Scheme (linguistics)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

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


Structures of balance

  • 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

  • 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

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Scheme (linguistics)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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