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Figaro rips the innards out of things people say and reveals the rhetorical tricks and pratfalls. For terms and definitions, click here.
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    Change, Swap and Invent

    Figures that shift grammar or tense, change one thing for another, self-interrupt, or invent new words.

     If you’d like your language with a twist, here are the most fruitful figures.


    anacoluthon (an-a-COL-u-thon)
    The grammar shift.

    anastrophe (ann-ASS-tro- fee)
    The poetic word-order switch.
    Also see this.

    anthimeria (an-thih-MARE-ee-uh)
    The verbing figure.

    anthypallage (an-thigh-PAL-uh-gee)
    The "I’m there" figure. Ancient rhetoricians said it changed a case to make a point; Figaro uses it to change a tense.

    antistasis (an-TIH-sta-sis)
    The repeat that reverses a word’s meaning.
    Also see this.

    hysteron proteron
    The word-order swap.

    idiom (ID-ee-om)
    The figure of inseparable words.

    meiosis (mie-OH-sis)
    The shrinking figure.
    Also see this.

    metallage (meh-TAL-ah-gee)
    The “Don’t give me ‘why’” figure

    metanoia (met-ah-NOY-a)
    The self-correcting figure.

    metonymy (meh-TON-ih-mee)
    The figure of swap.

    neologism (NEE-oh-loh-gism)
    The newly minted word.

    parelcon (pa-REL-con)
    The "like" figure.

    periphrasis (per-IF-ra-sis)
    The figure that swaps a descriptive phrase for a proper name, or vice versa.
    Also see this.

    ploce (PLO-see)
    The braided figure.  It repeats a word with another word or two in between, usually with a different connotation.

    polyptoton (po-LIP-to-ton)
    The root repeater.

    synecdoche (sin-ECK-doe-kee)
    The scale-changing figure.

    traductio (trah-DOOK-tio)
    A repetition that modifies a word.

    yogiism (YOGEE-ism)
    The idiot savant figure, named after the immortal Yogi Berra. (Also spelled yogism.)