Diction can be defined as style of speaking or writing, decided via the selection of phrases through a speaker or a writer. Diction, or desire of words, frequently separates true writing from terrible writing. It relies upon on some of factors. Firstly, the phrase has to be right and accurate. Secondly, words ought to be appropriate to the context in which they may be used. Lastly, the choice of words must be such that the listener or reader understands without problems.
Proper diction, or right choice of words, is vital to get the message across. On the alternative hand, the wrong preference of phrases can easily divert listeners or readers, which leads to misinterpretation of the message meant to be conveyed.
Types of Diction
Individuals vary their diction relying on different contexts and settings. Therefore, we come upon various kinds of diction.
Formal diction – formal words are utilized in formal situations, along with press meetings and presentations.
Informal diction – uses casual phrases and conversation, together with writing or speakme to friends.
Colloquial diction – uses phrases not unusual in normal speech, which may be one-of-a-kind in special areas or communities.
Slang diction – is using phrases that are newly coined, or maybe impolite.
Examples of Diction in Literature
Depending on the subjects at hand, writers have a tendency to differ their diction. Let us see some examples of diction in literature:
Example #1: Ode on a Grecian Urn (By John Keats)
John Keats, in his Ode on a Grecian Urn, uses formal diction to achieve a certain effect. He says:
“Heard melodies are sweet, however those unheard
Are sweeter: therefore, ye smooth pipes, play on …”
Notice the usage of the formal “ye,” in place of the casual “you.” The formality right here is because of the honor the urn conjures up in Keats. In the equal poem he says:
“Ah, satisfied, happy boughs! That cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the spring adieu.”
It is greater formal to use “adieu” than to say “goodbye.”
Example #2: The Sun Rising (By John Donne)
In sharp comparison to Keats, John Donne uses colloquialism in his poem The Sun Rising:
“Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and thru curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, pass chide. “
Treating the sun as a real human being on this excerpt, the poet speaks to the solar in an informal way, the use of colloquial expressions. He rebukes the sun because it has seemed to spoil the best time he is having together with his beloved. Further, he orders the “saucy pedantic solar” to head away.
Example #3: The School (By Donald Barthelme)
Writers skillfully pick phrases to increase a sure tone and atmosphere of their works. Read the following excerpt from a brief story The School, via Donald Barthelme:
“And the trees all died. They were orange timber. I don’t recognize why they died, they just died. Something wrong with the soil possibly or maybe the stuff we got from the nursery wasn’t the first-class. We complained about it. So we’ve were given thirty kids there, every youngster had his or her own little tree to plant and we’ve were given these thirty dead timber. All those children looking at these little brown sticks, it changed into depressing.”
The use of the words “died,” “dead,” “brown sticks,” and “depressing” offers a dark tone to the passage.
Example #4: A Tale of Two Cities (By Charles Dickens)
Sometimes writers repeat their chosen words or phrases to reap an inventive effect, which includes within the following instance from A Tale of Two Cities, by using Charles Dickens:
“It turned into the fine of times, it was the worst of times, it turned into the age of wisdom, it became the age of foolishness, it changed into the epoch of belief, it became the epoch of incredulity, it turned into the season of Light, it became the season of Darkness, it turned into the spring of hope, it become the winter of despair.”
By repeating the phrase “It was the …” at some point of the passage, the writer guarantees that the readers will give extra attention to the function of the era they may be going to study about in the novel.
Function of Diction
In literature, writers pick words to create and produce a regular mood, tone, and atmosphere to their readers. A writer’s choice of phrases, and his selection of image words, not only affect the reader’s attitude, however also conveys the writer’s feelings toward the literary work. Moreover, poetry is thought for its precise diction, which separates it from prose. Usually, a poetic diction is marked by using figures of speech, rhyming phrases, and different devices.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw