Apostrophe


Over the last couple of months we have been touching on different figures of speech that are helpful tools for writing lyrics.  These blog posts introduce Simile, Metaphor, Synecdoche, Anaphora & Epiphora (one of our most popular posts), Alliteration and Assonance.  Check them out, if you haven’t already.

Apostrophe is an exclamatory rhetorical figure of speech in which some absent or nonexistent person or thing is addressed as if it were present and capable of understanding.

Here are a couple of popular examples of apostrophe that you may recognnize:

  • O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?   (1 Corinthians 15:55)
  • “Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again…”   (Paul Simon, “The Sound of Silence”)

Apostrophe is related to personification, another figure of speech in which objects are represented as a person or implied to have human qualities/abilities (example: The fire roared with anger). The two can be combined, however with apostrophe, the object is actually addressed directly by the speaker or writer.

Most often, apostrophe is used as a tool to communicate extreme emotion, an example of such being Claudius’ passionate speech in Shakespeare’s  Hamlet.

Test various figures of speech in your next few lyric sessions.  See how they work for you.  You may find them to be helpful tools.

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