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Figures of Speech —
Metonymy and Synecdoche


Metonymy and SynecdocheMetonymy is a common and useful figure of speech because it directs attention to some one important detail. It is picturesque. Sometimes you can use it to soften what would otherwise be too harsh. This figure of speech is economical, for it lets you use one word where you would need several words to create a meaning.

EX.— The kettle boils (that is, the water in the kettle boils).

EX.— He chose a gun instead of a cap and gown (that is, he became a soldier instead of a student).
EX.— Have you read Shakespeare (that is, his works)?
EX.— Only the knife (that is, a surgical operation) can save him.
EX.— He addressed the chair (that is, the presiding officer).

Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which you name a part for a whole, or a whole for a part.

EX.— The speaker beheld a sea of faces.
EX.— The world knows his worth.
EX.— He won her hand in marriage.
EX.— We have coffee at six o'clock.
EX.— Give us this day our daily bread.

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