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English Stylistics Class 2013. Syntactical Stylistic devices


Inversion/Change of Word Order aims at making one of the members of the sentence more conspicuous, more important, more emphatic.
Talent Mr.Micawber has; capital Mr.Micawber has not.’
Came frightful days of snow and rain.


Repetition is used when the speaker is under the stress of strong emotions. It shows the state of mind of the speaker.
‘Stop!’-she cried. ‘Don’t tell me! I don’t want to hear; I don’t want to hear what you’ve come for. I don’t want to hear.’
The repetition ‘I don’t want to hear’ shows the excited state of mind of the speaker. Repetition aims at fixing the attention of the reader on the key-word of the utterance.


Climax/Gradation is the arrangement of sentences which secures a gradual increase in significance, importance or emotional tension in the utterance. The gradual increase in significance may be maintained in three ways: logical, emotional and quantitative. Emotional climax is mainly found in sentences. 
It was a lovely city, a beautiful city, a fair city, a veritable gem of a city.
Quantitative climax is an evident increase in the volume of the concepts:
They looked at hundreds of houses, they climbed thousands of stairs, they inspected innumerable kitchens.
The function of this stylistic device is to show the relative importance of the things as seen by the author.


Antithesis has the basic function of rhyme-forming because of the parallel arrangement on which it is founded.
Crabbed age and youth 
Cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasance,
Age is full of care…

The Gap-Sentence Link

The Gap-Sentence Link (GSL) is a peculiar type of connection of sentences in which the connection is not immediately seen and it requires an effort to grasp the interrelation between the parts of the utterance.
She and that fellow ought to be the sufferers, and they are in Italy.(It means-Those who ought to be the sufferers are enjoying themselves in Italy where well-to-do English people go for holiday.)
The Gap-Sentence Link is generally indicated by and or but. The functions of GSL are the following: 
1) it signals the introduction of inner represented speech;
2) it indicates a subjective evaluation of the facts;
3) it displays an unexpected coupling of ideas.
The Gap-Sentence Link aims at stirring up in the reader’s mind the suppositions, associations and conditions under which the sentence can exist.


Ellipsis refers to any omitted part of speech that is understood, i.e. the omission is intentional. In writing and printing this intentional omission is indicated by the row of three dots (…) or asterisks (***).
Ellipsis always imitates the common features of colloquial language. This punctuation mark is called a suspension point or dot-dot-dot.

Aposiopesis/Break –in-the-narrative

Good intentions but-; You just come home or I’ll…


Litotes is a peculiar use of negative construction: the negation plus noun or adjective establish a positive feature in a person or thing. It is a deliberate understatement used to produce a stylistic effect.Litotes is not a pure negation, but a negation that includes affirmation. 
It is not bad.-(Is a good thing)
He is no coward.-(He is a brave man)

Such negative constructions have a stronger effect on the reader than affirmative ones.
She was not without taste.
The constructions with two negations: not unlike, not unpromising, not displeased make positive phrases. 

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