Mental Floss

How Well Do You Remember Literary Devices from High School English Class?

SolStock/Getty Images (classroom scene); ahmad agung wijayanto/Shutterstock (question marks)

1. “ … government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln’s repetition of ‘the people’ is an example of:

A) Epistrophe
B) Spoonerism
C) Synecdoche
D) Cacophony

2. “The official word from the White House is that Champ and Major are both very good boys.” Using ‘White House’ to represent the president’s administration is an example of:

A) Anagram
B) Simile
C) Epithet
D) Metonymy

3. “Let me tell you ’bout the birds and the bees / And the flowers and the trees / And the moon up above / And a thing called ‘love.’” Jewel Akens’s use of ‘and’ is an example of:

A) Hyperbaton
B) Consonance
C) Malapropism
D) Polysyndeton

4. “My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.” When Forrest Gump compared life to a box of chocolates, he was using:

A) Allegory
B) Analogy
C) Simile
D) Metaphor

5. “Having a lion around might not be such a bad idea.” Timon’s use of ‘might not be such a bad idea’ to mean ‘might be a good idea’ is an example of:

A) Euphemism
B) Litotes
C) Denotation
D) Juxtaposition

6. The film titles ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ (1999) and ‘True Lies’ (1994) are both examples of:

A) Aphorism
B) Portmanteau
C) Periphrasis
D) Oxymoron

7. “Oh, so lovely sittin' abso-bloomin'-lutely still / I would never budge ’til spring / Crept over me window sill.” Eliza Doolittle’s insertion of ‘bloomin’’ in 'absolutely' is an example of:

A) Circumlocution
B) Assonance
C) Tmesis
D) Idiom

8. “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers - / That perches in the soul - / And sings the tune without the words - / And never stops - at all - .” When Emily Dickinson described hope as a bird, she was using:

A) Zoomorphism
B) Anthropomorphism
C) Euphony
D) Onomatopoeia

9. “You know I’d walk 1000 miles / If I could just see you tonight.” Vanessa Carlton’s unrealistically long trek is an example of:

A) Chiasmus
B) Simile
C) Hyperbole
D) Oxymoron

10. “Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore.” The repetitious S’s in this classic tongue twister are an example of:

A) Epistrophe
B) Alliteration
C) Oxymoron
D) Polysyndeton

11. “Judge me by my size, do you?” Yoda’s flip-flopped sentence structure is an example of:

A) Anastrophe
B) Tautology
C) Paradox
D) Motif

12. “Every breath you take / Every move you make / Every bond you break / Every step you take / I'll be watching you.” The Police’s use of ‘every’ is an example of:

A) Anaphora
B) Synecdoche
C) Alliteration
D) Malapropism

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Answers: 1:A; 2:D; 3:D; 4:C; 5:B; 6:D; 7:C; 8:A; 9:C; 10:B; 11:A; 12:A