Juxtaposition vs Oxymoron
Placing two words or objects near to each other is known as juxtaposition. It is, in fact, a figure of speech that writers make use of to beautify their writing and also surprise the readers. In linguistics, it is also referred to as contrast. There is another tool in the hands of writers to mesmerize readers by placing two contrasts together, in fact, next to each other. This is called Oxymoron; a clever ploy to stun the reader by placing two opposites next to each other. There are many students of English language that fail to appreciate the difference between the two figures of speech. This article attempts to highlight the difference between juxtaposition and oxymoron by explaining their usage.
What is Juxtaposition?
It is a figure of speech used by authors, to place two abstract concepts close to each other in their composition, leaving it upon the reader to infer or draw the meaning. These may be words or phrases contradicting each other, but they are not necessarily placed side by side or next to each other. In fact, such words can be a couple of paragraphs apart even. Take a look at the following sentence.
I know that it is raining outside, but I do not plan to take an umbrella with me.
Helen did not wear a jacket despite knowing it was snowing outside.
What is Oxymoron?
Oxymoron is a kind of juxtaposition where the author cleverly places opposites or words that contradict each other next to each other to create an irony. For example, fried water is one such example as we all know that there is no such thing as fried water but the author clearly has something else in mind. Icy heat is another example of oxymoron where the author presents an idea with contradicting abstract concepts placed next to each other in a single statement. When a student of English language finds a statement with oxymoron, he is somewhat perplexed as he cannot digest opposite ideas lying next to each other. Living dead and guest host are other examples of oxymoron that are frequently used by writers in their pieces, to beautify the text or top stun the readers.
What is the difference between Juxtaposition and Oxymoron?
• Oxymoron is a special juxtaposition as the contradicting words are placed next to each other whereas, in juxtaposition, the opposing words may be far apart.
• Placing opposing abstract concepts next to each other in a sentence is a linguistic tool called oxymoron that is used as a figure of speech by the writer.
• The tool is juxtaposition when the contradicting words are not next to each other.