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Related to Emphasis: emphysema, emphasize, emphasise


A special importance or significance placed upon or imparted to an element or form by means of contrast or counterpoint; a sharpness or vividness of outline.



the marking, or singling out, of individual elements and shades of meaning of an utterance.

Emphasis can be achieved by various means. It is expressed primarily through emphatic stress, lengthening, and rising or falling intonation. For example, in the sentence la dúmaiu, chto on pridet (“I think that he will come”), the speaker’s certainty can be underscored by lowering the pitch on the word dumaiu (“think”); uncertainty can be conveyed by raising the pitch. Emphasis is often accompanied by a logical stress pattern, in which there is a rising pitch and a lengthening of the stressed vowel, as in Kto chital étu knigu? (“Who read this book?”).

Emphasis can also be expressed by a number of lexical-syntactic means: (1) The use of special emphatic auxiliary words—for example, la zhe vam govoril (“I did tell you”) and, in English, “I did see him.” This usage is sometimes referred to as the emphatic mood. (2) A departure from neutral word order (seeINVERSION). For example, compare la chital etu knigu (“I read this book”) with Knigu etu ai chital (“This book I read”). (3) The use of a special emphatic construction in which the rheme is stressed—for example, in French, C’est jean qui l’a fait (“John did it”). In Aramaic there is a special emphatic construction formed by a noun and a postpositive article, as opposed to the usual construction consisting of an article followed by a noun. (4) The use of anaphora and repetition—for example, khodil-khodil (“[he] walked and walked”) and den’-denskoi (“all day long”).

An emphatic effect in a formal, elevated style can be obtained through the use of the plural of mass nouns, as with sneg (“snow”) in Pod nim Kazbek, kak gran’ almaza,/Snegami vechnymi siial (“Under him Kazbek, like the facet of a diamond/Shines with eternal snows,” M. Iu. Lermontov).


Bally, C. Frantsuzskaia stilistika. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from French.)
Bloomfield, L. Iazyk. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from English.)


References in classic literature ?
His eyes add an emphasis to that reply which is not to be mistaken.
This requires, (1) Unity, (2) Variety, (3) Order, (4) Proportion, and (5) due Emphasis of parts.
Does he produce his impressions by full enumeration of details, or by emphasis on prominent or characteristic details?
Romanticism, which in general prevails in modern literature, lays most emphasis on independence and fulness of expression and on strong emotion, and it may be comparatively careless of form.
He nodded gravely, and added with awful emphasis - 'I thought it incumbent upon me to do so.
I read those miraculous words with an emphasis which did them justice, and then I looked him severely in the face.
The emphasis was helped by the speaker's square wall of a forehead, which had his eyebrows for its base, while his eyes found commodious cellarage in two dark caves, overshadowed by the wall.
I justify myself by the authority of these Books,' she cried, with stern emphasis, and appearing from the sound that followed to strike the dead-weight of her arm upon the table.
Mr Flintwinch, having expelled a long significant breath said, with his former emphasis, 'For I have accidentally--mind
In writing the history of unfashionable families, one is apt to fall into a tone of emphasis which is very far from being the tone of good society, where principles and beliefs are not only of an extremely moderate kind, but are always presupposed, no subjects being eligible but such as can be touched with a light and graceful irony.
The "total" column in Table 1 presents, in hierarchical order, the overall number and percentage of the 41 responding programs that assigned considerable or heavy training emphasis to each of the 18 topics.
Majority Wants More Emphasis on Solar, Wind Energy and Natural Gas