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Using Rhetorical Patterns

Chapter 21 of Writing Today

Michael Pickar

on 6 February 2013

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Transcript of Using Rhetorical Patterns

Chapter 21 of Writing Today Using Basic Rhetorical Patterns Introduction Definition Classification Comparison and Contrast Rhetorical patterns are useful for writers to arrange ideas into sections and paragraphs (425). Rhetorical patterns have an additional function of helping writers to organize information in ways their readers can understand easily (425). Another term for these patterns is topoi ("commonplaces"). Many of these topoi are useful in numerous situations. They are not merely mechanical formulas; you can shape them as you wish to fit your general purpose, depending on the writing genre. Cause and Effect Many writers use this device to, first, identify the causes and effects and, second, explain how and why a cause did lead/did not lead to an effect (433). While some writers use cause and effect as a means of explanation, other writers use this as a means of argumentation. Often, a cause and effect analysis resembles a narrative. As revealed in Figure 21.6, three patterns of cause and effect prove useful: simple, chains, and multiple (433). Description This rhetorical patterns often involves using the five senses--sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste (426-27). However, in situations where using the senses does not apply, some additional rhetorical devices to consider are: simile (427), metaphor (428) and onomatopoeia (428).
*Simile--"X is like Y"; "X is as Y"; simple comparison
*Metaphor--"X is Y" direct comparison
*Onomatopoeia--words sounding like what they describe
* Trope--using words outside of their literal meaning
Narrative This pattern describes a sequences of events that, in many ways, tells a way to illustrate your main point (425). Genres such as reviews, literary analyses, and rhetorical analyses use narrative to summarize or describe their subject. While genres such as proposals and reports use narrative to dramatize events and give a historical background, genres such as memoirs and profiles rely on narrative as the basis of organizing everything an audience reads.
Definitions are explanations of why and how someone uses a particular term (429). Sentence definitions are similar to those found in dictionaries while extended definitions start with a sentence and continue to explain the term further. Sentence definitions typically have three parts--definition of the term, category of the term, and distinguishing characteristics--while extended definitions have multiple techniques (429-30). This allows us to divide objects and people into groups to discuss them in more detail (431). Some writers designate a short paragraph for classification while other writers use it for their entire paper. Three ways writers use classification are: listing everything that fits into an entire group/category, deciding how to classify groups/categories, and sorting into major and minor groups/categories (431-32). Clearly, this involves noting the similarities and differences between two or more objects, places, or ideas (434). Writers who use the device often make columns to delineate characteristics belong to each item of comparison and contrast. Writers can also use this device to show how two or more items of comparison and contrast measure up to each other.

In the end, it is always good to see how you can combine rhetorical devices to suit your purposes for arguing a point. Narrative Pattern Set the Scene

Introduce a Complication

Evaluate the Complication

Resolve the Complication

State the Point ("moral of the story")
Strategies of Extended Definitions Word Origin (Etymology)

Examples (Context)

Negation (What something is not)


Similarities and Differences

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