What is synecdoche?
Synecdoche is when a part of something is used to represent the whole thing, or a whole thing is used to represent only a part.
How to make synecdoche
There are different ways to create synecdoche:
1. Use only a part of something to represent the whole thing.
2. Use the whole thing, but mean only a part.
3. Use a small group of things, but mean a larger group. (specific to mean general)
4. Use a larger group of things, but mean a smaller group. (general to mean specific)
5. Use the material from which something is made to mean the object itself.
6. Use a container, but mean its contents.
- Using a part of something to represent the whole thing
|I’m hanging up my spatula.||spatula represents cooking|
|He’s a good pair of hands to have around.||hands represents a worker|
|I bought myself a new set of wheels.||wheels represents a car|
|My house could do with a bit more green.||green represents plants|
2. Use the whole thing, but mean only a part
|Brazil won the World Cup again.||Brazil represents the Brazilian football team|
(not the entire country)
|While I have been here I have found the Swiss to be warm and kind.||The Swiss represents the Swiss people I have met|
(not everyone in the country)
3. Use a small group of things, but mean a larger group (specific to mean general)
|Can I have a glass of Coke?||Coke represents any type of cola|
(other famous brands, such as Band-Aid, Hoover, and Bic, can also represent all similar products)
|Put your John Hancock here.||John Hancock represents signature|
(John Hancock was the biggest of many signatures on the US Declaration of Independence)
4. Use a larger group to things, but mean a small group (general to mean specific)
|Last year I went to America.||America represents the United States of America|
(not all countries in the Americas)
|Fancy a beverage?||Beverage represents an alcoholic drink (*if in bar)|
(not all types of drink)
5. Use the material from which something is made to mean the object itself
|I bought some new threads.||threads represents clothes|
|He has some new glasses.||glasses represents spectacles|
|I’ve no money in my wallet. Can I pay by plastic?||plastic represents a credit card|
6. Use a container, but mean its contents
|Last night we drank five bottles and a keg.||bottles and kegs represents the beer inside|
|He smokes two packs a day.||packs represents the cigarettes inside|
|“Did you put any lights on the Christmas tree?”|
“Yes, we put two boxes on it.”
|boxes refers to the lights in the boxes|