1) Hyperbole, the counterpart of understatement, deliberately exaggerates conditions for emphasis or effect.

@LadyGaga only stands up for Gay’s & Homosexuals because it helps her sell albums. Don’t let her demonic deception fool you.

Here, the writer has used the adjective demonic to purposely overstate the supposed deception of Lady Gaga.


2) Allusion, is a short, informal reference to a famous person or event:

Does Warren #Buffett really pay a lower tax rate than his secretary? FBN’s Elizabeth MacDonald sounds off.

This is a quick reference to a recent statement made by Warren Buffet


3) Alliteration is the recurrence of initial consonant sounds. The repetition can be juxtaposed (and then it is usually limited to two words)

Deceive me and I won’t be surprised.. Not a lotta loyal ppl nowadays

The author uses informal language, but the words “Lotta” and “Loyal” share initial consonant sounds.


4) Simile is a  comparison between two different things that resemble each other in at least one way. In formal prose the simile is a device both of art and explanation, comparing an unfamiliar thing to some familiar thing (an object, event, process, etc.) known to the reader

Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

A smile won’t actually bring light into a dark day, but the way one’s mood will improve will seem like light shining from the darkness.


5)Epithet is an adjective or adjective phrase appropriately qualifying a subject (noun) by naming a key or important characteristic of the subject

When will they stop using avatar to deceive young promising men…

The epithet promising is a key aspect of the young men in question, who the author insinuates have much potential.


6)Analogy compares two things, which are alike in several respects, for the purpose of explaining or clarifying some unfamiliar or difficult idea or object by showing how the idea or object is similar to some familiar one.

Don’t deceive me and act sweet the next second. It’s like stealing my money and helping me look for it.

Compares the hypocrisy of deception followed by kindness to offering help with a situation that the same person caused.


7)Asyndeton consists of omitting conjunctions between words, phrases, or clauses.

designed to DECEIVE, not real, counterfeit, to PRETEND, artificial, Fraud, plastic

The post is simply a list, without conjunctions, leaving only other parts of speech.


“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe is a tale told by Montresor.  Montresor kills his friend over an insult that remains unspecified throughout the entire piece.  Within Poe’s story, there are two counts of deception.  The first is the unknown insult Montresor suffers from his fellow nobleman Fortunato, as well as Fortunato’s murder, which Montresor himself commits.  Due to this theme, I searched Twitter for posts related to deception as well as the act of deceiving.  It seemed fitting as many of Poe’s works involve this particular form of treachery in one way or another.  The internet also lends itself to the idea of deception; countless times people have been fooled by phony pictures, false statements, and other tricks that the anonymity of the web provides its denizens.  Through Twitter, many people have found a voice that speaks with a clarity and sophistication that can rival any other medium.

One thing that the Twitter posts tended to share was an abundance of rhetorical devices such as hyperbole, simile, and analogy.  Since simile and analogy are connected, it is not a surprise to see many tweets relying on both of these.  A great many people would comment on how deception could hurt a person emotionally, which meant they needed a way to describe the pain involved.  Through these rhetorical devices, they were able to make a point that would be understandable to any readers who may not be able to grasp the concept they were referring to.  These posts were the ones I found to be truly successful in their goals.  Many of us have been using similes and analogies for years, so it is second-nature for us to liken one thing to another in order to make the concept palpable.  Other devices that were used, such as alliteration appeared to be happy accidents, that perhaps the authors were not aware of.  This doesn’t mean that the ideas were not appropriate, or that they didn’t function the way they were supposed to.  However, it does have an impact on the reading and comprehension of the ideas put forth.  In fact, many of the tweets having to deal with deception were sophisticated and complex.  Limiting an entry to 140 characters or less does not always hinder the possibility of a deep, meaningful exchange of thoughts.

Twitter, along with many new technologies that aid communication, forces people to put their thoughts down in a concise manner.  This does not mean that one has to sacrifice complexity or sophistication.  In fact, it proves to be a sort of training ground that requires even more thought in order to achieve the success of the communication of ideas.  Without technologies such as Twitter, one might even say that human beings could fail to push ourselves further.  If we believe that we have reached and fulfilled our potential as a species, then we would cease to test boundaries and grow as intelligent beings.  Not everything posted on the internet is a wonderfully thought out social commentary, but it certainly allows for the possibility.  The use of a varied number of rhetorical devices on something as seemingly simple as Twitter speaks volumes.  The way the authors or Tweeters used these devices to communicate eloquently is something truly special.

One Response to “Glossary of Terms”

  1.   Kevin L. Ferguson said:

    Hi Chris,

    Good examples of literary terms (although after last class I’d bet you would revise “simile” to a different term). I also am starting to wonder more about what functional difference there is between analogy and simile. Your analogy example is also simile, but I don’t think that means that all similes are analogies. What’s the difference–the “clarification” thing?

    The question of “happy accidents” is interesting to me–I like what you say about how analogy or metaphor have become second nature. I wonder if Twitter will make some of the other literary techniques more likely to become second nature too? Like–you would expect asyndeton to become more frequent when people have to count letters. How utopian would you say you are about this–will Twitter actually be one of the things that pushes us to more carefully analyze how we communicate?

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