Figures of Speech: Schemes

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

  1. Structures of Balance

    • Parallelism Similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases, or clauses.
      • Isocolon A series of similarly structured elements having the same length.
      • Tricolon Three parallel elements of the same length occurring together.
    • Antithesis Juxtaposition of contrasting ideas (often in parallel structure).
    • Climax Generally, the arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of increasing importance, often in parallel structure.

  2. Changes in word order

    • Anastrophe Inversion of natural word order.
    • Parenthesis Insertion of a verbal unit that interrupts normal syntactical flow.
    • Apposition Addition of an adjacent, coordinate, explanatory element.

  3. Omission

    • Ellipsis Omission of a word or words readily implied by context.
    • Asyndeton Omission of conjunctions between a series of clauses.
    • Brachylogia Omission of conjunctions between a series of words.
    • (Polysyndeton) Opposite of asyndeton, a superabundance of conjunctions

  4. Repetition

    • Alliteration Repetition of initial or medial consonants in two or more adjacent words.
    • Assonance Repetition of similar vowel sounds, preceded and followed by different consonants, in the stressed syllables of adjacent words.
    • Polyptoton Repetition of words derived from the same root.
    • Antanaclasis Repetition of a word in two different senses.
    • Anaphora Repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses.
    • Epistrophe Repetition of the same word or group of words at the ends of successive clauses.
    • Epanalepsis Repetition at the end of a clause of the word that occurred at the beginning of the clause.
    • Anadiplosis Repetition of the last word of one clause at the beginning of the following clause.
    • Climax Repetition of the scheme anadiplosis at least three times, with the elements arranged in an order of increasing importance.
    • Antimetabole Repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order. (Sometimes mistaken as chiasmus)
    • Chiasmus Repetition of grammatical structures in reverse order in successive phrases or clauses (not to be mistaken with antimetabole).

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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