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Difference Between Oxymoron and Paradox

paradoxOxymoron vs Paradox

Many people see only a slight little difference between oxymoron and paradox. Most of the time they find it hard to make out a difference between the two terms. Even though there are no hard rules that separate oxymoron and paradox, one can come across many things that differentiate them.

While Paradox is a statement or a group of statements, oxymoron is a combination of two contradictory terms. Paradox is apparently a true statement leads to a situation that defies intuition.

Paradox consists of a whole sentence. Oxymoron on the other hand comes with only two words that contradicts itself. In simple words, Paradox is considered to be an action that is contradictory and oxymoron is a description of a phrase, which is contradictory.

Wile paradox can be seen as a phrase like ‘freedom is slavery’, oxymoron is only a combination of two contradictory words like ‘cold fire’.

The best way to understand if a figure of speech is oxymoron is to look if they come in two words. The first word and the second word used in oxymoron will have completely different meanings. The two words stand opposite to each other. Jumbo shrimp, military intelligence, icy hot and hottie-coldy are some of the examples of oxymoron. The dictionary defines oxymoron as a paradox reduced to two words (adjective-noun or adverb-adjective), which is used for giving more effect and emphasising contrasts.

Unlike paradox, oxymoron is a descriptive phrase containing two terms, which seem to be incongruent. Though the two words used in oxymoron seem to be contradictory, it gives a dramatic effect to the words.

Paradox is defined in the dictionary as a logic statement contradicting itself. It can also be said to be a sentence that is opposed to the common sense but yet can be true.

Unlike oxymoron, paradox uses many words, even a whole paragraph, to explain a thing. Paradox is a typically a true statement or a group of statements, which seems to lead to some contradiction. While the two words used in oxymoron is used for some dramatic effect and does not make any sense, a paradox statement that contains opposing elements when read together makes some sense.

1.Paradox is a statement or a group of statements. Oxymoron is a combination of two contradictory terms.
2.Paradox consists of a whole sentence or a paragraph. Oxymoron on the other hand comes with only two words that contradicts itself.
3.Paradox is an action that is contradictory and oxymoron is a description of a phrase.

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  1. unbelievably wonderful

  2. Actually it is almost well elaboration about Oxymoron and Paradox since i studied them very closely when i was striving for my B.A with Ed degree.

    • Abdu, I hope you are not planning to teach English. Your comment is filled with punctuation and grammatical errors. From your name, I assume that English is a second language for you, so I will cut you some slack and tone my comments accordingly. In that vein, I offer the following as constructive criticism, which can only serve to help you in this regard.

      Point 1. The word “actually” is redundant. If used as a lead-in to a sentence, it should be within a following statement, not in the first sentence. It normally wouldn’t be used to start your train of thought.

      Point 2. The word “an” is required after “it is.”

      Point 3. “Almost well” is incorrect. “Almost” denotes a negative suggestion. “Quite” or “fairly” would provide a more positive impression, which I think you are trying to say.

      “Well” is wrong. “Well” is an adverb (modifies a verb). The correct word is “good,” which is an adjective to modify the noun “elaboration.”

      Point 4. The word “since” is used wrongly here. “Since,” in this context, means “because” and suggests that what follows is the result of the previous statement, which in this case is not true. .

      Point 5. “i” should be capitalized. To wit: “I.”

      Point 6. Your statement “studied them very closely” suggests deep, extensive and comprehensive study, which of course is very unlikely for such a simple matter, as any “study” of them takes only a few minutes.

      Point 7. “i” should be capitalized.

      Point 8. “B.A with Ed degree” is incorrect. If a “.” is used after the “B” there should be one after the “A” also. The following two options are correct: BA (Ed) or B.A. Ed

      Good luck in your teaching career. If you wish to excel in it, I suggest that you devote yourself to improving your English skills.

      Best regards,

      P.S. This is is an example of what I think you meant to say:

      This is quite a good explanation of the similarity and difference between “oxymoron” and “paradox” I encountered this discussion while studying for my BA (Ed).

  3. Perfect. Thanks a lot

  4. Thanks a lot

  5. No illustration is provided after all for having enough vivid idea, especially about ‘paradox’. Examples are required.

  6. Thanks for the education

  7. In this modern times, what matters are fast and simplified communication. Grammar and queen’s English can wait. Mohan.

  8. Oxymoron 2018

  9. Let’s not be too hard on Vern; it’s always beneficial to learn, albeit, he did go quite overboard – pedantic (correct me please!), I’m always willing to learn.

  10. Vern, great job delving into this teaching opportunity!! You addressed each error correcting with grace. I applaud you in taking advantage to teach any and all who are interested in learning. Thank you!

  11. The little bit doubt I had, I got them clarified. Thanks.


  13. I learned something new today. Thanks Vern

  14. oh do come on people. I know my written English is not great. Although English is my first language. First I found English boring at school, those days my attitude was like who cares where punctuations go. At 14 definitely not me. However now I am older. I regret not taking enough notice. If someone is trying to explain something, personally nowadays. It should be done correctly. Otherwise how are people like myself expected to get it right. So no Vern was correct in making a point of pointing out the errors. So thanks Vern. My written English is crap and I will also be the first to say so too. But truthfully can many of us at 13/14 give a toss. No we couldn’t. Only the minority did care. Anyhow much preferred maths, plus I have always been S…t hot at maths. So I didn’t let my life go completely to wast. Vern thanks again for English lesson. I just wish looking back I had have given more to written English.

  15. Impressive thanks.

  16. After reading Vern’s comment I’m afraid that I will must receive essay type message from Vern. Because my English is not good. Anyhow , it’s quite easy to understand difference between Paradox and Oxymoron. God bless you!

  17. Wow! This nigga Vern is exceptional.

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