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Adnomination refers to the repetition of root words, where (for example) "some" is the root word shared by both "someone" and "somewhere". So, if a man were to wonder to there is someone, somewhere, who would have any interest in what he is talking about, this would be an adnomination. Adnomination could happen as a result of sloppy writing or speech; or, it could also be done on purpose in order to enhance the rhetorical effect of what is being said. Whether adnomination is aesthetically good or bad thus depends to a large extent on context. 

Introduction to adnomination

Adnomination is a literary device which creates a certain sound and effect in text by repeating words with the same root word, or the echoing of a sound of one word in another in the same sentence. Adnomination can be used to describe the repetition of a word but in a different sense; the device is used frequently for emphatic contrast or punning. Another way to describe adnomination is as repetition of a word with a change in letters or sound or a play on words; synonyms are paronomasia, agnomination, and pun. Adnomination is a permutation in the use of a rhetorical operation.

Use of adnomination

Adnomination is used in prose and poetry as an attention-getting and comparative device, often in a sarcastic or ironic manner. 

An example is the famous journalistic saying: “News is what somebody, somewhere, wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.” Here, the adnomination is the repetition of the word “some” in the first part of the sentence. Using this literary device makes the saying “catchy” and easy to remember because of the repetition.

Another example of adnomination is the 1965 Beatles song “Nowhere Man” from the album Rubber Soul. “He’s a real nowhere man/sitting in his nowhere land/making all his nowhere plans for nobody.”

Adnomination can also use a morpheme (a basic meaning of a syllable in linguistics) and use it in different ways. These different ways often oppose each other, creating opposite meanings using the same word or syllable. An example of words created from the morpheme “time” are: nighttime, pastime, peacetime, and meantime.

Additional information

In addition to morphemes that stand on their own such as “time,” adnomination can also use a morpheme such as “radi” which does not stand on its own. The sound of the morpheme being repeated created adnomination even though a full word is not described. An example of this would be: “The irradiated radish was radically extradited.” True morphemes in this sentence are “irradiated” and “radically,” while “radish” and extradited” are false morphemes. Adnomination allows both, encouraging word play in prose, poetry, and even academic writing (like from Ultius).

Paronomasia is a synonym of adnomination because both are a play on words. Paronomasia uses a word or words with similar sounds in different senses in order to elicit humor or duality of meaning. It is also considered a rhetorical device which is used intentionally to confuse the reader by using similar-sounding words with different meanings. This is also how puns work to create a humorous saying.

Typographic paronomasia has five additional classifications: homophonic, as in “pore” and “pour”; homographic as in “I don’t feel well” and “dig a well”; homonymic including homographs and homophones; compound sentences which contain two or more puns in one sentence; and recursive, wherein the second pun depends upon the meaning of the first pun. 

William Shakespeare was notorious for use of puns in his plays. In the following quote from Romeo and Juliet, the words “soul” and “sole” sound alike but have different meanings, creating humor. “You have dancing shoes with nimble soles; I have a soul of lead…So stakes me to the ground I cannot move.”

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