Scheme (linguistics)

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In linguistics, scheme is a figure of speech that changes the normal arrangement of words in a sentence's structure.[citation needed] A good example of a playwright who is notable for his use of schemes and tropes is William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar).

Structures of balance[edit]

  • Parallelism – The use of similar structures in two or more clauses
    • Isocolon – Use of parallel structures of the same length in successive clauses
    • Tricolon – Use of three parallel structures of the same length in independent clauses and of increasing power
  • Antithesis – The juxtaposition of opposing or contrasting ideas
  • Climax – The arrangement of words in order of increasing importance

Changes in word order[edit]

  • Anastrophe – Inversion of the usual word order
  • Parenthesis – Insertion of a clause or sentence in a place where it interrupts the natural flow of the sentence
  • Apposition – The placing of two elements side by side, in which the second defines the first


  • Ellipsis – Omission of words
  • Asyndeton – Omission of conjunctions between related clauses
  • Brachylogia – Omission of conjunctions between a series of words


  • Alliteration – A series of words that begin with the same letter or sound alike
  • Anaphora – The repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses
  • Anadiplosis – Repetition of a word at the end of a clause at the beginning of another
  • Antanaclasis – Repetition of a word in two different senses
  • Antimetabole – Repetition of words in successive clauses, in reverse order
  • Assonance – The repetition of vowel sounds, most commonly within a short passage of verse
  • Asyndeton – Lack of conjunctions
  • Chiasmus – Reversal of grammatical structures in successive clauses
  • Climax – Repetition of the scheme anadiplosis at least three times, with the elements arranged in an order of increasing importance
  • Epanalepsis – Repetition of the initial word or words of a clause or sentence at the end of the clause or sentence
  • Epistrophe – The counterpart of anaphora
  • Consonance – The repetition of consonant sounds without the repetition of the vowel sounds
  • Polyptoton – Repetition of words derived from the same root
  • Polysyndeton – Repetition of conjunctions
  • Symploce – Combination of anaphora and epistrophe

See also[edit]

External links[edit]