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Hypallage

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Hypallage

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Hypallage is the reversal of the syntactic relationship of two words.

Example

He danced the happy road home. (he is happy, not the road)

Male entrance. (the entrance does not have gender)

A careless remark left her crying in the dark. (the remark is not careless -- the person who said it was)

Discussion

It is surprising how jumbled you can make a sentence and the meaning still appear. Reversals and rearrangements like this cause us to pause to work out the real meaning, although this is usually not difficult.

Hypallage often creates a metaphor, such as the 'happy road' that can add depth to the meaning, such as the implication that as the person is happy then everything else, even the inanimate road, is infected by his or her happiness.

A common form of hypellage is the transferred epithet, where a modifier (typically an adjective) is applied to the 'wrong' word in the sentence. This is a common mode in poetry and literature.

Classification: Reversal, Rearrangement, Grammar

See also

Metaphor

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