Saturday, May 20, 2023

Stylistics vs Literary Criticism

 We should not confuse stylistics with literary criticism. 

Stylistics (or linguistic stylistics) is a branch of linguistics. It investigates various styles such as scientific style, fiction style, newspaper style, business style, internet style, etc. 

Literary criticism is related to evaluating literary texts, i.e., analyzing works that are related to fiction.

Stylistics is a branch of linguistics concerned with the study of certain choices in the use of language, especially literary language, as regards sound, form, or vocabulary, made by different individuals or social groups in different situations of use. (Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers). Stylistics is the study of language varieties whose properties position that language in context. For example, the language of advertising, politics, religion, individual authors, etc., or the language of a period in time, are all used distinctively and belong to a particular situation. In other words, they all have a ‘place’ or are said to use a specific 'style.' (

Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists. (

Linguistic stylistics aims to recognize and categorize the constituents of language in a certain text.

The purpose of literary stylistics is typically to analyze specific literary texts (basically fiction).

In some instances, computer programs can support text analysis.  It is often used to make value judgments about the quality of imagination and creativity in the writing (of particular texts).

It is important to note that language study moves into ‘linguistic stylistics’ or ‘literary studies or ‘literary stylistics.’

As we can see, there is a difference between stylistics (linguistic stylistics) and literary criticism (literary stylistics).

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ginger Writing Software Corrects Errors Automatically

Have you ever heard about Ginger writing software?

Ginger Software is the leading contextual grammar and spell checker on the market today. Based on a full sentence context, Ginger can automatically correct severe spelling and grammatical mistakes at an unmatched success rate. It enables users to produce error-free texts quickly and easily. The product is an online service and supports MS Word, MS Outlook, MS PowerPoint, Mac, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Ginger Software's mission is to facilitate error-free writing, particularly for those who use English as a second language or those with learning difficulties like dyslexia. A unique text-correction algorithm automatically analyzes the context of errors in written English and selects the most appropriate semantic and grammatical correction.

Friday, April 25, 2014

About Zeugma

What is zeugma?

Zeugma is a stylistic device that can sometimes cause semantic confusion in sentences while adding some colorful flavor. It is using a word to modify or govern two or more words in such a manner that it applies to each in a different sense or is appropriate to only one. For example, "Mr. Pickwick took his hat and his leave." (Charles Dickens)

We usually deal with zeugma when polysemantic verbs combined with nouns of most varying semantic groups are deliberately used with two or more homogeneous members who are not connected semantically, e.g., “He took his hat and his leave.” 

Zeugma was often used in English prose of the earlier centuries by many distinguished writers and poets.

The amount of homogeneous or similar parts of speech are semantically disconnected but are attached to the same verb. In such a case, we deal with semantically false chains. These semantically false chains may be considered as a variation of zeugma. Typically, the last member of the chain falls out of the semantic group producing an amusing or entertaining effect. Here is a typical example, “A Governess wanted. She must possess knowledge of Romanian, Italian, Spanish, German, Music, and Mining Engineering.’’ It is essential to remember that we should unambiguously use zeugma to avoid misunderstandings in communication. 

The term ‘’zeugma’’ originated from the Greek word ζεῦγμα, zeûgma, meaning "yoke". It is a figure of speech joining two or more parts of a sentence with a single common verb or/and noun.  Zeugma is created by using ellipsis (the omission of words) and parallelism (the balance of several words). The result is amazing: many similar phrases are joined by a common noun or an ordinary verb.  

Here are a few beautiful examples of zeugma:

He held his breath and the door for me.

He lost his coat and his temper.

The addict kicked the habit and then the bucket.

She bought curtains for him and the window.

Eggs and oaths are soon broken. (English proverb)

Mr. Pickwick took his hat and his leave. (Charles Dickens)

They covered themselves with dust and glory. (Mark Twain)

He wore a black hat and an adorable smile.

He brought her a story and a beer.

He held a high rank and an old notepad.

Zeugma embellishes a sentence or even the whole paragraph, intensifies its magnificence, and thus adds more stylistic color to the whole text.

Transferred Epithet

Newspaper Genres

Functional Styles

Research Topics

Two Basic Fields of Stylistics

Monday, April 1, 2013


The term ‘intertextuality’ has been used by many different authors with different meanings. The word itself came from Latin into English with its original meaning ‘intertexto’ (intermingle during the weaving process). It was first used in the field of semiotics by the Bulgarian philosopher, novelist, and literary critic Julia Kristeva in 1966. She looked upon a literary text as the product of an author and its relationship to other texts and the various language structures. In her opinion, texts are made up of other texts (products of other texts), i.e., each text is constructed of quotations, allusions, calques, imitation, pastiche, parody, etc. 

The famous French linguist Roland Barthes in his ‘Death of Author’ claimed that intertextuality allows the text to come into being, and any text is a new tissue of past citations. Bits of code, formulae, rhythmic models, fragments of social languages, etc., pass into the text and are redistributed within it, for there is always language before and around the text. According to Barthes, intertextuality is the condition of the existence of any text. 


Examples of Intertextuality

A classic example of intertextuality would be the retelling of Hamlet in a modern, fashionable, and updated manner. 

Intertextuality is frequently used in newspaper style, and it is often based on the stylistic device allusion, e.g., the newspaper headline The Blame in Spain (GW, Feb 22-28, 2001) was used as a reference to the song 'The Rain in Spain' from the musical 'My Fair Lady ' (at that time there were some problems of communication between Spain and UK). 


More about Intertextuality

Intertextuality is the shaping of texts' meanings by other texts.  It has been studied from many academic perspectives (Worton & Still, 1990). Increased understanding and learning can result from intertextual processes (Bloome, 1992; Bloome & Egan-Robertson, 1993; Cairney, 1990b, 1992; Cairney & Langbien, 1989; Harris & Trezise, 1997; Hartman, 1990; Oyler & Barry, 1996; Short, 1992a/b). To learn more about intertextuality, click HERE…

Pragmatic Stylistics


Transferred Epithet

Newspaper Genres

Functional Styles

Research Topics

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gothic Novel

Gothic novel is a novel in which supernatural horrors pervade the action. 

The setting

sinister humans, mysterious castle with secret passages

Gothic elements

ghosts, portents, devils, haunted apparitions, skeletons, omens, ancient prophecy, obscure or hard to understand events, sentimentalism, supernatural events, imprisoned characters and terror fight

Gothic novel examples

Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca
Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
William Beckford, Vathek
Anne Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is stylistics a branch of linguistics or a branch of literature?

We should not confuse stylistics with literary criticism. 

Stylistics (or linguistic stylistics) is a branch of linguistics. It investigates various styles such as scientific style, fiction style, newspaper style, business style, internet style, etc. 

Literary criticism is related to the evaluation of literary texts, i.e. the analysis of works that are related to fiction.

Research Topics

Newspaper Genres

Functional Styles

Stylistics vs Literary Criticism

  We should not confuse stylistics with literary criticism.   Stylistics (or linguistic stylistics) is a branch of linguistics. It investi...