Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Synecdoche

Two Heads are Better than One

Today, Readin’, wRitin’ and ‘Rithemtic Wednesdays pays a visit to Grammarland.

A question burning its way across America is:
‘How can I make sure I’m using a synecdoche correctly?’

We need to clear this up quickly so we can move forward with World Peace.
Take notes.

According to my extensive research you will want to use synecdoche when a part of something is meant to stand for the whole kit and kaboodle.
‘My son wants a new set of wheels.’
When you read that do you think all he wants are several wheels? Or does your brain leap to the image of a new car, complete with a set of wheels?

Speaking of brains, when I tell you she is the ‘brains of the company’ do you conjure up a fascinating sci-fi image of a huge walnut-like cerebellum, frontal lobe etc. perched on top of a skyscraper?
Or do you  immediately wonder ‘Who is this extremely intelligent woman and can we make her head of the National Reserve?’

Body parts make excellent synecdoches.
Many hands make light work.
I don’t want to see your face around here.
He has the guts for the job.
How lovely on the mountain are the feet of him who brings good news.
Two heads are better than one.

Did you know you knew so many synecdoches?

Folks in the south have it mastered when they refer to any carbonated beverage as ‘Coke’,
but don’t point a finger if you refer to any brand of that 1950’s salads staple as ‘Jello
or the flimsy piece of tissue you hope will restrain the contents of your nasal passages as a ‘Kleenex’.

Today after you hit the streets or pound the pavement to earn your daily bread because you have mouths to feed and threads to provide, go  sit in your castle, tickle the ivories, put the kettle on and try to wrap your brain around a synecdoche or two.
And come back next Wednesday as we delve into the wonderful world of Metonymy.


Lori Lipsky said...

Synecdoche must have been before my time, too. It's the first I've heard of it. Had to research how to pronounce it and everything!

To be fair to my teachers, I suppose it could be I've just forgotten or wasn't paying attention that day.

Prude, what would I do without your help?

bethBA said...

Thank you for my Wednesday grammar lesson. You must be peaking at my daily calendar because now I have to go tickle the ivories...really, I do!

Joanie said...

I appreciate the continuing ed!