Paralipsis is a figure of speech that requires some attention! Read on to learn about paralipsis with the help of examples that explains the concept.
English is a language which has several figures of speech, which we use in our day-to-day life but are still unaware of. If you can identify them then you will understand that they are integral part of most of the sentences. For instance, assume that a woman says, 'I am not trying to dig at her debauched way of living'. Isn't it interesting that she has already communicated what she wants to say? This is a way of denying or pretending to deny what has already been spoken. The figure of speech here is called the paralipsis. Praeteritio, Preterition, Cataphasis, Antiphrasis and Parasiopesis are other words use to denote a Paralipsis. Come to think of it, these words are rhetorical and ironical! But there is a slight difference in them, which you will discover, once the concept of a paralipsis is understood. Let us go through some examples to understand the meaning of paralipsis and its usage.
Examples Of Paralypsis
- I know who did it, but I won't mention Bobby's name (the person has already mentioned the name).
- I will speak only about his good nature (implies that the person certainly has a bad side).
- This is not really about how much it costs (the person is communicating that the item is expensive).
- I don't want to embarrass his family, so I won't mention John's name (and it is already mentioned!).
- Far be it from me to mention Mr. Smith's many infidelities
- I will not speak of her unsavory past (here, the person is clearly pointing out that the lady has had an unsavory past).
- I surely need not remind you to get your Christmas shopping done early (you are actually reminding!).
- I need not mention that everything should be done within the deadline.
- I don't have to remind you that it is really urgent, right?
- It is better not to mention his wrong deeds (you have successfully communicated that he has done wrong).
- I won't speak of his habit of intoxication
- I will not dwell on the senator's shady history with the criminal underworld or on her alcoholic son. Such issues should not be brought up in a reasoned debate (you have publically announced that the senator has conducted illegal activities and that her son is alcoholic).
- It is better not to mention the mishap (pointing out that there was an accident and thus, evoking the listener's curiosity).
- It is better not to talk about the 2G spectrum case here because it is totally irrelevant.
- I won't utter a word about politics played behind the screen (there actually were?)
- I'm keeping aside all the inconveniences that I experienced throughout the course of this project (this is actually a complaint in disguise conveying that you had some inconveniences).
- I will not bring up my opponent's questionable financial dealings (so, your opponent had performed some dubious deeds).
- I will not speak of my opponent's ethical scandals, his lack of accomplishments while in office or the many special interest groups to which he is beholden.
Examples From Literature
- "The music, the service at the feast,
The noble gifts for the great and small,
The rich adornment of Theseus's palace . . .
All these things I do not mention now."
From "The Knight's Tale," The Canterbury Tales
- "But here's a parchment, with the seal of Caesar;
I found it in his closet; 'tis his will:
Let but the commons hear this testament
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read
Speech by Mark Antony, Julius Caesar
- "Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it.
It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you.
You are not wood; you are not stones, but men;
And, being men, hearing the will of Caesar,
It will inflame you, it will make you mad:
It is good you know not that you are his heirs;
For if you should, oh, what would come of it!"
From Mark Antony's speech in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
- "We will not speak of all Queequeg's peculiarities here; how he eschewed coffee and hot rolls, and applied his undivided attention to beefsteaks, done rare."
From Herman Melville's Moby-Dick
You might have already got an idea about paralipsis and its usage in day-to-day life. Though used extensively, we are not aware of these figures of speech. It is always advisable to identify these words and phrases so as to get an idea about the speaker's intentions. Paralipsis is widely used in literature as well. It stays close to the concepts sarcasm and irony, although quite dissimilar sometimes. Hope this article has helped with the concept of paralipsis.