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Enallage

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Enallage

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Ennelage is the substitution of one grammatical form for another.

Example

They is happy. (vs. they are happy)

Look at you! She who is beautiful. (vs. you are beautiful)

It was done by myself. (vs. I did it)

We was robbed! (vs. We were, or I was)

Discussion

Enallage may well be accidental and a result of the speaker having a limited grasp of the language. It may also be done as a deliberate ploy to make a point or have a particular effect, directing attention differently.

Changing pronouns, for example, changes the relationship with another person. Changing 'you' to 'she' distances the the other person, putting them the world at large where everyone sees them, as opposed to the 'you' of an intimate conversation. The reverse is also true and talking about another person as 'you' makes the relationship personal.

Switching between active and passive voice changes meaning. 'I did it' is a clear admission of responsibility, whilst 'It was done by myself' distances the speaker from the act.

Enallage is the Greek word for 'interchange').

Classification: Substitution, Distortion

See also

Attention principle

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