General and Specific Words, Abstract and Concrete, Denotation and Conotation and Figures of Speech

Our understanding of words plays a big role in how we use them. It could most likely help us choose which words are appropriate to use with them (singular, plural, pronoun usage, among others). Thus, it is a must to know the basic categories that words may fall under in order for us to know how to use them properly.

General and Specific Words

General Words are words that name a group or a category of a set of things, people, idea, and the likes. These terms are usually used when you want to discuss an idea as a whole. Examples of general words include: furniture, money, equipment, seasoning and shoes.

Specific Words are words that, through the use of modifiers, name a specific idea, thing, person and the likes. These kinds of words are used when you want to limit your discussion to a particular idea. Examples of these words would include rocking chair, dollar, gym equipment, pepper and high-heeled shoes. The degree on how you can be specific on certain terms usually varies. Like, for example, gym equipment. Although it is already specified on what kind of equipment it is, you can still be more specific and make use of a term that names a certain kind of gym equipment.

Concrete and Abstract Words

Concrete words are words that are tangible. Although it may seem easy to point out what things are tangible and what are not, some people would still find it difficult and confusing. You just have to limit concrete words to words that refer to nouns that can be perceived by the senses. Those that can touch, smell, see, hear, taste, and feel by your senses.

Abstract words on the other hand and in opposition to concrete words, are words that can’t be perceived by the senses. Words that you can’t touch, smell, hear, taste and feel by your sense.

Denotation and Connotation

Denotation is the literal meaning of a word. It is the definition that one could get from dictionaries. Thus, for example, when we say poor, its denotation could be “a state of having little or no money.”

Connotation is the association that a word has in reference to other ideas. Poor, with its connotative meaning, could be used to refer to people who do not do excel in their field. If you notice, connotations are also derived from the denotative meaning of words.

Figures of Speech

  • Simile – making use of another word to describe something using “like” and “as”
  • Metaphor – direct comparison between two ideas
  • Personification – describing inanimate objects and animals using actions and descriptions used for people
  • Irony  – a clash between appearance and reality, between seems and is, or between ought and is
    • verbal irony – saying something, contrary to what it means
    • Blouse Shirt Sleeve Tie Back Women V Casual Neck Striped Long dramatic irony – saying or doing something while unaware of its ironic contrast to the whole truth
    • situational irony – events turn to the opposite of what is expected and what should be
  • Hyperbole – a way of overstating things
  • Understatement – a way of understating things
  • Back V Tie Striped Neck Women Sleeve Blouse Casual Long Shirt Paradox – when a sentence contains contradictory elements in it but after careful consideration would turn out to be logically true
  • Pun – making use of two similar sounding words in sentences. Both sentences are still correct yet would have different meanings.
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