Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. Ksunya's Avatar

    • Join Date: Nov 2006
    • Posts: 39

    Question litotes and understatement

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

  2. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,037

    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.)

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


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts