What higher strategy to perceive litotes than by diving into a set of handpicked litotes examples?

On this publish, we’ll outline litotes and present how they’ll add character to your writing. Not solely that, however litotes are additionally a wordsmith’s secret weapon when they need their prose to sound extra conversational.

In the event you’re pondering “That doesn’t sound half unhealthy!”, you then’re already a litotes skilled — and I’ll clarify why in a couple of minutes.

So, let’s kick issues off with a definition after which slide into some examples.


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Litotes Definition

Litotes (pronounced lie-tuh-teez) is a determine of speech used to precise an affirmative by denying its reverse. It requires the usage of a unfavourable phrase and an understatement.

The Reality About Litotes: Litotes are a lot simpler to grasp in apply. So if this definition made your thoughts short-circuit, don’t sweat it; we’ve received a ton of examples that will help you grasp this literary system.

Let’s take a look at an instance:

Faux you’re making your first look as a visitor interviewee on a podcast. You’re actually nervous about how issues will go. You’re nervous that you simply’ll say the unsuitable factor or the interviewer will ask inquiries to which you don’t have a solution.

Regardless of your worries, the interview goes actually, rather well. You’re clean and witty and by no means perplexed.

Your finest pal calls to learn the way issues went, and also you say “the interview wasn’t half unhealthy.”

You used two negatives, not and unhealthy, and mixed them to make a constructive assertion about your expertise. What you’re actually saying is “the interview went a lot better than I anticipated.”

Not solely that, however by understating the occasions, it wasn’t half unhealthy, you emphasised how terribly nicely issues labored out for you.

Why Writers Use Litotes?

Writers use litotes for just a few completely different causes.

First, a litotes is one strategy to soften a blunt assertion. For instance, “He’s not the sharpest instrument within the shed” is a milder and maybe kinder manner of claiming somebody shouldn’t be very good.

Typically, litotes emphasize the constructive in a state of affairs like our above assertion in regards to the interview that wasn’t half unhealthy.

As an alternative of claiming “I’m pleasantly shocked by how nicely it went”, the litotes “wasn’t half unhealthy” emphasizes that the interview went a lot better than you imagined.

Writers additionally use litotes to imitate the casual manner we discuss in actual life. And since litotes are so widespread in our on a regular basis language, utilizing them in writing makes characters extra relatable.

After which there’s the “snark impact” — the place litotes will help add some biting humor to a scene.

For instance:

Suppose one character brags to a different about how nicely they’re doing in a portray class. The second character may come again with “Which may be, however you’re nonetheless no Picasso.”

24 Litotes Examples From Literature, Pop Tradition & On a regular basis Language

Listed below are some widespread examples of litotes in literature, popular culture, and on a regular basis English language. Be happy to borrow from our examples or use them to kickstart your creativity.

Examples of Litotes From Literature

1. The Love Music of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot

What they are saying:

However although I’ve wept and fasted, wept and prayed,

Although I’ve seen my head (grown barely bald) introduced in upon a platter,

I’m no prophet – and right here’s no nice matter;

What they imply: He’s an extraordinary man, but his ruminations have a big influence.

2. Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

What they are saying:

Let me not to the wedding of true minds

Admit impediments.

What they imply: Students disagree on his actual that means, however basically Shakespeare doesn’t need to intervene with two individuals who belong collectively.

3. From The Iliad by Homer

What they are saying:

As soon as he’s led you to Achilles’ hut,

that man is not going to kill you—he’ll restrain

all different males. For he’s not silly,

blind, or disrespectful of the gods.

He’ll spare a suppliant, deal with him kindly.

What they imply: There’s no purpose for King Priam to concern Achilles. Achilles is truthful, affordable, and clever.

4. From Beowulf, creator unknown

What they are saying:

[Beowulf] raised the laborious weapon by the hilt,

indignant and resolute — the sword wasn’t ineffective to the warrior.

What they imply: The warrior might use his sword.

5. Jeremiah 30:19 The Bible

What they are saying: And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I’ll multiply them, and so they shall not be few; I will even glorify them, and they shall not be small.

What they imply: The Jewish folks might be many and huge in quantity.

6. From Narrative of the Lifetime of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglas

What they are saying: “It was not unusual for the slaves to argue amongst themselves.”

What they imply: The enslaved folks fought with one another commonly.

7. From Abigail Adams to John Adams in private correspondence.

What they are saying: “I can’t say that I think about you to be sort to the women.”

What they imply: You’ve didn’t do proper by the ladies, John. I’m not proud of you.

Examples of Litotes From Pop Tradition

8. From Aladdin

What they are saying: “That is no extraordinary lamp.

What they imply: It’s a magical lamp.

9. From Magnificence and the Beast

What they are saying: “True, that he’s no Prince Charming.

What they imply: He’s not good-looking like the everyday prince, however there’s one thing about him.

10. From Delight and Prejudice by Jane Austen

What they are saying:

Elizabeth Bennett: “He seems depressing, poor soul.”

Charlotte Lucas: “Depressing he could also be, however poor he most actually shouldn’t be.”

What they imply: He’s a lot rich.

11. From Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

What they are saying: Are you additionally conscious, Mrs. Bueller, that Ferris doesn’t have what we think about to be an exemplary attendance file?”

What they imply: Ferris has issues getting himself to highschool.

12. From Monty Python and the Holy Grail

What they are saying: “Tis however a scratchI’ve had worse.”

What they imply: Nothing to fret about right here…as his arm falls off.

13. The Catcher within the Rye by J.D. Salinger

What they are saying: “It isn’t very critical. I’ve this tiny little tumor on the mind.”

What they imply: No massive deal. I simply need to get surgical procedure to take away this tumor. (By no means thoughts that it’s not true.)

14. No Atypical Love by Sade

What they are saying:

That is no extraordinary love

No extraordinary love

That is no extraordinary love

No extraordinary love.”

What they imply: Our love is extra particular than anybody else’s love.

Examples of Litotes From On a regular basis Language

15. That’s not a foul effort on your first strive.

That means: Good job. Hold going.

16. New York isn’t any extraordinary metropolis.

That means: New York is a exceptional metropolis.

17. It’s an excellent factor you’re not a sluggish runner.

That means: Glad you bought out of the best way earlier than that automobile ran you over.

18. You’re not unsuitable about that.

That means: You’re proper.

19. It’s not unusual for bloggers to have many blogs.

That means: Profitable bloggers usually run a number of web sites.

20. The apple doesn’t fall from the tree.

That means: Your youngsters are going to inherit your worst traits.

21. Boiling water isn’t rocket science.

That means: It’s straightforward to boil water – for most individuals.

22. That wasn’t her first rodeo.

That means: She clearly knew what she was doing.

23. Your father doesn’t have the perfect sense of route.

That means: We’re all the time getting misplaced on these street journeys as a result of your father doesn’t know the place he’s going, and he refuses to cease and ask for instructions.

24. That canine is none too vibrant.

That means: It’s an excellent factor he has people to take care of him ‘trigger he’s not very good.

Litotes vs. Understatement

In terms of figurative language, litotes and understatement are sometimes confused.

Understatement is an announcement that appears to suggest the other of its literal that means.

We frequently use understatements in irony or sarcasm.

For instance, “It’s not an enormous deal” might imply that it’s truly a really massive deal, and “I’m not feeling nicely” might imply the particular person feels horrible and is in ache.

Litotes is completely different from understatement as a result of it makes use of an affirmative to disclaim their reverse. In distinction, understatement makes use of a unfavourable time period to disclaim one thing.

A litotes could be “I’m not feeling too unhealthy as we speak”, that means you might be, in reality, feeling superb.

Litotes vs. Double Destructive

Litotes can also be confused with a double unfavourable.

Double unfavourable makes use of two unfavourable phrases, however they cancel one another out, leading to a constructive assertion.

“I don’t need none of these peaches” implies that you actually do need some peaches. If you say you “don’t need none”, the grammar of the assertion signifies you do need some.

Litotes happens when one unfavourable phrase is changed with an affirmative phrase to create a constructive impact. As an alternative of claiming “I’m good”, you say “I’m not unhealthy.”

Which Litotes Instance Was Your Favourite?

Litotes generally is a difficult idea to know, however these litotes examples will show you how to perceive how you should utilize them — and different literary phrases — in your writing.

Litotes make your work extra fascinating and relatable to readers. Whether or not your subsequent writing venture is a weblog publish, a brief story, some gushy poetry, including litotes is a wonderful manner to boost your prose — and even simply on a regular basis dialog.

Inform me, what’s a litotes I didn’t embody that may’ve made a killer instance?

The publish 24 Litotes Examples From Literature & Pop Tradition (+ Definition) appeared first on Good Blogger.


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