Figurative and expressive means of the language: a list with the name and description, examples

The graphic and expressive is perhaps the most complicated and most difficult topic for those who are not friends with literature and verbal figures. If you have never been impressed by classical literature, especially poetry, then perhaps acquaintance with this topic will allow you to look at many works through the eyes of the author, create interest in the artistic word.

Magic word

Trails - verbal traction

Brighter and more expressive, more interesting and richer make speech trails. These are words and their combinations, used in a figurative sense, which is why the very expressiveness of the text appears. Paths help to convey various shades of emotions, to recreate true images and pictures in the mind of the reader, with their help, the word masters evoke certain associations in the mind of the reader.

artistic word

Along with the syntactic means of language, paths (related to lexical means) are quite powerful weapons in the literary sphere. It is worth paying attention to the fact that many paths have moved from literary language to spoken language. We are so accustomed to them that we no longer notice the indirect meaning of such words, which is why they have lost their expressiveness. Frequent phenomenon: paths are so “beaten” by colloquial speech that they become stamps and cliches. The once expressive phrases “black gold”, “brilliant mind”, “golden hands” have become familiar and hackneyed.

Tropic classification

fairy tale fiction

In order to understand and clearly find out which words and expressions, in what context they belong to the figurative and expressive means of the language, let us turn to the following table.

Trails Definition Examples
Epithet It is called upon to define something artistically (object, action), most often expressed by an adjective or adverb Turquoise eyes, monstrous character, indifferent sky
Metaphor In essence, this is a comparison, but hidden due to the transfer of the properties of one object or phenomenon to another Soul sings, consciousness floats away, head buzzes, icy gaze, sharp word
Metonymy Rename. It is the transfer of the properties of one object, a phenomenon to another on the basis of adjacency. Brew chamomile (and not chamomile tea), the school went on a clean-up day (replacing the word “students” with the name of the institution), read Mayakovsky (replacing the work with the author’s name)
Synecdoche (is a type of metonymy) Transfer the name of the object from part to whole and vice versa A penny to save (instead of money), the berry ripened this year (instead of berries), the buyer is now demanding (instead of buyers)
Hyperbola Paths based on excessive exaggeration (properties, sizes, events, values, etc.) I told you a hundred times, I stood in line all day, scared to death
Periphrase An indivisible expression in semantic terms that figuratively describes a phenomenon, an object, indicating its peculiarity (with a negative or positive meaning) Not a camel, but a ship of the desert, not Paris, but a fashion capital, not an official, but a clerical rat, not a dog, but a man’s friend
Allegory Allegory, the expression of an abstract concept using a specific image Fox - cunning, ant - hard work, the elephant - clumsiness, dragonfly - carelessness
Litotes Same as hyperbole, just the opposite. Downplaying something to express As a cat cried, I earn my penny, thin, like a cane
Oxymoron The combination of incompatible, contrasting, controversial Loud silence, back to the future, hot cold, beloved enemy
Irony The use of the word in the sense completely opposite to its meaning for the purpose of ridicule

Come to my mansions (about a small apartment), it will cost you a pretty penny (big money)

Impersonation Transferring the properties and qualities of living beings to inanimate objects and concepts that they do not have Crying rain, whispering foliage, howling blizzard, sadness attacked
Antithesis A trail based on the sharp opposition of any images or concepts

I was looking for happiness in this woman

And accidentally found death. S. Yesenin

Euphemism Neutral in emotional and semantic terms, a word or combination of words, used instead of unpleasant, rude, indecent expressions Places not so remote (instead of prison), he has a peculiar character (instead of bad, heavy)

From the examples it becomes clear that the graphic-expressive means of the language, namely the paths, are used not only in works of art, but also in lively conversational speech. It is not necessary to be a poet in order to have a competent, juicy, expressive speech. It is enough to have a good vocabulary and ability to express thoughts outside the box. Saturate your vocabulary with quality literature reading, it is extremely useful.

Pictorial phonetics

the power of a word

Paths are only part of the arsenal of artistic means of expression. What is intended to act specifically on our ears is called the phonetic figurative-expressive means of the language. Once having penetrated into the essence of the phonetic component of the artistry of the language, you begin to look at many things with different eyes. The understanding of the word-play in the verses of the school program, which were once studied “through force,” comes to light, reveals the poetics and beauty of syllables.

It is best of all to consider examples of the use of phonetic means of expression, relying on classical Russian literature, this is the richest source of alliteration and assonance, as well as other types of sound writing.But it would be wrong to think that examples of graphic expressive means of language are not found in modern art. Advertising, publicism, songs and poems of modern performers, proverbs, sayings, tongue twisters - all this is an excellent base for searching for figures of speech and tropes, you just need to learn how to hear and see them.

Alliteration, assonance and others

Alliteration is the repetition of identical consonants or their combinations in a poem, which gives the verse a sound expressiveness, brightness, originality. For example, the sound [s] from Vladimir Mayakovsky in "Cloud in Pants":

You entered

sharp as "here you are!"

torturing gloves suede,


"You know -

I'm getting married".

or right there:


I will be strong.

See -

calm how!

Like a dead man's pulse.

Remember? ...

Here is an example of a modern us. At the singer of Utah ("Fall"):

I will smoke and eat bread

Staring in the hallway at the dusty ceiling ...

Assonance is a specially organized repetition of consonants (often in a poetic text), which gives the verse musicality, harmony, song. A masterfully crafted phonetic device can convey the atmosphere, atmosphere, state of mind, and even surrounding sounds. Vladimir Mayakovsky’s carefully crafted assonance bears a tinge of fluid hopelessness:

Your son is perfectly sick!


He has a fire of heart.

Tell the sisters

Luda and Ole, -

he has nowhere to go.

In Vladimir Vladimirovich, in any poem, figurative and expressive means of a phonetic character are combined with tropes and syntactic figures. This is the author's uniqueness.

Puns rhymes are combinations of words and sounds built on the similarity of sound.

The field of rhymes is my element

And I write poetry easily,

Without thinking, without delay

I run to the line from the line,

Even to the Finnish rocks brown

I treat with a pun.

D. D. Minaev

Syntax expressive language

Epiphora and anaphora, inversion, parcellation and a number of other syntactic means help the master of verbal art to saturate his works with expressiveness, creating an individual style, character, rhythm.

emotion masks

Some syntactic techniques enhance the expressiveness of speech, emit logically what the author wants to emphasize. Others give the story dynamism, tension, or, conversely, make you stop and think, re-read and feel. Many writers and poets have their own individual style, based precisely on syntax.It is enough to remember A. Blok:

"Night, street, lantern, pharmacy"

or A. Akhmatova:

"Twenty-first. Night. Monday"

The individual author's style consists, of course, not only of syntax, there is a whole set of all the components: semantic, linguistic, as well as rhythm and vision of reality. Nevertheless, it is important that the artist uses the word-expressive means of expression of the language.

Syntax to help artistic expression

Inversion (rearrangement, inversion) is the reverse or nonstandard word order in a sentence. In prose is used for the semantic allocation of any part of the sentence. In poetic form, it is necessary to create a rhyme, focusing on the most important points. Marina Tsvetaeva in the poem “Attempt of jealousy” inversion conveys an emotional strain:

How do you live - hello -

Can? Sung - how?

With the plague of an immortal conscience

How do you do, poor man?

A. S. Pushkin considered inversion perhaps the most important means of poetic expressiveness, his poems are mostly inversion, that's why they are so musical, expressive, simple.

The rhetorical question in an artistic text is one that does not require an answer.

The day was innocent and the wind was fresh.

Dark stars went out.

- Grandmother! - This cruel insurgency

In my heart - is it from you? ..

A. Akhmatova

In the lyrics of Marina Tsvetaeva, favorite methods were a rhetorical question and a rhetorical exclamation:

I will ask for a chair, I will ask for a bed:

“Why, why do I suffer and distress?”


I taught to live in the fire

He himself threw - in the steppe icy!

That's what you, dear, did to me!

My dear, what have I done to you?

Epiphora, Anaphora, Ellipse

knowledge books

Anaphora is a repetition of similar or identical sounds, words, phrases at the beginning of each line, stanza, sentence. A classic example is the poems of Yesenin:

I did not know that love is an infection,

I did not know that love is a plague ....

... Oh, wait. I do not scold her.

Oh, wait. I do not curse her ...

Epiphora - the repetition of the same elements at the end of phrases, stanzas, lines.

Stupid heart, do not fight!

We are all deceived by happiness,

The beggar only asks for the fate ...

Foolish heart, do not fight.

Both stylistic figures are more characteristic of poetry than prose. Such techniques are found in all types and genres of literature, including oral folk art, which is very natural, given its specificity.

An ellipse is an omission in the artistic text of a language unit (it is easy to restore it), while the meaning of the phrase does not suffer.

That yesterday - to the waist,

Suddenly - to the stars.

(Exaggerated, that is:

In full - height.)

M. Tsvetaeva

This gives dynamism, conciseness, highlights in the sentence the necessary element intonation.

In order to clearly orient oneself in all the diversity of linguistic figures and to professionally understand the name of the expressive means, one needs experience, knowledge of theory and language disciplines.

The main thing is not to overdo it.

power of the artistic word

If we perceive the surrounding information through the prism of linguistic means of expressiveness, we can come to the conclusion that even conversational speech addresses them quite often. It is not necessary to know the name of the expressive means of a language in order to use it in speech. Rather, it happens unintentionally, imperceptibly. Another thing is when various figures of speech flow in a stream in the media, to the point and not quite. Abuse of paths, stylistic techniques, other means of expression makes speech difficult to perceive, oversaturated.Publicism and advertising are especially sinful, apparently because they use the power of the language deliberately to influence the audience. The poet in the rush of the creative process does not think about what graphic-expressive means to use, it is a spontaneous, "emotional" process.

Language is the strongest tool in the hands of the classics

expressiveness of language

Each epoch imposes an imprint on the language and its visual means. Pushkin's language is far from the creative syllable of Mayakovsky. Poetics Tsvetaevsky heritage differs sharply from the unique texts of Vladimir Vysotsky. The poetic language of A. S. Pushkin is riddled with epithets, metaphors, impersonations, I. A. Krylov is a fan of allegory, hyperbole, and irony.

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