Examples of Tropes: Wordplay and Puns


Repetition of a word in two different senses.

Example :

If we don't hang together, we'll hang separately —Benjamin Franklin

Note: This is also a trope of repetition.


Using words that sound alike but that differ in meaning (punning).

Example :

Don't let your metaphoric retch exceed your metaphoric gasp


Using a word differently in relation to two or more words that it modifies or governs (sometimes called zeugma).

Example :

There's a certain type of woman that would rather press grapes than clothes — Ad for Peck & Peck suits


Use of words whose sound correspond with their semantic value.

The buzzing of innumerable bees...

From Alexander Pope comes this famous example of the correspondence between sound and sense:
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offense,
The sound must seem an echo of the sense:
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
but when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar:
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors, and the words move slow;
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
Please cite "Silva Rhetoricae" (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Trees | SILVA RHETORICAE | Flowers