Purposeful Arrangement of Words

Photo of students working together on an essay.

You may also revise your essays by using tropes, which add variety through words or ideas expressed in an unexpected way. The first trope you might consider is a metaphor, which is based on a comparison of two seemingly unlike things.

Open the link “Using Metaphors and Similes to Enrich Our Writing (Part 2)” by Richard Nordquist who is an expert in grammar. Look at John Updike’s simile and Christopher Isherwood’s extended metaphor to get an idea of how professional writers use tropes.

Nordquist provides examples of a simile from an early draft of an essay and advises you to add more details as you revise so that the comparison will be more precise.

Complete “Practice Using Similes and Metaphors.” Compare your response to the first sentence with the sample comparisons at the end of the exercise.

Again, a metaphor is a trope based on comparison. See examples of other tropes below.

Tropes based on word play are designed to entertain readers through the sounds and meanings of words, as in Tom Swifties: “The luggage is stored at the back of the ship,” Tom said sternly. “Stern” is a term that refers to the back of the ship!

Here are some examples of the most common word-play tropes:

Tropes based on overstatement or understatement

Tropes involving the management of meaning