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