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English Stylistics Class 2014. Week 6


Last week we talked about SDs, which have a comic effect. They are pun, zeugma, malapropism and irony.

Now I want to give a review of an explanation of these SDs with examples and one task for your mind.))

So, the first SD is pun.

Pun, also called paronomasia, is a play on words in which a humorous effect is produced by using a word that suggests two or more meanings or by exploiting similar sounding words having different meanings.

E.g.: A salt with a deadly weapon = Assault with a deadly weapon!

I phone, you tube = IPhone, YouTube.

The second SD is zeugma. Zeugma is a literary term for using one word to modify two other words, in two different ways.

An example of a zeugma is “She broke his car and his heart.” http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/zeugma


The third SD is irony. Irony is a figure of speech in which an expression means something the opposite of or very contrary to its literal meaning.

Examples of irony:

1) One of the identical twins says to the other, "You're ugly!"

2) Marriage is the leading cause of divorce.

3) The White House isn't white.

4)The police station was robbed.


And the last SD is malapropism. Malapropism is a grotesque misuse of words, a substitution of one word for another based on a blunder. Malapropism creates a funny change of meaning.

Examples of malapropism:

1) Having one wife is called monotony. (monogamy)

2) Unfortunately, my affluence over my niece is very small. (influence)

3) Good punctuation means not to be late. (punctuality)


I hope my examples were understood. Now, as I also promised, the task)

Match examples 1-4 with SDs A-D.

1. He lost his coat and his temper.

2. The name of Britain’s biggest dog was “Tiny”.

3. Without geometry, life is pointless.

4. I remember because I have photogenic memory.


A. Pun

B. Zeugma

C. Irony

D. Malapropism


Good luck, girls!))

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