other visually and ...


5

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 who habitually downplays things like that can slip by when the habit isn't known. An oxymoron like "jumbo shrimp" is so established few will notice it at all. ...


5

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 "God" is mentioned as the teacher, the poem is not describing something holy or religious, rather the slow, intentional martial arts motions of Tai Chi. From ...


4

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, deliberate misspellings, idiosyncratic punctuation, and odd juxtapositions are just a few of the "disruptions" occasionally practiced by poets. In this case, ...


4

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 anastrophe would best be used in technical documentation. Things like: Window appears, click OK button do or do not. Save your settings, it may, but if ...


4

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, saying "What did that mean" and probably coming to a wrong answer. If a more familiar metonymy with a bit of context is used, such as: It was election ...


4

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 long that he became accustomed to it, and he became the mask. In general there are obviously no things that are not allowed, especially in lyrics/poetry. But ...


3

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 fans of the other team. Most spoonerisms take two words and turn then accidentally into two other words. If I were reading something and found elvitating ...


3

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 memories to better convey a more realised experience, humans rely extensively on episodic memory and metaphors play into this: Sam followed the sound of ...


3

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 metaphor: the ship in this case is not bigger than a child in a cradle compared to the storm outside. The juxtaposion of the single elements may seem oxymoronic ...


3

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, there is a woman who comes to the MC and he only realizes too late that she is death. He has come to enjoy her visits and leaves his life calmly. Sometimes ...


3

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 still think it jarring or too "purpley" or have no reason to be included. Alliteration, in particular, is a fairly blunt tool. It stands out. It can be used ...


3

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 starts being used as a figure of speech by people that heard it (obviously) but have no idea where it came from, or who authored it, and just don't care. In order ...


3

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 we see a group of people in the park move in unison when being led in a Tai Chi class. God is the instructor leading the trees.


2

The word choices you make have to work for your story. An alliteration is a tool, like a rhyme, and if you use it without a purpose, it will sound strange and unnatural, if not jarring. Why do you use them? To show off your eloquence? To set the tone of your prose? To illustrate personal quirks of a character (not the case in the excerpt given, just in ...


2

The best example I can think of is "Flip a car." It can be taken as it was fixed up and sold for profit or wrecked, but either way the car is gone. "What happened to your old Camry?" "I flipped it" "Oh, how much did you get from it?" "Enough to buy this Mustang"


2

The answer is in the question: literally. These days 'literally' also means literally the exact opposite, when used figuratively to mean 'figuratively.' 'When he told me what he earned, I literally fell off my chair.' If somebody told me that, I would have no idea whether he fell off the chair or not.


2

I am a great fan of alliteration in prose. But it absolutely must be well done and used sparingly. I use it to strengthen an idea and very rarely on more than two words in a row. Never through an entire sentence. I do write mostly in Portuguese, though, which has slightly different reactions to certain figures of speech, but I also use this technique in ...


2

I know there are two answers and both of them are positive and one accepted but precisely because of that I wanted to give a negative one. To me it feels overdone. I feel you’re doing it by the shake of juxtaposing confronting images rather than by a desire to transmit a particular feeling or view. You yourself express that on your doubts about the phrase ...


2

A metaphor can also be used to explain something in familiar terms. For example, when a popular science book describes Eisenstein gravity due to bent space by using the metaphor of a rubber sheet indented by various objects, with the dent representing the "gravity well" around a body. This particular metaphor has become so common it is a cliche, partly ...


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