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Refresh your English: OXYMORONS


 

 

Are you busy doing nothing?

 

If not, read on to find out more about sometimes seriously funny  

and sometimes clearly misunderstood oxymorons ;)

 

According to Oxford Dictionaries,

an OXYMORON is  a figure of speech in which

apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. 

 

The term oxymoron is oxymoronic in itself, as it is made up of two Greek words meaning 'sharp' and 'dull'.

 

Like other kinds of figurative language, oxymorons (or oxymora) are often found in literature, but they are also part of our everyday speech. They are used for a variety of purposes. Sometimes they are used to create some sort of drama for the reader or listener, and sometimes they are used to make the person stop and think, whether it's to laugh or to ponder.
Find out more about oxymorons here.

 

"The true beauty of oxymorons," says Richard Watson Todd, "is that, unless we sit back and really think, we happily accept them as normal English." Todd illustrates his point in the following passage:

 

It was an open secret that the company had used a paid volunteer to test the plastic glasses. Although they were made using liquid gas technology and were an original copy that looked almost exactly like a more expensive brand, the volunteer thought that they were pretty ugly and that it would be simply impossible for the general public to accept them. On hearing this feedback, the company board was clearly confused and there was a deafening silence. This was a minor crisis and the only choice was to drop the product line.
(Much Ado About English. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2006)

How many oxymorons could you find in Todd's text?