Figures of Speech

Figures of speech can be abused. It is a totalitarian (negative) tactic is to treat a figure of speech as if the person meant what they said in a literal manner and then ridicule the person as being dim witted. This is particularly true of hyperbole.

Hyperbole

Hyperbole is a figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect. Exaggerations of this type are not totalitarian pronouncements and should not be interpreted that way.

Civil discourse requires that participants treat a figure of speech as the speaker or writer intends and give the benefit of the doubt as needed. People often exaggerate for effect. These hyperboles are usually recognizable by tone of voice and/or context.

At the same time, civil discourse requires that speakers and writers use their figures of speech in a responsible manner. This is particularly true of hyperbole. Hyperbole lends itself to character assassination.

It is a totalitarian tactic to use 'hyperbole' as an excuse to ruin the reputation of others. [See Totalitarian]

Hyperbole, as a figure of speech, is easily abused. It should be used with care.

Plus Rule: People involved in discussing serious matters should avoid hyperbole.

hy·per·bo·le (hº-pûr"b…-l¶ n. A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton. Syn. exaggeration, • embellishment, • embroidery, • boasting, • inflation, • bravado, • magnification, • overstatement, • understatement (antonym) [AmHerCD 99]

Fable

Using the word, discourse, presumes an intellectual component is involved in the interaction. One does not speak of discourse between gravity and the apple on the tree--unless it is a fable. [From Chapter Two, Negotiation]

fa·ble (f³"b…l) n. 1. A usually short narrative making an edifying or cautionary point and often employing as characters animals that speak and act like human beings. 2. A story about legendary persons and exploits. 3. A falsehood; a lie. --fa·ble v. fa·bled, fa·bling, fa·bles. --tr. 1. To recount as if true. --intr. Archaic. To compose fables. [Middle English, from Old French, from Latin f³bula, from f³rº, to speak. See bh³-2 below.] --fa"bler n.[AmHerCD 99]

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