Video:What Is Oxymoron?with Jen D'Amore
An oxymoron is a figure of speech or word combination that contradicts. In this grammar video from About.com, learn about the types of oxymora and how they're used in writing.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is Oxymoron?
Hi, I'm Jen D'Amore for About.com and this video is an overview of oxymoron.
What is an Oxymoron?
"Awfully good," "working vacation," and "living dead," are three examples of oxymora. As you can see they are a figure of speech or word combination that is contradictory.
Common Types of Oxymora
The most common type of oxymoron is a two word phrase where each word in the phrase is opposite in some way, like "industrial park," "inside out," and "natural makeup."
There are also single word oxymora, like "preposterous," where the word can be broken down into contrasting parts. "Preposterous" can be broken down into "pre" meaning before, and "post" meaning after. Pianoforte is another single word oxymoron with "piano" meaning soft, and "forte" meaning loud.
Where are Oxymora Used?
You'll find oxymora used in other languages, especially in Asian languages, where the two characters that are put together to describe something are at times an oxymoron, like the characters of yin and yang, dark and light put together to mean "everything."
Comedians craft humorous oxymora.
Writers craft their own clever oxymora to describe complex emotions or situations.
Policy makers may even craft oxymora to confuse an issue, using a phrase like "mandatory option" to soften public perception.
Some oxymora demonstrates a personal viewpoint, often using sarcasm, like "rock music," being used by someone that believes that rock is noise and cannot really be considered music.
You'll find plenty of examples of oxymora on the web, and you can of course try to create your own.
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