Stylistics and its Types

Forensic Stylistics

Stylistics and Style:

First of all, we will be defining “Style” by giving examples also, and then we will move forward toward what is Stylistics and what are the main branches of Stylistics.


It can be defined as an “Individual’s Choice of expressing himself or herself“. By Style, we mean to say how the writer is expressing himself or herself or expressing his or her ideas. It is the characteristic of a writer. By expressing we mean how he selects the suitable word in that particular place of his writing, what word the writer chooses and how he shapes his or her sentence structure.

Another definition of Style can be, “ the selection and choice of words”.
For example,
Shakespeare everyone knows. One of his famous lines is “ Let it be known to thy birth giver that thy stomach consists of nothing “. Which simply means “I’m hungry “. Here we can see the choice and selection of words and sentences Shakespeare has used. This is his Style of writing.


It is the branch of Linguistics. Stylistics is basically a combination of two words which are Style and Linguistics. Style is discussed above and linguistics is the scientific study of language. What we can conclude from these words is that Stylistics is the study of the Style of language. The examination of how words are used and how sentences are constructed.

It can also be defined as “the linguistical study or the scientific study of any text or literary text”. We can also say that it is a bridge between Literature writing and Linguistics. Stylistics is the most difficult branch of Linguistics compared to others because if we see Sociolinguistics, it deals with society and language, and Semantics deals with the meaning of words. But Stylistics is the only branch that deals with everything. The background of the writer, the semantical meaning, the writer’s family status, everything.

Types of Stylistics:

1) Reader Response Stylistics:

From the very name, we can conclude that it is related to the reader. Here we focus on the relationship between readers and the given text. Simply we can say how a reader gets affected by the text. Further, it is depended on the reader that how a reader interprets and how a reader gets into the text.

This type of quality is known as Literary Competence. Here the reader becomes the active part of the text. Here the reader is responsible to give meaning to the text because one single piece of writing has different interpretations of the text. So the role of the reader cannot be ignored.

2) Affective Stylistics:

The above is how the reader gets meaning from the text but here we study how the text affects the reader. It is mainly related to psychology. We can say that here it is psychology in addition to text.

In explaining this, we can differentiate between the two. One is effective Stylistics where we focus on the reader or listener. The other one is Expressive Stylistics which is more to the writer or speaker where the text represents the writer.
We can say that affective Stylistics is more up to the emotional part of how the reader or hearer makes him or herself impacted by the text.

3) Pragmatic Stylistics:

In pragmatic Stylistics, the message is not given correctly. It is related to the deep structure of a sentence. Here we deal with the contextual meaning of a sentence.
In pragmatic Stylistics, we introduce a Speech Act Theory which is presented by J.L Auston. He said that we can perform an action with the help of language. This theory has 3 acts.

Locutionary Act: Here the original meaning of what is said or written is meant. For example, we ask a question about what time is it, and someone answers that 5 o’clock. The Locutionary meaning is achieved.
Illocutionary Act: When the intended meaning is expected.
For example, if someone came late to class and the teacher asks what time is it. Here it doesn’t mean that what is the time actually by this means that why are you late. And this is basically pragmatic Stylistics.
Perlocutionary Act: When the intended meaning is not achieved. We say that the Act is flouted.

4) Forensic Stylistics:

It is related to the investigation of a crime using language. It is the application of Stylistics for the detection of crime.

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