Oxymoron, Paradox, Climax, Innuendo and Hyperbole
Oxymoron describes the use of two contradictory words placed together to create an effect. The examples given here are commonly used.
- Bittersweet. This oxymoron applies to situations which might benefit someone or something in some way, but can also have negative consequences.
- An open secret.
A paradox is a statement that seems to be contradictory but which may be true in the writer's view.
- You should save money by spending it. Investing money may be initially expensive, but it could be cheaper in the long run.
- Dieting makes you fat. Dieting is supposed to make you thin. However, some people believe that in the long run your body will adapt and you will gain weight when you stop.
Climax describes a build-up of meaning to a high point. It also describes the point of maximum intensity or turning point in a dramatic plot.
- First England, then Europe, then the World!
- At first she was nervous and shy, but she then became alarmed and intimidated before reaching a state of complete terror.
Anticlimax describes the arrangement of ideas in descending order of importance. It is often used to provide humour.
- I fought for God, for country, and for my cat Tigger.
- When I was young I was Audrey Hepburn, in middle age I was Liz Taylor, and now I'm Nora Batty.
Innuendo is a subtle or indirect hint with negative connotations.
- Everybody passed the test - even me! Here the author uses a tone of self-mocking.
- Her beauty equalled the price she paid for her make-up.
Hyperbole describes the use of exaggeration for emphasis.
- She cooked a mountain of food. By using the word mountain as an exaggeration, we understand that much more food was cooked than was needed.
- My love is deeper than the ocean.