The object of linguistics is language. All linguistic disciplines study specific language subsystems - the totality of units of different language levels and those relations that exist between these units or their classes.
In this respect, Stylistics differs from other linguistic disciplines in several aspects. Firstly, it deals with the units of all language levels. Secondly, it investigates these units from the functional point of view. Thus, Stylistics studies connotational specificity of the elements of the language system, separate language subsystems (the so-called "functional styles of the language") and the language system as a whole.
The subject of Stylistics is the means of actualization of the main (communicative and cognitive) and additional language functions, that ensure the effectiveness of the speech activity of the speaker. The aim of communication is to transmit the necessary information.
The communicative act, though, is called to life by yet another aim -to meet the need of the speaker to achieve the desired pragmatic effect. To achieve this effect, the speaker resorts to a conscious choice of the appropriate language means: not only certain stylistic ones but also all graphic, phonetic, lexical, grammatical and syntactic means of the language.
According to I.V. Arnold, "stylistics is a branch of linguistics, which studies the principles and results of the choice and usage of lexical, grammatical, phonetic and other language means with the aim of transmitting of ideas and emotions in different communication settings".