Stylisticsstudy of the devices in languages (such as rhetorical figures and syntactical patterns) that are considered to produce expressive or literary style.

Style has been an object of study from ancient times. Aristotle, Cicero, Demetrius, and Quintilian treated style as the proper adornment of thought. In this view, which prevailed throughout the Renaissance period, devices of style can be catalogued. The essayist or orator is expected to frame his ideas with the help of model sentences and prescribed kinds of “figures” suitable to his mode of discourse. Modern stylistics uses the tools of formal linguistic analysis coupled with the methods of literary criticism; its goal is to try to isolate characteristic uses and functions of language and rhetoric rather than advance normative or prescriptive rules and patterns.