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639. Many of these terms are pedantic names given by early grammarians to forms of speech used naturally by writers who were not conscious that they were using figures at all—as, indeed, they were not. Thus when one says, “It gave me no little pleasure,” he is unconsciously using litotes; when he says, “John went up the street, James down,” antithesis; when he says, “High as the sky,” hyperbole. Many were given under a mistaken notion of the nature of the usage referred to. Thus mēd and tēd (§ 143. a. N.) were supposed to owe their d to paragoge , sūmpsī its p to epenthesis. Such a sentence as “See my coat, how well it fits!” was supposed to be an irregularity to be accounted for by prolepsis.

Many of these, however, are convenient designations for phenomena which often occur; and most of them have an historic interest, of one kind or another.

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