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  1. Ksunya's Avatar

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    #1

    Question litotes and understatement

    Hi! What is the difference between Litotes and Understatement?
    Thanks in advance

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: litotes and understatement

    In rhetoric, litotes is a figure of speech in which the speaker either strengthens or weakens the emphasis of a claim by denying its opposite. The literal meaning of a litotes is "not X (but not necessarily Y)", and a litotes can be used as an understatement, actually meaning "very much Y," or to express ambivalence.
    Litotes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    So you can use litotes to express understatement, but not all litotes is understatement and not all understatement is litotes.

    I am not ignorant of The Iliad. (litotes expressing an understatement)
    I know a fair amount about The Iliad; I've been studying it for 20 years. (understatement but no litotes)

    (There are lots of other examples in the Wikipedia article.)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 11-Jan-2007 at 11:23. Reason: PS - added ecamples

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