Rhetorical Strategies


alliteration
repetition of initial consonant letters (or sounds) in two or more different words across successive sentences, clauses, or phrases.

anacoluthon
a change in grammatical structure within a sentence. The writer starts with one structure, but ends in another. A change of syntax within a sentence.
Anadiplosisa figure of repetition that occurs when the last word or terms in one sentence, clause or phrase is/are repeated at or very near the beginning of the next sentence, clause, or phrase


anaphora
A rhetorical figure of repetition in which the same word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of successive lines, clauses, or sentences.

anastrophe
Inversion of the natural or usual word order
antistrophe/epistropherepetition of the same word or phrase at the end of successive clauses

antithesis
A figure of speech characterized by strongly contrasting words, clauses, sentences, or ideas; a balancing of one term against another for emphasis.

aporia
Expression of doubt (often feigned) by which a speaker appears uncertain as to what he should think, say, or do.

aposiopesis
An abrupt breaking off in the middle of a sentence without the completion of the idea, often under the stress of emotion.

Assonance
Repetition of a vowel sound within two or more words in close proximity

apostrophe
A figure of speech in which someone absent or dead or something nonhuman is addressed as if it were alive and present and could reply

archaism
A word, expression, spelling, or phrase that is out of date in the common speech of an era, but still deliberately used by a writer, poet, or playwright for artistic purposes

cacophony
A harsh, discordant, unpleasant sounding choice and arrangement of sounds

asyndeton
Commas used (with no conjunction) to separate a series of words. The parts are emphasized equally when the conjunction is omitted; in addition, the use of commas with no intervening conjunction speeds up the flow of the sentence. Asyndeton takes the form of X, Y, Z as opposed to X, Y, and Z.
catachresisA harsh metaphor involving the use of a word beyond its strict sphere.

chiasmus
A statement consisting of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed (“Susan walked in, and out rushed Mary.”) ABBA

euphemism
An indirect, less offensive way of saying something that is considered unpleasant

parallelism
Also referred to as parallel construction or parallel structure, this term comes from Greek roots meaning “beside one another.” It refers to the grammatical or rhetorical framing of words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs to give structural similarity. This can involve, but is not limited to, repetition of a grammatical element such as a preposition or verbal times: it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of believe, it was the epoch of incredulity….”)

polysyndeton
Deliberate use of many conjunctions in close succession, especially where some might be omitted. Hemingway and the Bible both use extensively. Ex. “he ran and jumped and laughed for joy”
symplocecombining anaphora and epistrophe, so that one word or phrase is repeated at the beginning and another word or phrase is repeated at the end of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences

paradox
A statement that appears to be self-contradictory or opposed to common sense but upon closer inspection contains some degree of truth or validity.

litotes
A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite.

synecdoche
A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword).

metonymy
A figure of speech in which a word represents something else which it suggests. For example in a herd of fifty cows the herd might be referred to as fifty head of cattle

hyperbole
A figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor

hyperbaton
A generic term for changing the normal or expected order of words
hendiadysExpressing a single idea by two nouns instead of a noun and its qualifier. A method of amplification that adds force.

zeugma
A minor device in which two or more elements in a sentence are tied together by the same verb or noun. This device is especially acute if the noun or verb does not have the exact same meaning in both parts of the sentence. She dashed His hopes and out of his life when she waked through the door.

analogy
A comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and for the purpose of explanation or clarification.

scesis onomaton
emphasizes an idea by expressing it in a string of generally synonymous phrases or statements
exemplumCiting an example; using an illustrative story, either true or fictitious.

rhetorical question
A question asked merely for effect with no answer expected.

simile
A comparison using like or as

personification
A figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes

oxymoron
A compact paradox in which two successive words seemingly contradict each other

metaphor
A direct comparison between two unlike things, saying one thing is another, using the “to be” verb, not “like” or “as.”
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