At the root of all good writing lies an understanding of how sentences are built. In kindergarten, we learn the fundamentals of grammar and the basic concepts of how sentences are constructed. For most of our elementary and secondary training in writing, we are taught simply to improve those grammatical and mechanical skills.
A good writer, however, understands the complexities and rhetorical effects of how modifying sentence structure (known as sentence “schemes”) improves the flow, interest, and even persuasive qualities of their writing. They also have a firm understanding of the many “tropes” (things like metaphors and similes and ironies) and how the inclusion of them can improve reader engagement, understanding, and overall appeal and effectiveness of their writing.
If you can master these forty basic figures of speech in the periodic table below (broken down by category within the schemes and tropes), you’ll be on your way to becoming a fantastic writer. Need some examples of each of the types of schemes and tropes? I recommend visiting this fantastic website published by Brigham Young University, which provides dozens of examples.
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