5 Uncommon Figures of Speech to Spice Up Your Writing (Part 1)

Are you familiar with anaphora, antithesis, chiasmus, metonymy, and synecdoche? Use these less common figures of speech to convey meanings in a more vivid and impressive manner both in writing and speaking.

Mignon Fogarty
5-minute read
Episode #352

Synecdoche [si-nek-duh-ke

Finally, that last one we’ll cover is synecdoche, which is a specific type of metonymy that uses a part to represent the whole. You’ll find that body parts are often used to represent a person. For example the idiom “all hands on deck” means we need as many people as possible to help out. The term “butts in seats” can mean the number of people at an event, or the number of employees at a company. But it could be any part representing a whole, for example, we refer to a new car as “a new set of wheels.”

Another way we use synecdoche is when we refer to a brand name in place of a product. For example, many of us ask for a Kleenex when we want a tissue or we offer Band-Aids when someone needs a bandage.

Now that you are more familiar with these figures of speech it’s time to start playing with them and to use them to add depth and color to your writing or speaking. If you’d like to learn how to create and use some of these in your speeches, I invite you to listen to this week’s Public Speaker episode, which is Part II of this short series. Once you’ve tried cardamom, cumin, and saffron, you’ll never be satisfied with just salt and pepper.

Read Part Two How to Create and Use Figures of Speech

This is Lisa B. Marshall, The Public Speaker, in this week for Grammar Girl.  Passionate about communication; your success is my business. 

Check out Lisa's new book, Smart Talk, the Swiss Army knife of communication.


* Most people know this quotation as “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," but Neil Armstrong says he was misquoted and that he actually said “one small step for a man...”



Justin Bieber from Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0


About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

You May Also Like...