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What is litotes?

Litotes (Greek for 'smooth, plain; small, meager') is a figure of speech in which an affirmative is expressed by a contrary negative. Emphasis is given to a deliberate understatement by denying its opposite. To do this, you would say something like: He's not a bad singer; That's no ordinary automobile; I am not unfamiliar with organizing a household; That is not a bad idea; That is no small problem; She is not the friendliest person I know. The opposite of litotes is hyperbole. There are more than sixty different figures of speech, which are various forms of expression that are different from the "normal" arrangement or use of words and which lend beauty, force, or variety to writing. Some of the figures of speech are: alliteration, amphiboly, analogy, antanaclasis, antiphrasis, antithesis, aposiopesis, apostrophe, diallage, dissimilitude, enantiosis, epistrophe, euphemism, hendiadys, henopoeia, heterosis, hypallage, hyperbation, hyperbole, hysteron proteron, irony, meiosis, metaphor, metonymy, mimesis, onomatopoeia, oxymoron, periphrasis, personification, simile, synecdoche, and trope.

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