Litotes

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"There is no 'literary' device - metonymy, synecdoche, litotes, chiasmus and so on - which is not quite intensively used in daily discourse." (Eagleton 6).

Although Angela and I share the same sentence, we're not sharing the same word (and my blog lacks a Steelers example).

I chose to define "litotes" because I have come across this word more than once when reading and I never looked it up. According to Hamilton, litotes "is a figure of thought in which a point is affirmed by negating its opposite; the surface denial serves through ironic contrast" (57).

An example is "The door is not open" which could as be stated as "The door is closed". It is simply a statement that could be stated with or with out a negation yet have the same meaning (the wording will change in order to keep the same meaning).

Go back and see what other words were defined.

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~Depth~       Here are a few blogs that are a little longer and had a little more work than usual put into them. Some of them are explanations, many are questions and thoughts that I had on a particular work... Read More

2 Comments

Erica Gearhart said:

Katie, your explanation really helped me. When I read Hamilton's definition, I was slightly confused by it. I actually defined it on my blog as well. While I looked for an example of litotes in Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" since that was our focus text this week, I could not find one. However, I now see that there are a few, such as "...thou hast not thy bliss..." in line 19 and "...not a soul to tell..." in line 39. Thanks for the help!

Jenna said:

Katie, I like your examples of litotes. It almost seems like a waste of breath to say the negation; however, I know that I frequently say them. If you plan on taking the English secondary Praxis test, the words in this book are helpful to get some questions answered. I picked the same quote that you did, but I wrote about chiasmus.

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