Rhetorical Terms Mrs. Gypton
Allusion • A brief reference to a person, event, or place, real or fictitious, or to a work of art. Casual reference to a famous historical or literary figure or event. An allusion may be drawn from history, geography, literature, or religion.
Example • “Dover Beach” • The Sophocles reference
Symbolism • Using an object or action that means something more than its literal meaning
Example • In The Lord of the Flies, Ralph with his conch shell represents order and democracy, while Jack symbolizes savagery and anarchy. • The island itself symbolizes the world in which we live, and the actions of the characters are symbolic of the way different people conduct their lives.
Metaphor • Comparison of two unlike things using the verb "to be" and not using like or as as in a simile
Examples • Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. Shakespeare, Macbeth* • . . . while he learned the language (that meager and fragile thread . . . by which the little surface corners and edges of men's secret and solitary lives may be joined for an instant now and then before sinking back into the darkness. .) Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!
Simile • Is the comparison of two unlike things using like or as
Example • *Let us go then, you and I, While the evening is spread out against the sky, Like a patient etherized upon a table... T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Anaphora • The deliberate repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several successive verses, clauses, or paragraphs. One of the devices of repetition, in which the same phrase is repeated at the beginning of two or more lines.
Example • Martin Luther King Jr • “I have a dream” • Julius Caesar • “Brutus was an honorable man”
Irony • The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning;or, incongruity between what is expected and what actually occurs.
Example • Dramatic example: Oedipus Rex by Sophocles in which Oedipus searches to find the murderer of the former king of Thebes, only to discover that it is himself, which is known to the audience all along. • Verbal example: Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare "Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man
Polysyndeton • The repetition of connectives or conjunctions in close succession for rhetorical effect
Example • “Dover Beach” • “So various, so beautiful, so new” • “…nor love, nor light, nor certitude, no peace, nor help for pain”
Ad hominem • An argument attacking an individual’s character rather than his or her position
Example • Bill: "I believe that abortion is morally wrong.” • Dave: "Of course you would say that, you're a priest." • Bill: "What about the arguments I gave to support my position?” • Dave: "Those don't count. Like I said, you're a priest, so you have to say that abortion is wrong. Further, you are just a lackey to the Pope, so I can't believe what you say."
Example • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe A religious allegory in which the lion is a personified Jesus. Can you name another one? • A form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance, and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas as charity, greed, or envy. Thus an allegory is a story with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.
Litotes • The speaker either strengthens or weakens the emphasis of the claim by denying its opposite, understatement.
Examples • "... no ordinary city." Acts 21:39 (NIV) • "That [sword] was not useless / to the warrior now." (Beowulf)･ • "O Oedipus, unhappy Oedipus!" (Oedipus the King) • "The food was not bad.” • "Reaching the moon was no ordinary task."
Aphorism • A statement of some general principal, expressed memorably by condensing great wisdom into few words. • Example: Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely- Lord Acton
Circular Reasoning • To claim that A cause B simply because it preceded it. • Example: Every time I wash my car it rains • Who can tell me which logical fallacy this is?????
Connotation • The emotional impact of the word • Example: which is worse fat or chubby?
Loose sentence • When the main point is put at the beginning with a string of details added • Example: • I am willing to pay slightly higher taxes for the privilege of living in Canada, considering the free health care, the cheap tuition fees, the low crime rate, the comprehensive social programs, and the wonderful winters.
Periodic sentence • Details are added inside the basic statement. • Example: • Love, as everyone knows except those who happen to be afflicted with it, is blind.
Syntax • Arrangement of words in a sentence or sentences in a paragraph to create an effect.
Alliteration • Repetition of the same sound beginning several words in sequence. • Examples: • *Let us go forth to lead the land we love. • J. F. Kennedy, Inaugural • *Viri validis cum viribus luctant. Ennius • *Veni, vidi, vici. Julius Caesar
Anecdote • A brief narrative describing an interesting or amusing event
Chiasmus • From the name of the Greek letter "χ", a figure of speech consisting of the contrasting of two structurally parallel syntactic phrases arranged "cross-wise", i.e. in such a way that the second is in reverse order from the first. • Those gallant men will remain often in my thoughts and in my prayers always. MacArthur
Conceit • An elaborate or unusual comparison • Often recognized by an extended metaphor
Didactic • Writing that is preachy or seeks overtly to teach a specific point or lesson
Epithet • A term used as a descriptive and qualifying substitute for the name of a person, place or thing
Oxymoron • Using contradiction in a manner that oddly makes sense on a deeper level. Simple or joking examples include such oxymora as jumbo shrimp, sophisticated rednecks, and military intelligence. • Also called a paradox
Parable • A story or short narrative designed to reveal allegorically some religious principle, moral lesson, psychological reality, or general truth
Pun • A play on two words similar in sound but different in meaning
synecdoche • A rhetorical device where one part of an object is used to represent the whole. • "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.
Syllepsis • A specialized form of zeugma in which the meaning of a verb cleverly changes halfway through a sentence
Tautology • The same idea repeated in different words
Zeugma • Artfully using a single verb to refer to two different objects grammatically, or artfully using an adjective to refer to two separate nouns, even though the adjective would logically only be appropriate for one of the two • Kill the boys and the luggage." (The verb kill normally wouldn't be applied to luggage.) If the resulting grammatical construction changes the verb's initial meaning, the zeugma is sometimes called syllepsis.