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Syntactical expressive means and stylistic


Essential Terms:

inversion - the reversal of the normal order of words in a sentence, for the sake of emphasis (in prose) or for the sake of the metre (in poetry): Dark they were and golden-eyed. (Bradbury)

The stylistic inversion has the following patterns:

1) the object is placed at the beginning of the sentence (before the subject);

2) the attribute is placed after the word it modifies;

3) the predicative is placed before the subject;

4) the predicative is placed before the link-verb and both are placed before the subject;

5) the adverbial modifier is placed at the beginning of the sentence.

6) both the adverbial modifier and the predicate are placed before the subject.

DETACHED CONSTRUCTION (detachment) - One of the secondary parts of the sentence is detached from the word it refers to and is made to seem independent of this word. Such parts are called detached and marked off by brackets, dashes or commas or even by full stops or exclamation marks: "I have to beg you for money! Daily!"

parallel construction (or SYNTACTIC PARALLELISM) - a figure based on the use of the similar syntactic pattern in two or more sentences or syntagms:

1) When the lamp is shattered

The light in the dust lies dead –

When the cloud is scattered

The rainbow's glory is shed.

When the lute is broken.

Sweet tones are remembered not;

When the lips have spoken,

Loved accents are soon forgot.

(P.B. Shelley)

2) I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came into me (St. Matthew).

chiasmus (reversed parallel constructions) - a figure of speech based on the repetition of a syntactical pattern with a reverse word-order (see: SYNTACTIC PARALLELISM):

1) Let the long contention cease:
Geese are swans, and swans are geese.

(M. Arnold)

2) Beauty is truth, truth beauty t - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.


3) But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first (St. Matthew).

I. Speak on the following: Compositional patterns of syntactical arrangement:

1) inversion;

2) detachment;

3) parallel constructions;

4) reversed parallel constructions (chaismus).


II. In your books of either home reading or individual reading find the above mentioned expressive means and stylistic devices and comment upon their structure and stylistic function.

III. Do the following exercises:

Exercise III. Find and analyse cases of detachment, suspense and inversion. Comment on the structure and functions of each:


1. She narrowed her eyes a trifle at me and said I looked exactly like Celia Briganza's boy. Around the mouth. (S.)

2. She was crazy about you. In the beginning. (R. W.)

3. Of all my old association, of all my old pursuits and hopes of all the living and the dead world, this one poor soul alone comes natural to me. (D.)

4. On, on he wandered, night and day, beneath the blazing sun, and the cold pale moon; through the dry heat of noon, and the damp cold of night; in the grey light of morn and the red glare of eve. (D.)

5. Benny Collan, а respected guy, Benny Collan wants to marry her. An agent could ask for more? (T. C.)

6. Women are not made for attack. Wait they must. (J. C.)

7. Out came the chase - in went the horses - on sprang - the boys - in got the travellers. (D.)

8. Then he said: "You think it's so? She was mixed up in this lousy business? (J. B.)

9. And she saw that Gopher Prairie was merely an enlargement of all the hamlets which they had been passing. Only to the eyes of a Kennicot was it exceptional. (S. L.)

Reference list:

Galperin I. R. Stylistics. - Part V (A), p.p. 191-]93, 202-225.

Арнольд И. В. Стилистика. Глава IV, с. 160-169; 182-187.

Kukharenko V. A. A Book of Practice in Stylistics. - p.p. 66-67; 76-77.

Syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices: COMPOSITIONAL PATTERNS OF SYNTACTICAL ARRANGEMENT

Essential Terms:

repetition is based upon a repeated occurrence of one and the same word-group. And a great desire for peace, peace of no matter what kind, swept through her. (A.B.) Depending upon the position a repeated unit occupies in the utterance there are several types of repetition:

anaphora – the beginning of some successive sentences, syntagms, lines, etc. (with the same sounds, morphemes, words or word-combinations) is repeated – a…, a…, a…. The main stylistic function of anaphora is not so much to emphasize the repeated unit as to create the background for the nonre-
peated unit, which, through its novelty, becomes foregrounded.

epiphora – repetition of the final word or word-group especially in poetry when some stanzas end with the same line – …a, …a, …a. The main function of epiphora is to add stress to the final words of the sentence.

anadiplosis (catch repetition) -- a figure which consists in the repetition of the same word at the end of one and at the beginning of the following sense-groups (or lines). Thus the two or more parts are linked …a, a…. Specification of the semantics occurs here too, but on a more modest level.


CHAIN REPETITION – a string of several successive anadiplosis: …a, a…b, b…c, c…. It smoothly develops logical reasoning.

framing -the beginning of the sentence is repeated in the end, thus forming the "frame" for the non-repeated part of the sentence (utterance) – a… a. The function of framing is to elucidate the notion mentioned in the beginning of the sentence. Between two appearances of the repeated unit there comes the developing middle part of the sentence which explains and clarifies what was introduced in the beginning, so that by the time it is used for the second time its semantics is concretized and specified.


successive repetition is a string of closely following each other reiterated units - … a, a, a …. This is the most emphatic type of repetition which signifies the peak of emotions of the speaker.

Ordinary repetition emphasizes both the logical and the
emotional meanings of the reiterated word (phrase). In this type of repetition the repeated element has no definite place in the sentence or utterance.

prolepsis (syntactic tautology) – a figure of syntactic anticipation, the use of words not applicable till a later time. In prolepsis the noun subject is repeated in the form of a corresponding personal pronoun. Miss Tilly Webster, she slept forty days and nights without waking up. (O. H.)

SUSPENsE (retardation) is a deliberate delay in the completion of the expressed thought. What has been delayed is the main task of the utterance, and the reader awaits the completion of the utterance with an everincreasing tension. A suspence is achieved by a repeated occurrence of phrases or clauses expressing condition, supposition, time and the like, all of which hold back the conclusion of the utterance: Mankind, says a Chinese manuscript, which my friend was obliging enough to read and explain to me, for the firsteventy thousand ages ate their meatraw. ” (Ch. L)


CLIMAX (gradation) is a figure based upon such an arrangement of parts of an utterance which secures a gradual increase in semantic significance or emotional tension: I don’t attach any value to money, I don’t care about it, I don’t know about it, I don’t want it, I don’t keep it, it goes away from me directly.

The increase in significance may be: logical, emotional or quantitative.

Logical – the relative importance of the components is looked from the point of view of the concepts embodied in them. Every successive word or word-combination in logical climax is semantically more important than the previous one.

Emotive climax is based on the relative emotive meaning. It is mainly found in one sentence as emotive charge cannot hold long. It is usually based on repetition of the semantic centre, usually expressed by an adjective or adverb and the introduction of an intensifier between the repeated items.

Quantitative is an evident increase in the volume of the corresponding concepts: numerical increase, concepts of measure and time.


ANTICLIMAX is the reverse of climax. It is the descent from the sublime to the ridiculous. In this figure of speech emotive or logical importance accumulates only to be unexpectedly broken and brought down. The sudden reversal usually brings forth a humorous or ironic effect. Many paradoxes are based on anticlimax:

America is the Paradise for women. That is why, like Eve, they are so extremely anxious to get out of it!

antithesis (a variant of Syntactic Parallelism) - a figure of speech based on parallel constructions with contrasted words (usually antonyms):

1) Yet each man kills the thing he loves,

By each let this be heard,

Some do it with a bitter look,

Some with a flattering word,

The coward does it with a kiss,

The brave man with a sword!


2) God made the country, and man made the town (Cowper).

nonsense of non-sequence rests on the extension of syntactical valency and results in joining two semantically disconnected clauses into one sentence, as in: " Emperor Nero played the fiddle, so they burnt Rome." (E.) Two disconnected statements are forcibly linked together by cause / effect relations.

I. Speak on the following: Compositional pattern of syntactical arrangement:

5) repetition;

6) prolepsis (syntactic tautology);

7) suspense;

8) climax / anticlimax;

9) antithesis;

10) nonsense of non-sequence.


II. In your books of either home reading or individual reading find the above mentioned expressive means and stylistic devices and comment upon their structure and stylistic function.

III. Do the following exercises:

Exercise I. From the following examples you will get a better idea of the functions of various types of repetition, and also of parallelism and chiasmus:


1. I wake up and I'm alone and I walk round Warley and I'm alone; and I talk with people and I'm alone and I look at his face when I'm home and it's dead. (J. Br.)

2. I might as well face facts: good-bye, Susan, good-bye a big car, good-bye a big house, good-bye power, good-bye the silly handsome dreams. (J.Br.)

3. I really don't see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal. (O. W.)

4. I wanted to knock over the table and hit him until my arm had no more strength in it, then give him the boot, give him the boot, give him the boot - I drew a deep breath. (J. Br.)

5. On her father's being groundlessly suspected, she felt sure. Sure. Sure. (D.)

6. Now he understood. He understood many things. One can be a person first. A man first and then a black man or a white man. (P. A.)

7. Obviously-this is a streptococcal infection. Obviously. (W.D.)

8. And everywhere were people-People going into gates and coming out of gates. People staggering and falling. People fighting and cursing. (P. A.)

9. Then there was something between them. There was..
There was. (Dr.)

10. Living is the art of loving.
Loving is the art of caring.
Caring is the art of sharing.
Sharing is the art of living. (W. H. D.)

11. I notice that father's is a large hand, but never a heavy one when it touches me, and that father is a rough voice but never an angry one when it speaks to me. (D.)


Exercise II. Discuss the semantic centres and structural peculiarities of antithesis:


1. Mrs. Nork had a large home and a small husband. (S. L.)

2. I like big parties. They're so intimate. At small parties there isn't any privacy. (Sc. F.)

3. There is Mr. Guppy, who was at first as open as the sun at noon, but who suddenly shut up as close as midnight. (D.)

4. His coat-sleeves being a great deal too long, and his trousers a great deal too short, he appeared ill at ease in his clothes. (D.)

5. It is safer to be married to the man you can be happy with than to the man you cannot be happy without. (E.)

6. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair;

we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way-in short the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. (D.)


Exercise III. Indicate the type of climax. Pay attention to its structure and the semantics of its components:


1. He saw clearly that the best thing was a cover story or camouflage. As he wondered and wondered what to do, he first rejected a stop as impossible, then as improbable, then as quite dreadful. (W. G.)

2."Is it "shark?" said Brody. The possibility that he at last was going to confront the fish-the beast, the monster, the nightmare-made Brody's heart pound. (P. B.)

3. We were all in all to one another, it was the morning of life, it was bliss, it was frenzy, it was everything else of that sort in the highest degree. (D.)

4. "I shall be sorry, I shall be truly sorry to leave you, my friend." (D.)

5. After so many kisses and promises-the lie given to her dreams, her words, the lie given to kisses, hours, days, weeks, months of unspeakable bliss. (Dr.)

6. In marriage the upkeep of woman is often the downfall of man. (Ev.)

7. Women have a wonderful instinct about things. They can discover everything except the obvious. (O. W.)

Reference list:

Galperin I. R. Stylistics. - Part V (A), p.p. 191-193,202-225.

Арнольд И. В. Стилистика. Глава IV, с. 160-169; 182-187.

Kukharenko V. A. A Book of Practice in Stylistics. - p.p. 72-73; 84-85; 86-87.

Syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices: PARTICULAR WAYS OF COMBINING PARTS OF THE UTTERANCE

Essential Terms:

ASYNDETON – a deliberate avoidance of connectives where they are expected to be: The audience rolled about in their chairs; they held their sides, they groaned in an agony of laughter.


POLYSYNDETON is an insistent repetition of a connective between words, phrases or clauses of an utterance:

“They were all three from Milan and one of them was to be a lawyer, and one was to be a painter, and one had intended to be a soldier, and after we were finished with the machines, sometimes we walked back together. (H.)

attachment (the gap-sentence link) is mainly to be found in various representations of the voice of the personage – dialogue, reported speech, entrusted narrative. In the attachment the second part of the utterance is separated from the first one by a full stop though their semantic and grammatical ties remain very strong. The second part appears as an after­thought and is often connected with the beginning of the utterance with the help of a conjunction which brings the latter into the foregrounded opening position: "It wasn't his fault. It was yours. And mine. I now humbly beg you to give me the money with which to buy meals for you to eat. And hereafter do remember it: the next time I shan't beg. I shall simply starve." (S. L.); "Prison is where she belongs. And my husband agrees one thousand per cent." (T. C.)

apokoinu constructions – Here the omission of the pronominal (adverbial) connective creates a blend of the main and the subordinate clauses so that the predicative or the object of the first one is simultaneously used as the subject of the second one: He was the man killed that deer. (R.W.)


ELLIPSIS is absence of one or both principal parts (the subject, the predicate in the sentence). The missing parts are either present in the syntactic environment of the sentence (verbal context), or they are implied by the situation. In any case these parts are easily restored from the context:

- Where is the man I’m going to speak to?

- Out in the garden.

APOSIOPESIS (BREAK-IN-THE-NARRATIVE)– This term which in Greek means ‘silence’ denotes intentional abstention from continuing the utterance to the end. The speaker (writer) either begins a new utterance or stops altogether: “These people talked to me like this because they don’t know who I am. If only they knew – “ (M. T.)


QUESTION-IN-THE-NARRATIVE (RATIOCINATIVE QUESTION) – a figure in the form of a question which a speaker often asks and often answers himself: “For what is left the poet there?

For Greeks a blush – for Greece a tear.” (G. B.)


RHETORICAL QUESTION – a figure of speech based on a statement expressed in an interrogative form, which requires no answer on the part of the reader or speaker: “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?” (Dav.)


REPRESENTED SPEECH is the representation of the actual utterance by a second person, usually by the author, as if it had been spoken, whereas it had not been spoken, but is only represented in the author’s words:

1. “Could he bring a reference from where he now was? He could.” (Dr.)

2. “An idea had occurred to Soames. His cousin Jolyon was Irene’s trustee, the first step would be to go down and see him at Robin Hill. Robin Hill!” (G.)

Represented speech exists in 2 varieties: uttered represented speech (1) and unuttered or inner represented speech (2).


LITOTES (A VARIANT OF PERIPHRASIS)– a figure of speech which consists in the affirmation of the contrary by negation: “The wedding was no distant event.” (Au.)

I. Speak on the following: 1.1. Particular ways of combining parts of the utterance (Types of connection):

1) asyndeton;

2) polysyndeton;

3) attachment(the gap-sentence link);

4) apokoinu constructions

1.2. Particular use of colloquial constructions:

1) ellipsis

2) aposiopesis (break-in-the-narrative)

3) question-in-the-narrative

4) rhetorical question

5) represented speech

1.3. Stylistic use of the structural meaning:

1) litotes

II. In your books of either home reading or individual reading find the above mentioned expressive means and stylistic devices and comment upon their structure and stylistic function.

III. Do the following exercises:

Exercise I. Discuss different types of stylistic devices dealing with the completeness of the sentence:

1. In manner, close and dry. In voice, husky and low. In face, watchful behind a blind. (D.).

2. Malay Camp. A row of streets crossing another row of streets. Mostly narrow streets. Mostly dirty streets. Mostly dark streets. (P. A.)

3. His forehead was narrow, his face wide, his head large, and his nose all on one side. (D.)

4. A solemn silence: Mr. Pickwick humorous, the old lady, the fat gentleman cautious and Mr. Miller timorous. (D.)

5. She merely looked at him weakly. The wonder of him! The beauty of love! Her desire toward him! (Dr.)

6. Ever since he was a young man, the hard life on Earth, the panic of 2130, the starvation, chaos, riot, want. Then bucking through the planets, the womanless, loveless years, the alone years. (R. Br.)

7. I’m a horse doctor, animal man. Do some farming, too. Near Tulip, Texas. (Т. С.)

8. A black February day. Clouds hewn of ponderous timber weighing down on the earth: an irresolute dropping of snow specks upon the trampled wastes. Gloom but no veiling of angularity. The second day of Kennicott's absence. (S. L.)

9. And we got down at the bridge. White cloudy sky, with mother-of-pearl veins. Pearl rays shooting through, green and blue-white. River roughed by a breeze. White as a new file in the distance. Fish-white streak on the smooth pin-silver upstream. Shooting new pins. (J. C.)

10. This is a story how a Baggins had an adventure. He may have lost the neighbours' respect, but he gained- well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end. (A. T.)

11. "People liked to be with her. And-" She paused again, "-and she was crazy about you." (R. W.)

12. What I had seen of Patti didn't really contradict Kitty's view of her: a girl who means well, but. (D. U.)

13. "He was shouting out that he'd come back, that his mother had better have the money ready for him. Or else! That is what he said: 'Or else!' It was a threat." (Ch.)

14. "Listen, I'll talk to the butler over that phone and
he'll know my voice. Will that pass me in or do I have
to ride on your back?"

"I just work here," he said softly. "If I didn't-" he let, the rest hang in the air, and kept on smiling. (R. Ch.)

15. I told her, "You've always acted the free woman, you've never let any thing stop you from-" (He checks himself, goes on hurriedly). "That made her sore." (J. O'H.)

16. "Well, they'll get a chance now to show-" (hastily):
"I don't mean-But let's forget that." (O'N.)

17. And it was unlikely that anyone would trouble to look there-until-until-well. (Dr.)

18. There was no breeze came through the door. (H.)

19. I love Nevada. Why, they don't even have mealtimes here. I never met so many people didn't own a watch. (A. M.)

20. Go down to Lord and Taylors or someplace and get yourself something real nice to impress the boy invited you. (J. K.)

21. There was a whisper in my family that it was love drove him out and not love of the wife he married. (J. St.)

Exercise II. Specify stylistic functions of the types of connection given below:

1. "What sort of a place is Dufton exactly?"

"A lot of mills. And a chemical factory. And a Grammar school and a war memorial and a river that runs different colours each day. And a cinema and fourteen pubs. That's really all one can say about it." (J. Вr.)

2. Then from the town pour Wops and Chinamen and Polaks, men and women in trousers and rubber coats and oilcloth aprons. They come running to clean and cut and pack and cook and can the fish. The whole street rumbles and groans and screams and rattles while the silver rivers of fish pour in and out of the boats and the boats rise higher and higher in the water until they are empty. The canneries rumble and rattle and squeak until the last fish is cleaned and cut and cooked and canned and then the whistles scream again and the dripping smelly tired Wops and Chinamen and Polaks, men and women struggle out and droop their ways up the hill into the town and Cannery Row becomes itself again-quiet and magical. (J. St.)

3. By the time he had got all the bottles and dishes and knives and forks and glasses and plates and spoons and things piled up on big trays, he was getting very hot, and red in the face, and annoyed. (A. T.)

4. Bella soaped his face and rubbed his face, and soaped his hands and rubbed his hands, and splashed him, and rinsed him, and towelled him, until he was as red as beetroot. (D.)

5. Secretly, after the nightfall, he visited the home of the Prime Minister. He examined it from top to bottom. He measured all the doors and windows. He took up the flooring. He inspected the plumbing. He examined the furniture. He found nothing. (L.)

6. With these hurried words Mr. Bob Sawyer pushed the postboy on one side, jerked his friend into the vehicle, slammed the door, put up the steps, wafered the bill on the street-door, locked it, put the key into his pocket, jumped into the dickey, gave the word for starting. (D.)

7."Well, guess it's about time to turn in." He yawned, went out to look at the thermometer, slammed the door, patted her head, unbuttoned his waistcoat, yawned, wound the clock, went to look at the furnace, yawned and clumped upstairs to bed, casually scratching his thick woolen un­dershirt. (S. L.)

8. "Give me an example," I said quietly. "Of something that means something. In your opinion." (T. C.)

9. "I got a small apartment over the place. And, well, sometimes I stay over. In the apartment. Like the last few nights." (D. U.)

10. "He is a very deliberate, careful guy and we trust each other completely. With a few reservations." (D. U.)


Each style of the literary language makes use of a group of language means the interrelation of which is peculiar to the given style. It is the coordination of the language means and stylistic devices that shapes the distinctive features of each style, and not the language means or stylistic devices themselves. Each style can be recognized by one or more leading features, which are especially conspicuous. For instance, the use of special terminology is a lexical characteristic of the style of scientific prose, and one by which it can easily be recognized.

A functional style can be defined as a system of coordinated, interrelated and interconditioned language means intended to fulfill a specific function of communication and aiming at a definite effect.

Typology of Functional Styles:


Style Form Domain Function Character
Official Written Affairs Information Logical
Scientific Written Science Information Logical
Publicistic Written and oral Human life Persuasion Logical + emotional
Newspaper Written Everyday life information Logical
fiction Written Art Aesthetic influence emotional


The English language has evolved a number of functional styles easily distinguishable one from another. They are not homogeneous and fall into several variants all having some central point of resemblance. Thus, I. R.Galperin distinguishes five classes:



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