figures of speech
turns of phrase, schemes, tropes, ornaments, colors, flowers
overview  |  groupings  |  schemes and tropes

Schemes and Tropes

Schemes and tropes both have to do with using language in an unusual or "figured" way:

Trope: An artful deviation from the ordinary or principal signification of a word.

Scheme: An artful deviation from the ordinary arrangement of words.


"I work like a slave" [trope: simile]

"I don't know if I'm working my job or my job, me" [schemes: antimetabole, ellipsis, personification]

Categories of tropes and schemes.

Click on a category to see specific figures of speech, or proceed directly to the tropes page or the schemes pages to see them all. To see other organizational methods for the figures of speech, click here.

Kinds of Tropes

  1. Reference to One Thing as Another
  2. Wordplay and puns
  3. Substitutions
  4. Overstatement/Understatement
  5. Semantic Inversions

Kinds of Schemes

  1. Structures of Balance
  2. Change in Word Order
  3. Omission
  4. Repetition

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" (

Trees | SILVA RHETORICAE | Flowers