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Методическое пособие по стилистике английского языка


Компанченко И.В., Компанченко О.В.,

Махмудова А.Ж.

Учебно-методическое пособие

по стилистике английского языка

для студентов факультетов иностранных языков



1. Stylistic semasiology

Stylistic semasiology is a part of stylistics which investigates stylistic phenomena in the sphere of semantics, i. e. in the sphere of meanings, regardless of the form of linguistic units. As distinct from stylistic lexicology or stylistic syntax which deal with words and sentences, stylistic semasiology makes mean­ing the object of its investigation.

But some limitations to the object are to be borne in mind. Non-stylistic semasiology studies meanings. As concerns stylistic sema­siology it is not so much the meaning itself that is investigated but the rules and laws of shifts of meanings; the patterns according to which meanings are shifted or either various combinations thus producing a certain stylistic effect. Stylistic semasiology also stud­ies stylistic functions of shifts of meanings and of certain combina­tions of meanings.

Stylistic phenomena effected by various shifts of meanings are usually termed «figures of speech».

How shall we classify figures of speech?

Shifts of meanings can be divided into two large groups, namely:

  1. there are cases when the disparity of the actual denomination of the referent with the usual, traditional denomination of it can be understood as quantitative, i. e. the referent is simply exaggerated or underestimated;

  2. in some cases the disparity between the traditional and actual denominations is qualitative.

Hence, the corresponding figures of speech may be subdivided accordingly into figures of quantity (hyperbole, understatement, li­totes) and figures of quality (metonymy, metaphor, irony). Both figures of quantity and figures of quality may be called figures of replacement since they are based on replacement of the habitual name of a thing by its situational substitute.

We can give the name of figures of co-occurence to those sty­listic phenomena which are based on combination of meanings in speech. The difference between the figures of replacement and those of co-occurence is as follows. In the former, it is one meaning that produces stylistic effect; in the latter, it is a combination of at least two meanings that produces stylistic effect.

Thus, figures of replacement break down to figures of quantity and figures of quality.

Figures of quantity: hyperbole, understatement, litotes.

Figures of quality are subdivided into metonymical group (transfer by contiguity) consisting of metonymy, synecdoche, pe­riphrasis; metaphorical group (transfer by similarity): metaphor, personification, epithet; and irony (transfer by contrast).

Figures of co-occurence are subdivided into three groups:

figures of identity (simile, synonymic repetition);

figures of inequality (gradation, anti-climax);

figures of contrast (antithesis, oxymoron).

1.1 Figures of replacement

Figures of Quantity

Hyperbole is the use of a word, a word-group or a sentence which exaggerates the real degree of a quantity of the thing spoken about. It is a distortion of reality for the purpose of visualization or strengthening the emotional effect. It is also an important expressive literary device, often employed for humouristic purposes. E. g.:

«One after another those people lay down on the grass to laugh — and two of them died» (Twain).

Hyperbole. It is a deliberate overstatement or exaggeration, a SD by which some property of the object is carried into the impossible, something illogical:

e.g. The triumphant arch through which I march

Is the million coloured bow.

("The Cloud" by P.B. Shelly).

Actually there are 7 colors in the spectrum, but the poet's genuine hyperbole emphasizes the beauty and radiance of the multi-colored rainbow.

Hyperboles grow conversational, become facts of the. language, losing their qualities through frequent repetitions.

I am scared to death

These are

Scores of times

mere intensifiers

I’ll marry like a shot

Hyperbole is a means of creating imagery. In Hyperbole we also find transference of meaning as there is discrepancy with objective reality. The words are not used in their direct sense.

Hyperbole differs from mere exaggeration in that it is intended to be un­derstood as exaggeration. As Potebnya wittingly observed: "Hyperbole is the result of a kind intoxication by emotion, which prevents a person from seeing things in their true dimensions... If the reader is not carried away by the emo­tion of the writer, hyperbole becomes a mere lie".

Many critics noted that hyperbole is the law of art. It throws into relief the phenomena described:

e.g. I think it will take her a hundred years to change.

2 geological ages later we heard his footsteps.

Which of the two hyperboles is genuine?

Understatement consists in lessening, reducing the real quan­tity of the object of speech. The psychological essence of under­statement is more complicated than that of hype/bole. The hearer is expected to understand the intentional discrepancy between what the speaker says about the object and what he really thinks about it.

E. g.:

«I was half afraid you had forgotten те».

Litotes is a specific variety of understatement consisting in ex­pressing the lessened degree of quantity of a thing by means of ne­gation of the antonym. The negation of the antonym expresses the positive idea but in a somewhat lessened degree. E. g., «not bad» in the meaning of «good», or «little harm will be done by that».

Litotes. It is based on a peculiar use of negative constructions. The negation plus noun or adjective serves to establish a positive feature in a person or thing. This positive feature is somewhat diminished in quality as compared with a synonymous assertion:

e.g. He is no coward. — He is brave.

Litotes is a deliberate understatement. Here we also observe the direct (negative) meaning and the transferred (affirmative) meaning. It is not a mere denial of the quality, it brings into mind the corresponding antonym, suggesting the presence of the opposite quality.

A variant of litotes is a construction with two negations:

e.g. Her face was not unhandsome.

Litotes is used in different styles of speech excluding the matter-of-fact styles, like official style or scientific prose. In poetry it is sometimes used to suggest that the language fails to adequately convey the poet's feeling:

e.g. "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun" (Sonnet 130, W. Shakespeare)

Figures of Quality

Figures of quality, called «tropes» in traditional stylistics, are based on transfer of names.

We must distinguish three types of transfer:

  1. transfer by contiguity;

  2. transfer by similarity;

  3. transfer by contrast.

Transfer by contiguity is based upon some real connection be­tween the two notions: that which is named and the one the name of which is taken for the purpose.

Transfer by similarity is based on similarity, likeness of the two objects, real connection lacking completely.

Transfer by contrast is the use of words and expressions with the opposite meanings — opposite to those meant.

The transfer by contiguity forms the metonymic group of tropes; the transfer by similarity forms the metaphorical group; the transfer by contrast is irony.

Metonymic group. Metonymy proper. Metonymy is applying the name of an object to another object in some way connected with the first.

The metonymic connections between the two objects are mani­fold:

  1. source of action instead of the action: «Give every man thine ear and few thy voice»;

  2. effect instead of the cause: «Не (fish) desperately takes the death»;

  3. characteristic feature instead of the object itself: «Не was followed by a pair of heavy boots»;

  4. symbol instead of the object symbolized: «crown» for «king».

Metonymy. It is a word which runs in 2 logical meanings like metaphor but the relation between the two meanings is some kind of association connecting the 2 concepts which the meanings represent or actual relations existing between the two objects:

e.g. to drink a glass, to eat a plate, the.Hall applauded.

In metonymy a thing or idea is described by some accompaniment (its action or function).

The thing is not named, instead of this the name of some other thing or idea closely connected with it is used. Many attempts have been made to point out the types of relation which metonymy is based on:

1) a symbol (a concrete thing is used instead of an abstract notion):

e.g. He was called to the bar (Он стал юристом);

from the cradle to the grave.

2) the container for what it contains:

e.g. The kettle is boiling. You may have my purse;

3) the relations of proximity:

e.g. The game-table was boisterous and noisy;

4) The material instead of the thing made of it:

e.g. And finally the marble spoke;

The maid was cleaning silver (i.e. spoons, knives and forks);

5) An instrument instead of the agent:

e.g. His pen knows no compromises;

The whip (coachman) looked a scoundrel;

6) A part is used for the whole:

e.g. A fleet of 50 sails. Hands (workers) wanted;

7) Singular instead of the plural:

e.g. And be comrade with the wolf and the owl;

The camp, the pulpit and the law

For rich men's sons are free.

To, what type of metonimical relations does the above given example refer?

Synecdoche. Synecdoche is a variety of metonymy. It consists in using the name of a part to denote the whole, or vice versa. E. g.: «То be a comrade with a wolf and owl...». In this example «wolf» and «owl» stand for wild beasts and birds in general.

Periphrasis. Periphrasis is in a way related to metonymy. It is a description of an object instead of its name. E. g.:

«Delia was studying under Rosenstock — you know his repute as a disturber of the piano kevs» (instead of «a pianist»).

It is the renaming of an object by a phrase that foregrounds some par­ticular feature of the object. The most essential feature is substituted for its name:

e.g. The Dark Continent (Africa).

The essence of this SD is that it is contextual. An easily decipherable pe­riphrasis is not a SD but a synonymous expression fixed by social practice which is called traditional language periphrasis:

e.g. an affair of honour (duel), gentlemen of the long robe (lawyers).

Periphrasis serves to achieve greater expressiveness and is often used for the sake of humor, satire, parody:

e.g. a strange specimen of human race (a cabman).

Sometimes they are used for bombastic effect, when something is elevated, hallowed:

e.g. "That punctual servant of all work-the Sun" (Ch. Dickens).

There are some types of periphrasis that require competence for being de­ciphered. Stylistic periphrases can be devided into:

e.g. logical — the author of Hamlet,

figurative — the swan of Aven

(metaphorical or metonymical).

Actually, in their essence there is no difference between metaphor and figurative periphrasis, the latter being a combination of words which stand for one concept, but this roundabout description does not suggest similarity in so direct a way as in case of metaphor and often requires explanation:

e.g. "Mr. Grandgrind then returned with promptitude to the national cinder heap and resumed his sifting for the odds and ends he wanted and his throwing of the dust about into the eyes of other people who wanted other odds and ends — in fact, resumed his parliamentary duties" (Ch Dickens).

Euphemism. It is a particular kind of periphrasis. Euphemism is a roundabout description of a thing considered too fearful or too rude to be named:

e.g. The Old Gentleman (the devil).

It is a whitewashing device: a milder or softer expression is used for one more rude or unpleasant. The desire to avoid naming a thing may be due to awe, fear, superstition, prejudice, social conventions:

e.g. unmentionables (underlinen).

The sources of euphemism may be traced to the practice of taboo, to man's ignorance and fear of nature, of evil spirit, of wild animals, to his belief in the magic of words. Euphemisms are generally devided into:

  1. religious: e.g. the Lord (God);

  2. moral and conventional: e.g. to perspire (sweat);

  3. political (reflecting hypocrisy):

e.g. a conflict (war), to stop payment (go bankrupt).

As you see primitive man's and modem man's motives to use euphemism are due to different causes. Thus the aim of political euphemism is to mislead public opinion.

Euphemisms very quickly grow stale and reqeure another to replace it:

e.g. lavatory — water closet — oo.

Metaphorical group. Metaphor. Metaphor is a transfer of the name of an object to another object on the basis of similar­ity, likeness, affinity of the two objects. At the same time there is no real connection between them, as in the case with meton­ymy. The stylistic function of a metaphor is not a mere nomina­tion of the thing in question but rather its expressive characteri­zation. E. g.:

«The machine sitting at the desk was no longer a man; it was a busy New York broker...» (O 'Henry).

Metaphor has no formal limitations: it can be a word, a phrase, any part of a sentence, or a sentence as a whole. Metaphors are ei­ther simple or complex (prolonged). A simple, elementary meta­phor is that which has no bearing on the context: it is a word, a phrase, a sentence. A prolonged metaphor is elaborated in a series of images logically connected with one another producing a general description of a character, a scene, etc.

Metaphor is a relation between the dictionary and contextual logical meaning based on the imposition of some inherent property of an object on another object which by nature is deprived of these properties. In a metaphor we find a complete replacement (identification) of one object by another.

e.g. The news you bring me is a dagger to my heart.

Metaphors are created on the basis of different types of similarity: of shape, of colour, of sound etc. Metaphor can be embodied in all meaningful parts of speech: in nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs.

e.g. These thoughts melted away.

Leaves fell sorrowfully.

The grey-eyed warm smiles of the frowning night.

Metaphors have a tendency to fade away if used frequently. As some sci­entist wittily observed: "The language is a dictionary of faded metaphors". According to the degree of unexpectedness we distinguish genuine metaphors — when we perceive the two meaning simultaneously; trite metaphors — time-worn and well-rubbed in the language — the two fold perception is felt (half-alive) but the originality is lost (e.g. a wall between two people), and dead metaphors (e.g. to plant the seeds).

Prolonged (sustained, developed) metaphor


Sometimes a metaphor is not confined to one image but involves a number of images:

e.g. A woman is a foreign land.

Although he there settles young

The man will never understand

Its customs, politics and tongue.

A variety of prolonged metaphor is suggested metaphor. The central image is not given, we have only contributory images: e.g. "I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent" — The image of the steed is not named. Such metaphors may be given in riddles.

e.g. Leaves got up in a coil and hissed,

Blindly struck at my knee and missed.

(R. Frost)

The metaphor is one of the most powerful means of creating images. This is its main function. The command of metaphor is the mark of genius. Only fresh living metaphors call forth images. Imagery is the relation between reality and the way the author sees it. Metaphor is not a displacement of words but the natural outcome of thought achieved by comparison. It is always a result of some creative process at the background of the text as a whole. You have the fusion of things that a brought together. The degree of fusion may be different and it depends very much on the syntactical function of metaphor. Genuine metaphors are mostly found in poetry and emotive prose. Trite metaphors are mostly used as expressive means in newspaper articles, in oratory. Sources of metaphors are: man and his pursuits, nature, history, mythology.

The metaphor is often defined as a compressed simile. But this definition lacks precision as metaphor aims at identifying the objects while simile aims at finding some point of resemblance by keeping the two objects apart.

Personification ("олицетворение") is a particular case of metaphor. It consists in attributing life and mind to inanimate things. Besides the actual ob­jects of Nature abstractions of the mind, such as life, death, truth, wisdom, love, evil, hope, etc. are frequently personified. Thus, per­sonification is ascribing human properties to lifeless objects.

In classical poetry of the 17th century personification was a trib­ute to mythological tradition and to the laws of ancient rhetoric:

«How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,

Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year I»


In poetry and fiction of the last two centuries personification was used to impart the dynamic force to the description or to repro­duce the particular mood by which the events described are col­oured.

Personification is an important device used to depict the percep­tion of the outer world by the lyrical hero.

In most cases personification is indicated by some formal sig­nals. First of all, it is the use of personal pronouns «he» and «she» with reference to lifeless things:

«Then Night, like some great loving mother, gently lays her hand at our fevered head... and, though she does not speak, we know what she would say...» (Jerome).

Personification is often achieved by the direct address:

«О stretch by reign, fair Peace, from shore to shore

Till conquest cease, and slavery be no тоrе».

(A. Pope)

Another formal signal of personification is capitalized writing of the word which expresses a personified notion: ((No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet To chase the glowing Hours with flying feet».


One should bear in mind that sometimes the capital letter has nothing in common with personification, merely performing an emphasizing function.

Personification is akin to metaphor — a thing or an idea is presented as a human being. There may be complete or partial personification.

e.g. "I bring fresh showers to the thirsting flowers" ("The Cloud"

by P.B. Shelly)".

Weather permitting, we shall start.

Apostrophe is the weakest form of personification. It is an address to an idea or a thing, mostly, to phenomena of nature:

e.g. "Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean" (G. Byron)

Personification gives life to the inanimate. In prose it is less common than in poetry. It may be different in degree (full and partial):

e.g. "Thick cunning played on her face, had no fun there and

went somewhere else" (R. Chandler) — a very intricate way

of describing a lady.

Epithet. It is a SD based on the interplay of emotive and logical meanings in an attributive word, phrase or sentence. It discloses the individual emotionally coloured attitude of the writer to the object he describes. It is a form of subjective evaluation. Epithet is a pointed description, brief and compact, singling out the thing described. Let us, ascertain the difference between epithet and attribute:

e.g. a rare and radiant maiden,

a pretty young girl.

Attributes are logical, objective, non-evaluating definitions. In trite epithets there is loss of the subjective element through frequent repetition:

e.g. cut throat competition, squalid misery, abject poverty

Constant or fixed epithets are found:

1) in folk poetry (e.g. bonny lass, merry green wood);

2) in a particular work (e.g. "Botticellian, eyes, lips, face" said of Dinny in "Maid in Waitinig" Galsworthy).

Epithets may be classified from different standpoints. We have already classified them according to the degree of unexpectedness.

Semantically epithets may be devided into:

associated with the noun following, pointing to a feature which is most essential:

e.g. dark forest, dreary midnight;

unassociated which attribute to the object a feature not inherent in it (metaphoric)

e.g. meteor eyes, voiceless sands;

structurally: according to their compositional structure we distinguish:

simple epithets — (adjectives)

compound — e.g. thou lily-livered boy,

the pumpkin-like moon;

phrase epithets — always placed before the noun they refer to:

e.g. He was look-before-you-leap sort of man;

Jackline Kennedy has a sort of let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may attitude;

reversed — a vault of a schoolroom,

a devil of a job,

a shadow of a smile.

Allusion. Allusion is a brief reference to some literary or historical event commonly known. The speaker (writer) is not explicit about what he means: he merely mentions some detail of what he thinks analogous in fiction or history to the topic discussed. Con­sider the following example:

«If the International paid well, Aitken took good care he got his pound of flesh...» (Chase).

Here the author alludes to Shakespeare's Shylock, a usurer in «The Merchant of Venice» who lends Antonio three thousand duc­ats for three months on condition at on expiration of the term, if the money is not paid back, Shylock is entitled to «an equal pound» of Antonio's «fair flesh».

It is an indirect reference to historical, biblical, mythological and everyday facts made in one's utterance. The facts always are assumed to be known to the reader. Therefore no indication of the source referred to is given. Nor has allusion any formal marks.

"The Painted Veil" — The title of the novel by S.Maugham is an allusion to Keats. Lift not the painted veil of life.

Allusions may be used in novels, newspapers, everyday talk.

Semantic peculiarities of allusion merit special note: the meaning of the word is a form for the new meaning (interaction of meanings). Allusion calls forth the knowledge stored in the reader's mind:

e.g. "Victoria was always proud to adopt the Micawber-like attitude that something would turn up" (A. Cristie) (an allusion to Ch. Dickens).

Antonomasia. Metaphorical antonomasia is the use of the name of a historical, literary, mythological or biblical personage applied to a person whose characteristic features resemble those of the well-known original. Thus, a traitor may be referred to as Brutus, a ladies' man deserves the name of Don Juan.

It is a SD where we have the interplay between the logical and nominal meaning of a word. There are two kinds of interplay.

1. A common name is made a proper name:

e.g. Mr. Zero, Dick Dubious, Sir Silvercup.

They are derived from logical meaning. We attach some properties peculiar only of the given object. Antonomasia is aimed at pointing out the most essential feature of a person or an event:

2. A proper name is made a common noun:

e.g. The Coventry — Heavily bombed

The Byron of our days.

Ordinary things may be spelled with capital letters:

e.g. He desired to have Kings meet him at railway stations on his return from some gastly Nowhere.

Antonomasia is a favoured device not only in the belles-lettres style but in publicistic style as well.

Irony. Irony is a transfer based upon the opposition of the two notions: the notion named and the notion meant. Here we observe the greatest qualitative shift, if compared with metonymy (transfer by contiguity) and metaphor (transfer by similarity).

Irony is used with the aim of critical evaluation of the thing spoken about. E. g.:

«What a noble illustrations of the tender laws of this favoured country! — they let the paupers go to sleep!» (Dickens).

In oral speech irony is made prominent by emphatic intonation, mimic and gesticulation. In writing, the most typical signs are in­verted commas or italics.

The linguistic definition runs as follows:

Irony is based on simultaneous realization of two opposite logical meanings — dictionary and contextual. By using irony the writer says the opposite to what he means. Irony is used to convey a negative meaning. As a background we have a positive meaning. Therefore only positive concepts may be used in their dictionary logical meanings:

e.g. How clever of you to have lost it.

In spite of the downpour, he might have said "What a lovely afternoon!", presumably if he had a taste for irony. The word containing irony is strongly marked by intonation. The function of irony is not confined to producing a humorous effect. It rather expresses irritation, displeasure, pity, regret.

In the preceding discussion we were concerned only with verbal irony. The term is also applied to:

  1. a situation, or turn of events that is the opposite of what is expected or fitting (an ironic twist of fate);

  2. a device in fiction and the drama in which the reader or spectator knows more about the true situation than do the characters whose unawareness of the real state of the affairs gives their actions and utterances extra (ironical) meaning. These are called respectively irony of situation and dramatic irony.

1.2 Figures of co-occurence

The figures of co-occurence are formed by the combination in speech of at least two independent meanings. They are divided into figures of identity, figures of inequality and figures of contrast.

Figures of Identity

This group of figures simile and synonymic repetition are re­ferred.

Simile. It is an explicit statement concerning the similarity, the affinity of two different notions. The purpose of this confrontation of the names of two different objects is to characterize vividly one of the two. One of the two co-occurring denominations is the name of the object really spoken about; the other denomination is that of an object not connected with the first in objective reality but having certain features in common with the first object. E. g.:

«That fellow (first object) is LIKE an old fox (second object)».

The existence of common features is always explicitly ex­pressed in a simile, mostly by means of the words «as», «like» and others.

There are two type of simile. In one of them the common fea­ture of the two objects is mentioned: «Не is as beautiful as a weathercock».

In the second type the common feature is not mentioned; the hearer is supposed to guess what features the two objects have in common:

«My heart is like a singing bird».

Care should be taken not to confuse the simile and any sort of elementary logical comparison. A simile presupposes confrontation of two objects belonging to radically different semantic spheres; a comparison deals with two objects of the same semantic sphere:

«She can sing like a professional actress» (logical comparison);

«She sings like a nightingale» (simile).

First, let us ascertain the difference between a simile and a comparison. We use the word "simile" to single out the emotional aspect and to point out mat h is a stylistic comparison. It compares objects belonging to two different classes of things only one feature of the two corresponding object is compared thus being foregrounded. Simile always has a structural element, a connective: as, like, seem, as if.

e.g. I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high over vales and hills •

(W. Wordsworth);

Rise like lions after slumber (P.B.Shelly).

Why are simile and metaphor in different groups of SDs? Their linguistic nature is different and they are structurally heterogeneous: in metaphor two objects merge into one, in simile — the two themes are set apart, the connective keeps the two object separately.

There are similes which gradually grow into metaphors:

ehello_html_297f8edc.gifhello_html_m35f54be7.gif.g. My verses flow like streams

in streams.

There are sustained (developed) similes:

e.g. He was like a branch that severed itself from the parental tree. Trite and genuine similes: e.g. eyes like tennis balls, like forget-me-nots. Which of the given examples is a case of genuine simile? Hackneyed similes: busy as a bee, blind as bat, to swim like a duck, thirsty as a camel.

Synonymic repetition. To figures of identity we may refer the use of synonyms denoting the same object of reality and occurring in the given segment of text. We should distinguish:

  1. the use of synonyms of precision,

  2. the use of synonymic variations.

Synonyms of precision. Two or more synonyms may follow one another to characterize the object in a more precise way. The second synonym expresses some additional feature of the notion; both synonyms permit a fuller expression of it. E. g.:

«Joe was a mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish fellow» (Dickens).

Synonymic variations. Frequently synonyms or synonymic ex­pressions are used instead of the repetition of the same word or the same expression to avoid the monotonousness of speech, as exces­sive repetition of the same word makes the style poor. E. g.:

«Не brought home numberless prizes. He told his mother count­less stories every night about his school companions)} (Thackeray).

Figures of Inequality

A very effective stylistic device is created by special ar­rangement in the text of words or phrases, or sentences which differ from one another by the degree of property expressed or by the degree of emotional intensity. In accordance with the or­der of strong and weak elements in the text two figures on ine­quality are distinguished: climax, or gradation, and anti-climax, or bathos.

Climax (gradation) means such an arrangement of ideas (no­tions) in which what precedes is inferior to what follows. The first element is the weakest; the subsequent elements gradually rise in strength. E. g.:

«I am sorry. I am so very sorry. I am so extremely sorry» (Chesterton).

Climax is an arrangement of sentences (or of the homogenous parts of one sen­tence) which secures a gradual increase in significance, importance or emo­tional tension of the utterance.

Logical climax is based on the relative importance of the component parts. Emotional climax is based on the relative emotional tension produced by words with emotive meaning:

e.g. "Capua indeed — a lovely city,

a beautiful city, a fair city,

a veritable gem of a city.


Quantitative climax.

e.g. "They looked at hundreds of houses, they climbed thousands of stairs, they inspected innumerable kitchens" (S. Maugham).

The arrangement of component parts calls for parallel construction which is accompanied by lexical repetition. The stylistic function is to show the relative importance of things and to depict phenomena dynami­cally.

Anticlimax is an unexpected turn of the thought which defeats expectations of the reader and ends in complete semantic reversal of the emphasised idea. To stress the abruptness of the change emphatic punctuation (dash) is used between the ascending and the descending parts. (It is often the basis of paradoxes.)

e.g. He was inconsolable — for an afternoon.

"Women have a wonderful instinct about things. They can discover everything except the obvious" (O. Wilde)

Anti-climax (bathos). By anti-climax, any deviation of the or­der of ideas found in climax is usually meant. But it should be un­derlined that anti-climax consists in weakening the emotional effect by adding unexpectedly weaker elements to the strong ones which were mentioned above. Usually anti-climax is employed for hu-mouristic purposes. E. g.:

«The woman who could face the very devil himself nr a mouse — loses her grip and goes all to pieces in front of a flash of lightnings (Twain).

Figures of Contrast

These figures are formed by intentional combination in speech of ideas, incompatible with one another. The figures in question are antithesis and oxymoron.

Antithesis is a confrontation of two notions which underlines the radical difference between them.

Two words or expressions of the opposite meanings may be used to characterize the same object. E. g.:

«It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of ffoolishness...» (Dickens).

Antithesis may be used to depict two objects with opposite characteristics. E. g.:

«His fees were high; his lessons were light...» (O'Henry).

Two objects may be opposed as incompatible by themselves and each of them obtain a characteristic opposite to that of the other. E. g.:

«For the old struggle — mere stagnation, and in place of dan­ger and death, the dull monotony of security and the horror of an unending decay!» (Leacock).

It is a lexico-syntactical SD. Two parallel sentences expressing opposite ideas are combined in a syntactical whole/Words set one against another acquire contextual meanings which make them antonymical:

e.g. They speak like saints and act like devils.

"Some people have much to live on and little to live for" {O. Wilde).

Here we observe the contextual opposition of postpositions "on" and "for".

The main function of antithesis is to stress the dialectical unity of two op­posing features.

Oxymoron. Oxymoron consists in ascribing a property to an object incompatible, inconsistent with that property. It is a logical collision of words syntactically connected but incongruent in their meaning. E. g.:

«О brawling love! О loving hate!» (Shakespeare)

Oxymoron is a combination of 2 words (an adjective and a noun, an adverb and an adjective) in which the meanings clash being opposite in sense:

e.g. sweet sorrow, horribly beautiful, a deafening silence.

The juxtaposition of two non-combinative words is always emotional. Is emphasizes contradictory qualities as a dialectal unity simultaneously existing in the described phenomenon:

e.g. The crowded loneliness of the barracks.

I likable young man with a pleasantly ugly face.

2. Stylistic lexicology

It is known that words are not used in speech to the same ex­tent. Since certain words occur less frequently than others, it is natural to presume that the difference between them is re­flected upon the character of the words themselves. Those words that are indispensable in every act of communication have nothing particular about them — cause no definite associations. On the con­trary, words used only in special spheres of linguistic intercourse have something attached to their meaning, a certain stylistic colour­ing.

Indispensable words are stylistically neutral. Words of special spheres are stylistically coloured. This is the main division of words from the stylistic viewpoint.

Thus, words pertaining to special spheres of linguistic inter­course possess some fixed stylistic tinge of their own. Regard­less of the context, they reveal their attachment to one linguistic sphere or another. An English speaking person needs no context to state that such synonyms as chap — man — individual or dad—father — sire are stylistically different. But this differen­tiation does not remain stable. The stylistic value undergoes changes in the course of history, with the lapse of time. There­fore, stylistic classifications must be confined to synchronic as­pect.

So, all the words are divided into neutral and non-neutral. The general stylistic classification must show the relations of non-neutral words to neutral ones. It is evident that certain groups of stylistically coloured words must be placed, figura­tively speaking, above the neutral words. These groups are formed by words with a tinge of officiality ir refinement about them, poetic words, high-flown words in general. Other groups are to be placed below the neutral words. Their sphere of use is socially lower than the neutral sphere. We can name them «su-per-neutral» (elevated) and «sub-neutral» (words of lower ranks), respectively.

2.1 Super-neutral words

Among elevated words we can find those which are used in of­ficial documents, diplomatic and commercial correspondence, leg­islation, etc. Such words have a tinge of pomposity about them. Their colouring is that of solemnity, and the words are termed «solemn words». The other variety of words is the poetic diction — words used in poetry and lyrical prose. They are «poetic words». True, it is hardly possible to delimitate strictly solemn words from poetic words.

The stylistic colouring of elevation also occurs in archaisms, bookish words and foreign words.

Archaisms. This term denotes words which are practically out of use in present-day language and are felt as obsolete. Archaisms may be subdivided into two groups. The first group is represented by «material archaisms», or ((historical archaisms» — words whose referents have disappeared. The second group is formed by archa­isms proper — those words which have been ousted by their syno­nyms.

In the works of fiction the use of archaic words serves to char­acterize the speech of the bygone epoch, to reproduce its atmos­phere. It should be noted that archaization does not mean complete reproduction of the speech of pasr epochs; it is effected by the use of separate archaic words.

In other cases, occurring in the speech of a person, archaic words show his attachment to antiquity.

In poetry archaisms are used to create romantic atmosphere, the general colouring of elevation. The colouring may be described as poetic and solemn at the same time.

In official form of speech the function of archaisms is the same as in poetry (to rise above the ordinary matters of everyday life), but the colouring produced is different. It is the colouring of so­lemnity.

Bookish words. These words belong to that stratum of the vo­cabulary which is used in cultivated speech only — in books or in such special types of oral communication as public speeches, offi­cial negotiations, etc. They are mostly loan-words, Latin and Greek. They are either high-flown synonyms of neutral words, or popular terms of science. Consider the following example:

A great crowd came to see A vast concourse was assembled to witness.

Began his answer — commenced his rejoinder.

A special stratum of bookish words is constituted by the words traditionally used in poetry («spouse» — husband or wife, «woe» — sorrow, «foe» — enemy. Some of them are archaic: «aught» — anything, «naught» — nothing, others are morphologi­cal variants of neutral words: «oft» — often, «list» — listen, «morn» — morning.

Foreign words. Foreign words should not be confused with borrowed words. Foreign words in English are for the most part late borrowings from French — those words which have preserved their French pronunciation and spelling. For example, the French formula «Au revoir» used in English by those ignorant of French has somethong exquisite. In the French word «chic» the same tinge of elegance is felt.

2.2 Sub-neutral words

Among the sub-neutral words the following groups are distin­guished:

  1. words used in informal speech only — the colloquial words;

  2. jargon words and slang, as well as individual creations (nonce-words);

  3. vulgar words.

The first group lies nearest to neutral words. In their use there is no special stylistic intention whatever on the part of the speaker. The words of the second group have been created, so to speak, on purpose with a view to intentional stylistic degradation. The lowest place is taken by vulgarisms, i. e. words which due to their inde­cency are scarcely admissible in a civilized community.

Colloquial words. They are words with a tinge of familiarity or inofficiality about them. There is nothing ethically improper in their stylistic coloring, except that they cannot be used in official forms of speech. To colloquialisms may be referred:

  1. colloquial words proper (colloquial substitutes of neutral words), e. g., chap;

  2. phonetic variants of neutral words: baccy (tobacco), fella (fellow);

  1. diminutives of neutral words: daddy, piggy, as well as di­minutives of proper names — Bobby, Becky, Johny;

  2. words the primary meaning of which refer them to neutral sphere while the figurative meaning places them outside the neutral sphere, making them lightly colloquial. E. g., spoon as a colloquial word means «a man with a low mentality)).

  3. most interjections belong to the colloquial sphere: gee! Er? Well, etc.

Jargon words. Jargon words appear in professional or social groups for the purpose of replacing those words which already exist in the language.

Jargon words can be subdivided into two groups: professional jargonisms and social jargonisms. The first group consists of de­nominations of things, phenomena and process characteristic of the given profession opposed to the official terms of this professional sphere. Thus, professional jargonisms are unofficial substitutes of professional terms. They are used by representatives of the profes­sion to facilitate the communication.

The group of social jargonisms is made up of words used to de­note non-professional thing relevant for representatives of the given social group with common interests (e. g., music fans, drug-addicts and the like). Such words are used by representatives of the given group to show that the speaker also belongs to it (I-also-belong-to-the-group function). Very often they are used for the purpose of making speech incoherent to outsiders. When used outside the group in which they were created, such words impart expressive­ness to speech. In literary works jargonisms indicate to the fact that the speaker belongs to a certain professional or social group. Very close to jargon is cant.

Cant is a secret lingo of the underworld — of criminals. The only primary reason why it appeared is striving to secrecy, to mak­ing speech incomprehensible to outsiders. It also serves as a sign of recognition.

It is noteworthy that when jargon words and cant are used in lit­erary works they are employed to show that the character belongs to a certain professional or social or criminal group (the function of characterization).

Slang. Slang is the part of the vocabulary made by commonly understood and widely used words and expressions of humorous kind— intentional substitutes of neutral and elevated words and expressions. The psychological source of its appearance and exis­tence is striving for novelty in expression. Many words and expres­sions now referred to slang originally appeared in narrow profes­sional groups; since they have gained wide currency, they must be considered as belonging to slang.

In creation of slang various figures of speech take part:

the upper storey (head) — metaphor;

skirt (girl) — metonymy;

killing (astonishing) — hyperbole;

whistle (flute) — understatement;

clear as mud— irony.

In slang we find expressions borrowed from written speech (e. g., «yours truly» used instead of the pronoun «I»). Some slang words are just distortions of literary words: cripes (instead of Christ). Sometimes slang words are just invented: shinanigan (tri­fles, nonsense).

Nonce-words. Nonce-words are defined as chance words, occa­sional words, words created for the given occasion by analogy with the existing words by means of affixation, composition, conversion, etc. E. g., «There was a balconyful of gentlemen...» (the word bal-conyful was coined by analogy with the words «mouthful», «spoon-ful», «handful»). Being non-existent, unknown, yet comprehensible in the given situation, such words produce humorous effect. Being used just once, they disappear completely.

Vulgar words. This is a stylistically lowest group of words which are considered offensive for polite usage. They may be sub­divided into two groups: lexical vulgarisms and stylistic vulgar­isms.

To the first group belong words expressing ideas considered unmentionable in a civilized society. It is, so to speak, the very lexical meaning of such words which is vulgar.

The second group — stylistic vulgarisms — are words the lexi­cal meanings of which have nothing indecent or improper about them. Their impropriety in civilized life is due solely to their stylis­tic value — to stylistic connotation expressing derogatory attitude of the speaker towards the object of speech.

In real life vulgar words help to express emotions, emotive and expressive assessment of the object spoken about. When used in works of literature they perform the function of characteriza­tion.

If used too frequently, vulgar words loose their emotional qual­ity and become mere expletives (e. g., «You are so darn good-looking»).

2.3 Interaction of stylistically coloured words and the context

The following general rules of stylistic interaction may be stated:

  1. An elevated word placed in a stylistically neutral context imparts the latter a general colouring of elevation, i. e. makes the whole utterance solemn or poetic, provided the subject of speech is consistent with the stylistic colouring of elevation.

  2. An elevated word in a neutral context produces an effect of comicality if the subject of speech or the situation is incon­sistent with elevated colouring.

  3. Sub-neutral words in a neutral context lower the stylistic value of the whole.

  4. Sub-neutral words in a super-neutral context or vice versa produces a comic effect.

2.4 Dialect words

Against the background of the literary language dialect words as dialect peculiarities of speech are stylistically relevant. They show the social standing of the speaker. Nowadays it is only in the speech of the people deprived of proper school education forms of speech are signs of provincialism.

On the whole dialects differ from the literary language most of all in the sphere of phonetics and vocabulary.

Of special significance for English literature is the so-called Cockney — the dialect of the uneducated people in London. The characteristic features of the Cockney pronunciation are as follows:

  1. the diphthong [ei] is replaced by [ai]: to sy, to py instead of «to say», «to pay»;

  2. the diphthong [au] is replaced by monophthong [a:]: nah then instead of «now then»;

  3. words like «manners», «thank you» are pronounced as man­ners, thenk you;

  4. the suffix «-ing» is pronounced as [n]: sittin', standin'.

2.5 The stylistic use of phraseology

A set expression (a phraseological unit) is a more or less stable word combination of the vocabulary of a given language, having a wholeness of meaning which may not conform to the meaning of component parts:

e.g. There is no use crying over spilt milk.

Proverbs and saying are characterized by certain linguistic features:

1) rhythm and rhyme:

e.g. early to bed and early to rise;

makes a man wealthy, healthy and wise.

2) alliteration:

e.g. cut the coat according to the cloth;

3) brevity (no connectives):

e.g. first come, first served; No cross, no crown. Phraseological combinations used as ready-made units in different styles of speech (unchanged) are not SDs but EMs, though new content may be poured into them.

When we come to decomposition of Phraseological units they lose some of their properties:

  1. The stability vanishes.

  2. The original meaning is reestablished to a lesser or greater extent:

e.g. Early to bed and early to rise

Make no use unless you advertise.

This modification of the proverb calls forth analytical tendencies. There appears a definite simultaneous two-fold application of the phraseological unit.

Patterns of decomposition of phraseological units

1. Insertive:

e.g. Butter wouldn't melt in their democratic mouths.

The new French Government was sticking its collective nose into the business...

2. Implied:

e.g. People that build glass houses must have enough money to buy curtains. (He that hath a house of glass must not throw stones at another.)

3. Prolonged (zeugmatic):

e.g. It was raining cats and dogs and two kittens and puppy landed on my windows.

4. Replaced:

e.g. Take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of them­selves. (Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves.)

5. Curtailed:

e.g. "Come!", he said, "milk's spilt".

(There is no use crying over spilt milk.)

6. Resemantized:

e.g. "Then he stood at a safe distance from her and folded his arms in order to be able to keep his head — which shows how strange the English language is" (M.RRinehart);

If Cassandra really believes this nonsense he himself is in no danger of being brainwashed. He has no brains to wash.

Epigram. Epigram is a deliberate coinage of a phrase, a sentence which resembles a proverb both in its linguistic its logical features, expressing a peculiar wide ingenuous turn of thought. Epigram is always referred to some author:

e.g. "The human heart is the tomb of many feelings" (J. Galsworthy).

What is an Epigram?

A dwarfish whole,

Its body — brevity,

And wit — its sole.


Sometimes gradually the coiner is forgotten.

No thorns — no throne,

No gall — no glory.


Epigrams become nonce-phraseological units. Epigrams are mostly used in publicistic style (essays). Instead of logical proofs epigrams serve as a kind of substitute for proof:

e.g. In politics where there is silence there is despair but where there is talk there is hope.

But there are poets and writers who use these elements as one of their sty­listic feature. The abundance of epigrams in S.Maugham's works is conspicuous:

e.g. "The tragedy of love is indifference". "Failure is the foundation place of success and success is the lurking place of failure". "Passion is de­structive. And if it doesn't destroy it dies."

The exposition of ideas is given in epigrammatic style. Epigram can be taken out of the context and still retain its meaning. There is always a ten­dency in the minds of writers to generalize. There are special dictionaries of quotations which in fact are mostly dictionaries of epigrams.

Quotation. It is a SD always even in scientific prose because we raise a certain sentence to the level of abstractedness (significance is attached to it which it had not in the context). Quotation is a nonce phraseological unit, i.e. coined for the occasion:

e.g. "Next to the originator of a good sentence comes the first quoter of it" (Emerson).

That is one who can see the generalized essence. A quotation is always set against the other sentences of the text by its greater volume of sense and significance:

e.g. Ecclesiastes said, mat "All is vanity" — Most modem preachers say the same, or show it By their examples of true Christianity" (G. Byron).

Quotations, unlike epigrams, need not be short; a whole paragraph or a long passage may be quoted as it suits the purpose.

Sometimes in spite of the fact that the exact wording is used, a quotation in a new environment may assume a new shade of meaning sought by the quoter but not intended by the writer of the original work.

Quotations are often used in epigraphs. In this case it possesses great asso­ciative power and calls forth much connotative meaning.

2.6 Phonetic expressive means and stylistic devices

They comprise all the ways of the use of sounds of sreech for stylistic purposes. The sound of most words taken separately will have little or no aesthetic value. It is in combination with other words that a word may acquire a desired phonetic effect.


1) Intonation of a peculiar character "There is a cat" (means an animal, a woman, an especially good example of both).

Natural language is a breeding ground of amibiguity. In the written variety graphic means are used to show the correct or desired pronunciation (bold type, italics, inverted commas);

2) prolongation of vowels; 3) whisper; 4) shouting; 5) overstressing.

Euphony. The purpose of this phonetic expressive means is used mainly in prose be­cause poetry is euphonic in its essence. Euphony is a peculiar arrangement of speech which aims at a desired pleasing phonetic effect. Its main require­ments are: 1) the avoidance of similar sounds in close succession; 2) the avoidance of rhymes.

Theory of sound associations

The gist of the theory: Sounds have meaning (if not separate — combinations of sounds). There are keen adherents to this theory: Verier, Bloomfield, Fonagy. They consider that the sound [u:] generally expresses sorrow or seriousness (we use it to frighten children); [I:] pro­duces the feeling of joy etc. Poets who are keen on sounds feel and use this phenomenon. A.Huxley (an English modern author) wrote that Eng­lishmen do not know what "love" means, unlike Italians in whose "amore" the very sound is passionate "If the English knew what passion meant, they would have found another word". The Russian poet B.Pasternak says that "The music of words results from the correlation of the meaning of the utterance with its sound."


It aims at imitating sounds produced in nature (wind, sea, thunder), by things, by people (laughter, sighing) and by animals. Combinations of speech sounds are inevitably associated with whatever produces the natural sound. Therefore the relation between onomatopoeia and the phenomenon it is sup­posed to represent is one of metonymy. Reproducing natural sounds arouses in our minds the producer of the sound.

There are two varieties of onomatopoeia: direct and indirect.

Direct onomatopoeia presents a direct imitation of certain nature sounds. The word itself has no meaning besides imitating:

e.g. bang, mew, pitty-patty (тип-топ), to buzz (жужжать, хохот).

Onomatopoeic words may be used in a transferred meaning:

e.g. ding-dong — meaning "noisy", strenuously contested; ding-dong struggle.

Indirect onomatopoeia is the use of words which by themselves are not imitating anything but in combination they make the sound of the utterance an echo of its sense:

e.g. "О как, о как нам к вам, о Боже, не взывать"

(Сумароков «Молитва лягушки»)

And the silken, sad, uncertain

Rustling of each purple curtain.

(A. Poe)

Indirect onomatopoeia demands some mention of what makes the sound as in the examples above (лягушка, rustling)

Though natural sounds are everywhere the same, they are imitated differ­ently in different languages (birds twitter — птицы чирикают).


It presents the repetition of the same (or similar) sounds in close proximity. It imparts a melodic effect to the utterance:

e.g. The fair breeze blew,

The white foam flew,

The furrow followed free.


It is a musical accompaniment of the author's idea. It may be used not only in poetry but in emotive prose where it may have a special stylistic value. Po­etry is all euphonic. Alliteration is an ancient device in the English language. It is traced back to Old English poetry which was based on alliteration, not on rhymes. It is sometimes called initial rhyme. It is nationally close to English­men's hearts.

The beginnings of chief words in a line were similar in letters:

e.g. "As I walked in the wilderness of the world" (Piligrim's Progress by Bunian XIV century).

Hence its tenacity in the English phraseology: "last but not least"; in the ti­tles of books: "Pride and Prejudice", "Live with Lighthing"; in slogans: "Workers of the Word Unite"; in newspaper headlines: "Congress Cool on Canal"; in proverbs and sayings: "In for a penny, in for a pound". "Ifs neck or nothing".

Alliteration may be consonantal and assonantal (elusive, difficult to grasp). Assonance is repetition of the same vowel sound: "Apt Alliterations Artful Aid" (Сh. Churchill). Alliteration gives some aesthetic environment to the idea (the survival of the musical element). It was born m poetry when it was married to music, the divorce came later: "The possessive instinct never stands still" (J. Galsworthy). The aim of this sound composition is akin to musical accompaniment.

Alliteration in English differs from that in Russian and is much more ex­tensively used, not only in poetical style (as In Russian).


It is a device which is not fully explored and its impact is not yet esti­mated. We breath, walk rhythmically. It is a very peculiar category in lan­guage. Rhythm is a flow, movement, procedure etc. Characterised by basi­cally regular recurrence of elements or features in alteration with opposite or different elements or features (e.g. in music: high-low, long-short notes).

Periodicity requires specification as to the type periodicity.

In Old Greek poetry — long and short syllables — as if the poem were sung (the principle of music — quantitative — the principle of length). In Latin, English and Russian poetry another system of periodicity is accepted (stressed — unstressed syl­lables, i.e. qualitatively different units. The most important thing is to understand that rhythm demands opposition. Sometimes we perceive rhythm unconsciously. The conscious perception of rhythm must be acquired by training. The Russian poet A. Blok said that the poet is not one who writes verses, but the bearer of rhythm. Metre is a definite kind of periodicity generally used in verse. Metre is an ideal phe­nomenon characterized by its strict regularity, consistency and unchangeability. Rhythm on the contrary is flexible and perceived against the background of metre.

Rhythm in prose demands a different type of arrangement. We take into consideration not the stressed — unstressed but similar syntactical structures. It must be understood that metrical rhythm in prose is incidental (dramatic feeling demands regular rhythm with the increase of emotional tension.

Rhythm in classical verse as a SD is a combination of the ideal metrical scheme and variations of it which are governed by the standard (spondee, rhythmical inversion, pyrhc). In accented verse — by the number of stresses in a line.

3. Stylistic syntax

Stylistic syntax is the branch of linguistics which investi­gates the stylistic value of syntactic forms, stylistic func­tions of syntactic phenomena, their stylistic classifications as well as their appurtenance to sub-languages or styles.

The very forms of sentences and word-combinations maybe ei­ther expressive or neutral. What is commonplace, ordinary, cus­tomary, normal must be stylistically neutral. We are to take for sty­listically neutral the structure of a simple sentence not possessing any particular deformities as regards the number of its constituents or their order. On the other hand, any perceptible deviation from the normal and generally accepted structure of the sentence changes stylistic value of the utterance, making the sentence stylistically significant — expressive emotionally or belonging to some special sphere of one sub-language or another.

It is not only syntactical forms of separate sentences that pos­sess certain kinds of stylistic value, but the interrelations of con­tiguous syntactical forms as well.

Thus, the expressive means of syntax may be subdivided into the following groups:

  1. Expressive means based upon absence of logically indispen­sable elements.

  2. Expressive means based upon the excessive use of speech elements.

  3. Expressive means consisting in an unusual arrangement of linguistic elements.

  4. Expressive means based upon interaction of syntactical forms.

3.1 Absence of syntactical elements

The phenomena to be treated here are syntactically heterogene­ous. Thus, the lack of certain words may be stated in:

  1. elliptical sentences;

  2. unfinished sentences;

  1. nominative sentences;

  2. constructions in which auxiliary elements are missing.

Ellipsis. Elliptical are those sentences in which one or both principal parts (subject and predicate) are felt as missing since, theoretically, they could be restored.

Elliptical sentences are typical, first and foremost, of oral com­munication, especially of colloquial speech. The missing elements are supplied by the context (lingual or extra-lingual). The brevity of the sentences and abruptness of their intonation impart a certain tinge of sharpness to them:

«Please, sir, will you write to me the post office. I don't want my husband to know that I'm — I'm-»

«Affiliated to art? Weill Name of post office».

Victorine gave it and resumed her hat.

«An hour and a half, five shillings, thank you. And tomorrow at half past two, Miss Collins...» (Galsworthy).

While in colloquial speech ellipsis is the natural outcome of ex­tra-lingual conditions, in other varieties of speech it is used with certain stylistic aims in view. Thus it imparts a kind of emotional tension to the author's narration. Sometimes the omission of sub­jects contribute to the acceleration of the tempo of speech:

«Не became one of the prominent men of the House. Spoke clearly and modestly, and was never too long. Held the House where men of higher abilities «bored» it» (Collins).

Ellipsis is also characteristic of such special spheres of written speech as telegraphic messages and reference books (in both of them it is used for the sake of brevity).

It is a deliberate omission of at least one member of the sentence. An elliptical sentence in direct intercourse is not a SD. It is simply a norm of the spoken language. E.g. "There is somebody wants to speak to you." In contemporary prose ellipsis is mainly used in dialogue where it is consciously employed by the author to reflect the natural omissions characteristic of oral colloquial speech to achieve authenticity of ficti­tious dialogue.

Elliptical remarks in literary narrative save only the most vital infor­mation letting out those bits which can be easily reassembled from the situation. The non-expectancy of strikingly colloquial expression in the amplified written variety adds to the stylistic emotional colouring and sounds more emphatic:

e.g. Nothing so difficult as a beginning,

Unless, perhaps, the end

(G. Byron).

"A solemn silence: Mr Pickwick humorous, the old lady serious, the fat gentleman cautious and Mr. Miller timorous" (Ch. Dickens).

Unfinished sentences (aposiopesis). Aposiopesis (which means «silence») refers to cases when the speaker stops short in the very beginning or in the middle of the utterance, thus confining his mode of expression to a mere allusion, a mere hint at what remains unsaid. Care should be taken not to confuse the aposiopesis with cases when speaker is overwhelmed with emotion. Aposiopesis is a deliberate abstention from bringing the utterance up to the end:

«She had her lunches in the department-store restaurant at a cost of sixty cents for the week; dinners were one dollar five cents. The evening papers... came to six cents; and Sumnday papers... were ten cents. The total amounts to 4 dollars 76 cents. Now, one had to buy clothes, and-» (O'Henry).

It is a stopping short for rhetorical effect. In the spoken variety of the language it is caused by unwillingness to proceed or by the supposition that what remains to be said is understood by the implication, or by the speaker's uncertainty as to what exactly he is to promise (to threaten, to beg):

e.g. You just come home, I'll...

In writing aposiopesis conveys to the reader a very strong upsurge of emo­tions: the speaker cannot proceed, his feelings depriving him of the ability to express himself in terms of language:

e.g. "And it was unlikely that anyone would trouble to look there-until-until-well" (Th. Dreiser)

A sudden break in the narrative will inevitably focus the attention on what is left unsaid. It is caused by euphemistic consideration — unwillingness to name a thing as too offensive or fearful.


Usually questions are asked by one person and expected to be answered by another. Question-in-the-narrative changes the real nature of question and turns it into a SD. It is asked and answered by the same person, usually the author. It assumes a semiexclamatory nature:

e.g. "Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did" (G. Dickens).

Question-in-the-narrative may also remain unanswered thus showing a gradual transition to rhetorical questions:

e.g. How long must it go on? Where is the end? There are only hints at possible answers.

Nominative sentences. Their function in speech consists in stat­ing the existence of the thing named:

«London. Fog everywhere. Implacable November weather».

The brevity of nominative sentences renders them especially fit for descriptions:

«Dusk — of a summer night».

A succession of nominative sentences reflects the state of mind of the hero and invigorates the dynamic force of narration:

«But if they should! If they should guess! The horro! The flight! The exposure! The police!..» (Dreiser).

Nominative sentences are often used in stage remarks.

Asyndeton means «absence of conjunctions)). Asyndetic con­nection of sentences and parts of sentences is based on the lexical meanings of the unites combined. The stylistic function of asynde­ton is similar to that of ellipsis: brevity, acceleration of the tempo, colloquial character. E. g.:

«You can't tell whether you are eating apple-pie or German sausage, or strawberries and cream. It all seems cheese. There is too much odour about cheese» (Jerome).

It is deliberate omission of connectives expected according to the norms of the literary language:

e.g. "Soams turned away, he had an utter disinclination for talk" (J. Galsworthy).

The deliberate omission of the subordinate conjunction "because" helps to create the effect of terse, energetic, active prose.

Zeugma may be referred both to the stylistic devices based upon absence of speech elements and to figures of speech. Zeugma is a combination of one polysemantic word with two or several other words in succession, each collocation thus made pertaining to different semantic or even syntactic plane. It is based upon the ab­sence of syntactical elements, but the stylistic effect thus achieved lies entirely in the field of semantics. E. g.:

«At noon Mrs. Turpin would get out of bed and humor, put on kimono, airs, and the water to boil for coffee» (O'Henry).

In this example the verb to get (out of) combines with two words: «bed» and «humor», making with the former a free syntac-tice combination, and phraseological expression with the latter. The phrase to put combines with three words, each time displaying dif­ferent meanings.

The use of zeugma serves, as a rule, the purpose of creating humorous effect. The reason for it is the discrepancy between the identity of the structures of the word combinations and their seman­tic incompatibility:

«She dropped a tear and her pocket handkerchief) (Dickens).

It is the use of a word in the same grammatical but different semantic relations to two adjacent words in the context, one metaphorical and the other literal in sense. By making the two meanings conspicuous in this way each of them stands out clearly:

e.g. He lost everything there was to loose: his friend, his purse, his head and finally his reputation.

This SD is particularly favoured in English humorous and satirical emotive, prose and poetry. A good writer always keeps the chief meaning of words from fading away:

e.g. There's naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms.

As rum and true religion


Pun. Pun is a simultaneous use either of two homonyms or two meanings of the same word. Thus the title of one of O. Wilde's plays "The Importance of Being Earnest" has a pun in it, as the name of the hero and the adjective meaning "seriously-minded" are both present in our mind.

Puns are often used in riddles and jokes:

e.g. What is the difference between a schoolmaster and an engine-driver? — On trains the mind the other minds the train.

3.2 Excess of syntactical elements

The general stylistic value of sentences containing an excessive number of component parts is their emphatic nature. Repetition of a speech element emphasizes the significance of the element, in­creases the emotional force of speech.

Repetition is an expressive stylistic means widely used in all varieties of emotional speech — in poetry and rhetoric, in everyday intercourse.

The simplest variety of repetition is just repeating a word, a group of words, or a whole sentence:

«Scroodge went to bed again, and thought, and thought, and thought it over and over and over».

It is an EM of language used when the speaker is under the stress of emotion:

e.g. Stop! I don't want to hear; I don't want to hear what you've come for.

Stylistic Repetition has different functions. It aims at logical emphasis of the key-word of the utterance. Repetition is classified according to composi­tional design.

1) Simple repetition:

e.g. Alone, alone, all, all alone.

alone in a wide, wide sea.


2) Anaphora (initial repetition):

e.g. The man behind the war. The man who had engineered it.

My heart's in the Highlands,

My heart is not here,

My heart's in the Highlands

a chasing the dear.


3) Epiphora (final repetion):

e.g. "I am exactly the man to be placed in a superior position in such a case as that. I am above the rest of mankind, in such a case as that" (Ch Dickens) (the function of the background).

4) Framing At the end of a syntactical unit the word used at the beginning of it is repeated:

e.g. "No wonder, his father wanted to know what Bossinney meant, no wonder" (J. Galsworthy).

Framing makes the whole utterance more compact and complete; it is more effective in singling out paragraphs.

5) Anadiplosis (linking repetition). The beginning of a syntactical unit repeats the concluding words of the previous syntactical unit:

e.g. "We were talking about how bad we were.

Bad, from the medical point of view"

(Gerome K. Gerome).

The function: to intensify the utterance. Repetition may suggest meditation, sadness, monotony, hopelessness and it imparts rhythm.

Synonymical repetition is another variety. This is the repetition of the same idea by using synonymous words and phrases which add some shades of meaning:

e.g. EMs: lord and master, clean and neat, far and away, pure and simple.

"Mr. Pickwick with his foresight and sagacity" (Ch. Dickens).

He was confined to his own room,

...Then he was afraid to leave his prison...

(S. Maugham)

There are two terms frequently used to show the negative attitude of the critic to all kinds of synonymical repetition. These are: tautology and pleonasm.

Tautology (morphological repetition) is a repetition of the same idea in an immediate context. The notion is expressed by different parts of speech belonging to the same word-cluster:

e.g. to live a life, to die the death, fat butter,

sick patient (unnecessary use of words).

Pleonasm is the use of more words in a sentence than necessary to express the meaning. It is redundancy of expression, the words swell and become weaker:

e.g. But that's impossible and cannot be.

Distant repetition:

e.g. "Nobody tells me anything" (J. Galsworthy).

James Forsite said throughout the novel.

Framing is a particular kind of repetition in which the two re­peated elements occupy the two most prominent positions — the initial and the final:

«Never wonder. By means of addition, subtraction, multiplica­tion and division, settle everything somehow, and never wonder» (Dickens).

The so called appended statement (the repetition of the pro­nominal subject and of the auxiliary part of the predicate) are also referred to framing:

«You've made a nice mess, you have...» (Jerome).

Anadiplosis is a kind of repetition in which a word or a group of words concluding a sentence, a phrase or a verse line recur at the beginning of the next segment:

«With Bewick on my knee, I was then happy; happy at least in my way» (Bronte).

Prolepsis is repetition of the noun subject in the form of a per­sonal pronoun. The stylistic purpose of this device is to emphasize the subject, to make it more conspicuous. E. g.:

«Miss Tillie Webster, she slept forty days and nights without waking up» (O'Henry).

Prolepsis is especially typical of uncultivated speech:

«Bolivar, he's plenty tired, and he can't carry double» (O'Henry).

In a way related to prolepsis proper is the repetition of the gen­eral scheme of the sentence, which is to avoided in literary speech: «.I know the like of you are, I do» (Shaw).

Polysyndeton. Stylistic significance is inherent in the inten­tional recurrence of form-words, for the most part conjunctions. The repetition of the conjunction and underlines close connection of the successive statements, e. g.:

«If (the tent) is soaked and heavy, and it flogs about, and tum­bles down on you, and clings round your head, and makes you mad» (Jerome).

Occasionally, it may create a general impression of solemnity, probably, due to certain association with the style of the Bible. E. g.:

«And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it» (Matthew).

The conjunction and is extremely often used in colloquial speech, where it is not a stylistic device but mere pleonasm caused by the poverty of the speaker's vocabulary.

It is connecting sentences, or phrases, or words by using connectives (mostly conjunctions and prepositions) before each component part:

e.g. By the time he had got all the bottles and dishes and knives and forks and glasses and plates and spoons and things piled up on big trays, he was getting very hot.

The function of polysyndeton is to straighten the idea of equal logical (emotive) importance of connected sentences. The conjunctions being generally unstressed, when placed before each meaningful member will cause the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables. Hence, its rhythmical function. In addition it has a disintegrating function. Polysyndeton makes each member of a string of facts stand out conspicuously.

3.3 Order of speech elements

The English sentence is said to be built according to rigid pat­terns of word order. It means that any deviation from usual order of words which is permissible is very effective stylistically.

Stylistic inversion. Any kind of deviation from the usual order of words in the sentence is called inversion. Stylistic inversion is placing a part of the sentence into a position unusual for it for the purpose of emphasis. Compare:

«They slid down» — «Down they slid».

The initial position of a word or a word-group which do not usually occupy this position makes them prominent and emphatic. The initial position may be occupied by various members of the sentence: predicative, verbal predicate, adverbial modifier, direct object, prepositional object.

Other kinds of inversion produce similar stylistic effect. Thus, if a sentence-member stands in the final instead of the initial position it also becomes prominent. This device is often used in poetry, e. g.:

«Не had moccasins enchanted,

Magic moccasins of deer-skin...»


Stylistic inversion

In the English language the structure of the sentence and the meaning very much depend on the order of words. There is not much choice as to word-order.

The English language has developed a tolerably fixed word-order: subject-predicate-object (SPO). The predominance of SPO word order makes con­spicuous any change in the structure of the sentence. The most conspicu­ous places in the sentence are considered to be the first and the last: the first — because of full force of stress, the last — because there is a pause after it. We should distinguish between grammatic, emphatic and stylistic inversion.

By grammatic inversion we understand such word order that changes the grammatical meaning of the sentence: makes it interrogative. Grammatic inversion is objective, it does not depend on any subjective attitude. It is normalised by grammar rales.

Emphatic inversion is a certain word-order which is brought into life by certain normalised conditions. It is also normalised in the language but not so strictly as grammatic inversion. It is not change the grammatic meaning of the sentence:

e.g. Never have I seen such a play.

Only then did I realise how wrong I had been.

Stylistic Inversion is a deviation from the normal word — order which does not change the grammatic meaning of the sentence it only changes its emotive force. It aims at attaching logical stress or additional emotional colouring to the meaning of the utterance. Therefore in case of stylistic inversion a specific intonation pattern always accompanies such structures. Though stylistic inversion is not normalised by grammar rules it usually follows certain patterns:

1) subject — predicate inversion:

e.g. Cajne frightful days of cold and rain;

2) The predicative stands before the link-verb and the subject:

e.g. Rude am I in my speech;

3) Object and predicate inversion:

e.g. Strange things have I in mind;

4) The adverbial modifier and predicate inversion:

e.g. At your feet I fall.

Up goes unemployment, down tumbles the Labour vote.

The stylistic effect of inversion lies in breaking up the ordinary unemphatic intonation pattern of the sentence. Hence-all kinds of implications sometimes leading up to irony:

e.g. A lot of good you can do me.

Versus: You can do me a lot of good.

The information is different.

3.4 Interaction of syntactical structures

Sentences consisting a coherent narration are logically con­nected. This circumstance brings about certain structural connec­tion, structural influence of one sentence upon the neighbouring one. Structural assimilation of sentences is stylistically relevant.

Parallelism means a more or less complete identity of syntacti­cal structures of two or more contiguous sentences or verse lines:

«The cock is crowing,

The stream is flowing,

The small birds twitter,

The lake doth glitter»


Parallelism is often accompanied by the lexical identity of one or several members of each sentence. In this case parallelism serves as a syntactical means of making the recurring parts prominent, more conspicuous than their surroundings.

It may be viewed as a syntactical type of repetition, the reiteration of the structure of several successive sentences (clauses). Parallel constructions of­ten include some type of lexical repetition and such as convergence produces a strong effect foregrounding at one go logical, rhythmic, emotive and ex­pressive aspects of the utterance:

e.g. The seeds ye sow — another reaps,

The robes ye weave — another wears,

The arms ye forge — another bears.

(P.B. Shelley)

Its function is mainly the equality of rank in successive sentences.

Complete Parallel arrangement is called balance. Parallel construction is frequently used in enumeration, climax and antithesis thus consolidating the general effect, achieved by these SDs. It's widely used in scientific prose and documents.

It is repetition of the same part of speech in succession (not the same words). Separate things or properties are named one by one to display some kind of semantic homogeneity, remote though it may seem:

e.g. Famine, despair, cold, thirst and heat had done their work on them.

Enumeration may be heterogeneous:

e.g. She was married, charming, chaste and twenty-one.

By force of enumeration these words are equal in significance.

e.g. She had very nice feet and plenty of money (akin to zeugma).

Chiasmus is a special variety of parallelism. It is a reproduction in the given sentence of the general syntactical structure as well as of the lexical elements of the preceding sentence, the syntactical positions of the lexical elements undergoing inversion:

«The jail might have been the infirmary, the infirmary might have been the jail...» (Dickens).

The second part of a chiasmus is inversion of the first sentence.


It is sometimes achieved by a sudden change from the active voice to the passive or vice versa:

e.g. Down dropped the breeze,

The sails dropped down.


This SD helps to lay stress on the second part of the utterance. It is sometimes used to break the monotory of paralled constructions.

Anaphora is the use of identical words at the beginning of two or more contiguous sentences or verse lines. Sometimes it is com­bined with parallelism, e. g.:

«Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow!

Farewell to the straits and green valleys below!

Farewell to the forests and wild hanging woods!

Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods!»


The expressive purpose of anaphora to imprint the elements, emphasized by repetition, in the reader's memory, to impart a pecu­liar kind of rhythm to the speech and to increase the sound har­mony.

Epiphora is recurrence of identical elements in the end of two or more contiguous utterances, e. g.:

«Now this gentleman had a younger brother of still better ap­pearance than himself, who had tried life as a cornet of dragoons, and found it a bore; and had afterwards tried it in the train of an English minister abroad, and found it a bore...» (Dickens).

Epiphora contributes to rhythmical regularity of speech, making prose resemble poetry. It may be combined with anaphora and par­allelism.

Stylistic value of syntactical categories

Syntactical categories may possess certain stylistic value. Some of them display expressive potentialities; others imply appurte­nance to special spheres of sub-languages, i. e. they are non-neutral.

Particular ways of combining parts of the utterance (lincage). The arrangement of sentence members, the completeness of sentence structure naturally involve various types of connection used within the sen­tence or between sentences.

Particular use of colloquial constructions. In lively colloquial intercourse the emotional element is enforced not only by emphatic intonation, the structure itself is intended to carry some emo­tional charge. In writing deprived of intonation these emotional constructions assume a greater significance.

Types of narration

A work of creative prose is never homogenous as to the form and essence of the information it carries. Both very much depends on the viewpoint of the addresser, as the author and his personages may offer different angles of perception of the same object. Naturally, it is the author who organised this effect of polyphony but the readers identify various views with the personages.

The writer's views are most explicitly expressed in the author's narrative.

The unfolding of the plot is mainly concentrated here, personages are given characteristics, the time and place of action are also described here, as the author sees them. The author's narrative provides direct information about his preferences and objections, beliefs and contradictions, i.e. serves the major source of shaping up the author's image.

In contemporary prose to impress the reader with authenticity of the de­scribed events, the writer entrusts some fictitious character (who participates in the narrated events) with the task of story-telling. All the events of the story are presented from the character's viewpoint. This form is called entrusted narrative. Of course, the author (the actual creator of it all) serves the major force of textual cohesion and unity. Entrusted narrative can be carried out in the 1st person singular when the narrator proceeds with his story from his own name:

e.g. Halden himself retells about the crises in his life. ("The Catcher in the Rye " by Salinger).

"The Great Gatsby" by S. Fitzgerald, where Nick Carraway tells about Jay Gatsly whom he met occasionally so that to tell Gatsly's life story he had to lean on the knowledge of other personages too.

Entrusted narrative may also be anonymous. The narrator does not claim responsibility for the views and evaluations but the manner of presentations but the story is not told by the author but by some of his factotum (the prose E. Hemingway, E. Caldwell, K. Mansfield, CM. Cullers).

Dialogue where personages express their minds in the form of uttered speech occupies a very important place. It is a form of the personage's self-characterisation while discussing other people and actions.

Interior speech of the personage allows the readers to peep into the inner world of the character, to observe his ideas and views in the making (interior monologue). Often the author portrays disjointed purely associative manner of minking — the so-called stream-of-consciousness technique which is es­pecially popular with representatives of modernism.

Language means employed in the dialogue and interior speech differ from the author's narrative and in their unity and combination they constitute the personage's speech characteristic which is indispensable in the creation of his image in the novel.

Indirect speech — when the actual words of a character pass through the author's mouth in the course of his narrative and in the process undergo cer­tain changes differing little from the rest of the author's narrative:

e.g. "Move on!" He asked the crowd to disperse. '

Hence indirect speech may fail to reproduce the actual emotional colouring of the utterance. It is probably due to this fact that represented speech came into being.

Represented (Reported) Speech serves to show either the mental reproduction of a once uttered remark (uttered represented speech e.g.1) or the character's thinking (inner or unuttered represented speech e.g.2). The letter is close to the personage's interior speech in essence, but differs from it in form: it is rendered in the third person singular and may have the author's qualitative words, while the interion speech is materialised through the first-person pronouns:

e.g. l. "Could he bring a reference from where he. now was? He could " (Th. Dreiser).

2. "Butler sorry that he has called his youngest a baggage; but these children- God bless his soul — were a great annoyance. Why, in the name of all saints, wasn't this house good enough for them?" (Th. Dreiser).

The tense-forms are shifted to the past, the third person pronouns replace the first and the second.

3.5 The connection between parts of the sentence

There are two polar types of syntactic connection in the sen­tence: subject-predicate relation and secondary relation, i.e. rela­tions between secondary parts of a sentence. The subject-predicate relation serves to convey a piece of information, to inform the hearer about something. The secondary parts of the sentence make, together with their head-words, mere word-combinations, i.e. composite denominations, functionally equivalent to simple words.

Between the two polar types of syntactical connection there ex­ists an intermediate type— a semi-predicative connection which occurs when a secondary part of the sentence becomes «detached».

Detachment means that a secondary member a) becomes pho­netically separated, b) obtains emphatic stress, c) sometimes, though not necessarily, changes its habitual position. This secon­dary part of the sentence, remaining what it has been (an attribute, an adverbial modifier, etc.), at the same time assumes the function of an additional predicative; it comes to resemble the predicate.

Detachment makes the word prominent. Thus, from the point of view of stylistics, detachment is nothing but emphasis.

Theoretically, any secondary part of the sentence can be de­tached:

«Smither should choose it for her at the stores — nice and dap­pled» (Galsworthy) — detachment of the attribute.

«Talent, Mr. Micawber has, capital, Mr. Micawber has not» (Dickens) — detachment of the direct object.

A syntactical design in which the. so-called secondary parts of speech be­ing torn away from the parts of speech they refer to, assume a greater seman­tic significance:

e.g. "I noticed him because he appeared incongruously in love with his wife. Who ignored him, a flashy and false blonde" (G. Greene). This SD is akin to inversion but it produces a much stronger effect as it presents the parts of the utterance in a more or a less independent manner.

Parenthetic Elements, i. e. words, phrases and clauses discon­nected grammatically with their syntactical surroundings, also pos­sess stylistic value. Parenthesis may perform the following stylistic functions:

to reproduce two parallel lines of thought, two different planes of narration (in the author's speech), e. g.:

«... he was struck by the thought (what devil's whisper? — what evil hint of an evil spitir?) — supposing that he and Roberta— no, say he and Sondra— (no, Sondra could swim so well and so could he) — he and Roberta were in a small boat somewhere... » (Dreiser);

to make the sentence or clause more conspicuous, more em­phatic, e. g.:

«The main entrance (he had never ventured to look beyond that) was a splendiferous combination of a glass and iron awning...» (Dreiser);

to strengthen the emotional force by making part of the utter­ance interrogative or exclamatory, e. g.:

«Неrе is a long passage — what an enormous prospective I make of it! — leading from Peggoty's kitchen to the front door» (Dickens);

  • to avoid monotonous repetition of similar constructions;

  • to impart colloquial character to the author's narration.

It is a way of connecting two sentences seemingly unconnected semantically and leaving to the reader to grasp the idea implied. The second part appears to be an afterthought:

e.g. "It was not Capetown, where people only frowned when they saw a black boy and a white girl. But here... And he loved her" (J. Abraham's).

It wasn't his fault. It was yours. And mine. The Gap-Sentence link is based on the peculiarities of the spoken language and is mainly to be found in various representations of the voice of the personage — dialogue, represented speech, entrusted narrative. It indicates a subjective evaluation of things. It aims at stirring up in the reader's mind the suppositions, associations and conditions under which the sentence can really exist.

Suspense. It is a compositional device which consists in placing the less important subordinate parts at the beginning and withholding the main idea till the end of the sentence. The reader is kept waiting for an expected issue.

e.g. "Should you ask me

Whence these stories

Whence these legends and traditions

With the odours of the forest..."

("If..." by R. Kipling)

"I should answer, I should tell you. ("The song of Hiawatha" by Longfellow)

Sentences of this type are called "periods".

3.6 Revaluation of syntactical categories

Revaluation of syntactical categories means the use of certain syntactical categories or forms of their expression with their mean­ings transferred. Thus, a statement which is usually given the form of a declarative sentence may be expressed by means of interroga­tive sentence; several kinds of sentence patterns may express nega­tion, although they do not contain any grammatical devices of ne­gation (the negative particle or negative pronouns).

Rhetorical question is an affirmative or negative statement which only assumes the form of a question. The use of the inter­rogative form performs an expressive function since it implies di­rect appellation to the hearer's opinion. The speaker never doubts what kind of answer to his question can be expected, and the con-elusion is left with the hearer:

Is this belief from heaven be sent,

Is such be Nature’s holy plan,

Have I not reason to lament

What man has done of man?


The interrogative construction which semantically remains a statement is called a rhetorical question. Unlike an ordinary question the rhetorical one does not demand any information but serves to express the speaker's emotions and to call the listeners' attention. The interrogative intonation and/or punctuation draw the readers' (listeners') attention to the focus of the utterance:

e.g. What have I done to deslrve it?

Is the poor privilege to turn the key

Upon the captive, freedom?

(G. Byron)

Rhetorical, questions are often used in publicisitic style and oratory which lim at rousing of emotions.

4. Exercise

Analyze the means of rendering the stylistic effect produced by figures of speech in the following examples. Was the task fulfilled successfully?


1. I went out and caught the boy and shook him until his freckles rattled.

2. «Enough», says Bill. «In ten minutes I shall cross the Central, Southern, and Middle Western States, and be legging it trippingly for the Canadian border».

Я вышел из пещеры, поймал мальчишку и начал так его трясти, что веснушки засту­чали друг о друга.

Этого довольно, — гово­рит Билл. — В десять минут я пересеку Центральные, Юж­ные и Среднезападные штаты и свободно успею добежать до канадской границы.


1. I think you are a little high in your demands, and I hereby make you a counter-proposition, which I am inclined to believe you will accept.

Думаю, что вы запрашиваете лишнее, а потому делаю вам со своей стороны контрпредложение и полагаю, что вы его примите.


  1. The deadly.45 of the false friend cracked and filled the gorge with a roar that the walls hurled back with in­dignant echoes.

Раздался выстрел вероломного друга, и негодующим эхом ответили ему каменные стены ущелья.


1. A dead leaf fell in Soapy's lap. That was Jack Frost's card. Jack is kind to the regular denizens of Madison Square, and gives fair warn­ing of his annual call.

Желтый лист упал на колени Сопи. То была визитная карточка Деда Мороза; этот старик добр к постоянным обитателям Мэдисон-сквера и честно предупреждает их о своем близком приходе.


1. Bill and me figured that Ebenezer would melt down for a ransom of two thou­sand dollars to a cent.

Мы с Биллом рассчитывали, что Эбенезер сразу выложит нам за сынка две тысячи долларов, никак не меньше.

2. «I ain't attempting)), says he, «to decry the celebrated moral aspect of parental af­fection, but we're dealing with humans, and it ain't human for anybody to give up two thousand dollars for that forty-pound chunk of freckled wildcat)).

Я вовсе не пытаюсь унизить прославленную, с моральной точки зрения, родительскую любовь, но ведь мы имеем дело с людьми, а какой же человек нашел бы в себе силы заплатить две тысячи долларов за эту веснушчатую дикую кошку!

3. «Tell you the truth, Bill», says I, «this little he ewe lamb has somewhat got on my nerves too. We'll take him home, pay the ransom, and make our getaway».

Сказать тебе по правде, Билл, — говорю я, — это сокровище что-то и мне действует на нервы! Мы отвезем его домой, заплатим вы­куп и смоемся куда-нибудь подальше.

4. Shark Dodson and Bob Tid-ball, scorning to put such low-grade ore as the pas­sengers through the mill, struck out for the rich pocket of the express-car.

Акула Додсон и Боб Тидбол не стали пропускать сквозь грохот такую бедную золо­том породу, как пассажиры, а направились прямиком к богатым россыпям почтово­го вагона.


1. One more night of this kid will send me to a bed in Bedlam.

Еще одна ночь с этим мальчишкой, и придется меня свезти в сумасшедший дом.


1. «I never lost my nerve yet till we kidnapped that two-legged skyrocket of a kid.»

Я никогда ничего не боялся, пока мы не украли эту двуногую ракету.


1. There was a town down there, as flat as a flannel-cake, and called Summit, of course.

Есть там один городишко, плоский, как блин, и, конечно, называется Вершины.

  1. That boy put up a fight like a welter-weight cinnamon bear; but, at last, we got him down in the bottom of the buggy and drove away.

Мальчишка этот дрался, как бурый медведь среднего веса, но в конце концов мы его запихали на дно шарабана и поехали.

3. Bill gets down on his all fours, and a look comes in his eye like a rabbit's when you catch it in a trap.

Билл становится на четвереньки, и в глазах у него появляется такое выражение, как у кролика, попавшего в западню.

4. When the kid found out we were going to leave him at home he started up a howl himself as tight as a leech to Bill's leg. His father peeled him away gradually, like a porous plaster.


Как только мальчишка обнаружил, что мы собираемся его оставить дома, он поднял вой не хуже пароходной сирены и вцепился в ногу Билла, словно пиявка. Отец отдирал его от ноги, как липкий пластырь

1. They weren't yells, or howls, or shouts, or whoops, or yawps, such as you'd expect from a manly set of vocal organs — they were simply indecent, terrifying, humili­ating screams, such as women emit when they see ghosts or caterpillars.

Не крики, или вопли, или вой, или рев, какого можно было бы ожидать от голосовых связок мужчины, — нет, прямо-таки неприличный, ужасающий, унизительный визг, каким визжат женщи­ны, увидев привидение или гусеницу.



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