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SUMMARY OF DIRECTIONS.
avoid obsolete words, new terms, and a profusion of technical terms, except when treating upon the subjects to which they especially apply, and then use them accurately; avoid vulgarisms, catch-words, provincialisms, unless the nature of your composition justifies them; use no words unnecessarily, especially in different shades of meaning; study to obtain as extensive a vocabulary as your thoughts require, and always to use the best words in their proper places.
Let no one suppose that too much attention has been given to this subject. Words are the vehicle of thoughts. They indicate both the intellectual and the moral character. The surest proof of scholarship, of discipline, of strong thought, is the right use of words. D
We are still considering the material which is employed to convey thought and feeling. It will be ascertained that the first and true meaning of words by no means exhausts their power when in actual use. Figures of speech embrace a valuable part of Rhetoric, and will amply repay careful analysis and methodical examination.
1. Literal and Figurative Meaning.-THE meaning first given to a word is called its literal meaning. Thus the literal meaning of head is that part of the body containing the brain. The literal meaning of body is the whole physical structure of an animal.
A meaning different from the first, and yet suggested by the first on account of a similarity, is called a figurative meaning. Thus the word head may mean a commanding man in a company; it may mean the first object in a collection, as the first in a column of figures, or the starting-place of a fountain or stream. The head of this chapter is "Tropes." Body may mean an army, a convention, a parliament, the principal part of a discourse or of a structure. Soul may mean the purpose or the idea, as the soul of this enterprise is personal ambition.
2. The Foundation of Tropes.-The figurative use of words is always founded upon a similarity between the two objects, or the two thoughts, which the same word is employed to express, so that a person who understands the literal meaning of the word will also readily perceive the figurative meaning, though he never heard it employed in that sense before. Thus in the expression, "The President is the head of the