ADAGE: A proverb or wise saying.

ADAGY: The act of speaking or writing in adages.

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In general, these are inductive arguments in which the thinker puts forth a belief or proposition as a universal rule she or he puts forth in response to an example seen in nature--the specific observed example comes first, and the logical argument follows on a universal level later.

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AISLING (Irish Gaelic: "dream, vision," pronounced "ash-ling"): a genre of Irish political poetry popular in the 1600s and 1700s in which a appears who mourns the recent down-fallen status of Ireland and predicts a coming return to fortune, often linked with the return of a Stuart ruler to the throne of Britain. In later centuries, the form often became used satirically or jokingly. The most famous example of aisling poetry is Róisín Dubh, and the earliest major aisling poet was Aodhagán Ó Rathaille, often called the father of the aisling. Cf. .

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"The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." —Mark Twain

Linguists more generally call this device "form shift."


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Specific Diction
Now, what do you imaginatively "see" what you read this sentence: "The Saint Bernard jumped on top of the red corvette"?

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ACYRON: The improper or odd application of a word, such as speaking of "streams of graces" (Shipley 5). When the result is humorous or deliberately absurd, the acyron becomes a .

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The concrete and specific diction in this sentence ensures that you are "seeing" exactly what the writer wants you to see. In general, specific and concrete diction is a characteristic of strong writing, whereas general and abstract diction is a characteristic of weak writing.

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What do I mean by this brief comment that I often write on papers? I mean that the diction in a paper could be more concrete and/or more specific. Specific diction will help ensure that the meaning you intend is exactly the meaning that readers receive.

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Now, try to picture a dog. Because "dog" is a concrete word, you are able to form a mental picture of it. Because concrete diction imaginatively appeals to the senses, it tends to involve readers more than abstract diction does.

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ADAPTATION: Taking material from an older source and altering it or updating it in a new genre. For instance, John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi is a play adapted from an older Italian novella. Many of Shakespeare's history plays are adaptations of Holinshed's chronicles, etc. For modern artists, if the adaptation's source is unacknowledged, the adaptation may constitute plagiarism under modern conventions. Contrast with .