Linguistic Devices

I have been researching linguistic devices for my grammarian role at tonight’s Toastmaster meeting.

Tonight I will particularly be looking out for the following linguistic techniques.


An alliteration is the repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of each word, or many words, in a sentence.


Imperatives are instructions or orders. Used sparingly these can have serious effect on the listener. E.g. “You must listen carefully to what I’m about to say”.


A hyperbole is the deliberate over-exaggeration of something for effect. This could be for humorous reasons or to make something more memorable through dramatic effect.


A litotes is the opposite of hyperbole. The downplaying of the importance of something for effect.

Parallelism / Patterning

Parallelism or patterning is the use of patterns through repetition or the balancing of meanings.


An allusion is a figure of speech that lets the listener paint the picture for themselves.


The use of words and phrases that imply strong, harsh sounds within the phrase. These words have jarring and dissonant sounds that create a disturbing, objectionable atmosphere.


Placing a person, concept, place, idea or theme parallel to another so they can be compared or to highlight the contrasts.

There are many more linguistic devices, many with names that I find close to impossible to pronounce. See my sources below to explore further and impress the grammarian at your next Toastmaster meeting.

If you have any good examples of the above then please comment over on Facebook or below. I will update this post with any of the good suggestions.