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Rhetorical devices at a glance. Definitions and examples included.

Marty Hodge

on 7 May 2015

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Transcript of Rhetoric

Thank you for your attention!
Don't tell your parents!
And one more thing...
To build rhetoric, you must know rhetoric; to use rhetoric, you must understand rhetoric
The intentional repetition of beginning clauses in order to create an artistic effect.
Using opposite phrases in close conjunction.
Subject 3
Subject 3
For instance, Churchill declared, "We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on the end. We shall fight in France. We shall fight on the seas and oceans. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost shall be." The repetition of "We shall. . ." creates a rhetorical effect of solidarity and determination.
Examples might be, "I burn and I freeze," or "Her character is white as sunlight, black as midnight." The best antitheses express their contrary ideas in a balanced sentence. It can be a contrast of opposites: "Evil men fear authority; good men cherish it." Alternatively, it can be a contrast of degree: "One small step for a man, one giant leap for all mankind."
The act of addressing some abstraction or personification that is not physically present.
Not to be confused with the punctuation mark, apostrophe is the act of addressing some abstraction or personification that is not physically present: For instance, John Donne commands, "Oh, Death, be not proud." King Lear proclaims, "Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend, / More hideous when thou show'st thee in a child / Than the sea-monster." Death, of course, is a phenomenon rather than a proud person, and ingratitude is an abstraction that hardly cares about Lear's opinion, but the act of addressing the abstract has its own rhetorical power.
The artistic elimination of conjunctions in a sentence to create a particular effect.
Using no conjunctions to create an effect of speed or simplicity: Veni. Vidi. Vici. "I came. I saw. I conquered." (As opposed to "I came, and then I saw, and then I conquered.") Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt.
Using many conjunctions to achieve an overwhelming effect
Opposite: Polysyndeton
This term, I am taking biology and English and history and math and music and physics and sociology." All those ands make the student sound like she is completely overwhelmed!
Using a mild or gentle phrase instead of a blunt, embarrassing, or painful one.)
For instance, saying "Grandfather has gone to a better place" is a euphemism for "Grandfather has died." The idea is to put something bad, disturbing, or embarrassing in an inoffensive or neutral light.
The trope of exaggeration or overstatement.
"His thundering shout could split rocks." Or, "Yo' mama's so fat. . . ."
That's a joke :o)
Using a vaguely suggestive, physical object to embody a more general idea.
The metonym
in reference to royalty or the entire royal family
is mightier than the
" to suggest that the power of education and writing is more potent for changing the world than military force.
We use metonymy in everyday speech when we refer to the entire movie-making industry as the L. A. suburb "
We refer to Walstreet businessmen as "
Journalists use metonymy to refer to the collective decisions of the United States government as "
the suggestion, by deliberately concise treatment of a topic, that much of significance is being omitted, as in “not to mention other faults.”
When the writer establishes similar patterns of grammatical structure and length.
For instance, "King Alfred tried to make the law clear, precise, and equitable." The previous sentence has parallel structure in use of adjectives. However, the following sentence does not use parallelism: "King Alfred tried to make clear laws that had precision and were equitable."
If the writer uses two parallel structures, the result is
isocolon parallelism
"The bigger they are, the harder they fall."
A rhetorical trope involving a part of an object representing the whole, or the whole of an object representing a part.
If there are three structures, it is
tricolon parallelism
"That government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth."
"Twenty eyes watched our every move." Rather than implying that twenty disembodied eyes are swiveling to follow him as he walks by, she means that ten people watched the group's every move.
When a captain calls out, "All hands on deck," he wants the whole sailors, not just their hands.
When a cowboy talks about owning "forty head of cattle," he isn't talking about stuffed cowskulls hanging in his trophy room, but rather forty live cows
Asking a rhetorical question to the reader; often the question is asked in order to get a definite answer from the reader--
Rhetorical Question
The opposite of exaggeration.
"I was somewhat worried when the psychopath ran toward me with a chainsaw."
I was terrified!
Now, do not simply go forth, go forth boldly, confidently to read and to write in order to acquire information, to acquire knowledge, to acquire understanding of the past and the present and the future so that you-you-will be successful in all of your endeavors.
Okay, now we're really finished!
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