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2011-08-29 22:42:00
Rhetorical Devices

AP English Lang
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  1. amplification
    involves repeating a word or expression while adding more detail to it, in order to emphasize what might otherwise be passed over. In other words, amplification allows you to call attention to, emphasize, and expand a word or idea to make sure the reader realizes its importance or centrality in the discussion.
  2. anacoluthon
    finishing a sentence with a different grammatical structure from that with which it began:
  3. anadiplosis
    repeats the last word of one phrase, clause, or sentence at or very near the beginning of the next. it can be generated in series for the sake of beauty or to give a sense of logical progression:
  4. anaphora
    is the repetition of the same word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences, commonly in conjunction with climax and with parallelism:
  5. antanagoge
    placing a good point or benefit next to a fault criticism, or problem in order to reduce the impact or significance of the negative point:
  6. antimetabole
    reversing the order of repeated words or phrases (a loosely chiastic structure, AB-BA) to intensify the final formulation, to present alternatives, or to show contrast
  7. antiphrasis
    one word irony, established by context
  8. apophasis
    (also called praeteritio or occupatio) asserts or emphasizes something by pointedly seeming to pass over, ignore, or deny it. This device has both legitimate and illegitimate uses. Legitimately, a writer uses it to call attention to sensitive or inflammatory facts or statements while he remains apparently detached from them
  9. aporia
    expresses doubt about an idea or conclusion. Among its several uses are the suggesting of alternatives without making a commitment to either or any
  10. aposiopesis
    stopping abruptly and leaving a statement unfinished
  11. apostrophe
    interrupts the discussion or discourse and addresses directly a person or personified thing, either present or absent. Its most common purpose in prose is to give vent to or display intense emotion, which can no longer be held back
  12. appositive
    a noun or noun substitute placed next to (in apposition to) another noun to be described or defined by the appositive. Don't think that appositives are for subjects only and that they always follow the subject. The appositive can be placed before or after any noun
  13. assonance
    similar vowel sounds repeated in successive or proximate words containing different consonants
  14. asyndeton
    consists of omitting conjunctions between words, phrases, or clauses. In a list of items, asyndeton gives the effect of unpremeditated multiplicity, of an extemporaneous rather than a labored account
  15. catachresis
    is an extravagant, implied metaphor using words in an alien or unusual way. While difficult to invent, it can be wonderfully effective
  16. chiasmus
    might be called "reverse parallelism," since the second part of a grammatical construction is balanced or paralleled by the first part, only in reverse order. Instead of an A,B structure (e.g., "learned unwillingly") paralleled by another A,B structure ("forgotten gladly"), the A,B will be followed by B,A ("gladly forgotten"). So instead of writing, "What is learned unwillingly is forgotten gladly," you could write, "What is learned unwillingly is gladly forgotten." Similarly, the parallel sentence, "What is now great was at first little," could be written chiastically as, "What is now great was little at first." Here are some examples
  17. conduplicatio
    resembles anadiplosis in the repetition of a preceding word, but it repeats a key word (not just the last word) from a preceding phrase, clause, or sentence, at the beginning of the next.
  18. diacope
    repetition of a word or phrase after an intervening word or phrase as a method of emphasis:
  19. Dirimens Copulatio
    mentioning a balancing or opposing fact to prevent the argument from being one-sided or unqualified
  20. distinctio
    is an explicit reference to a particular meaning or to the various meanings of a word, in order to remove or prevent ambiguity
  21. enthymeme
    is an informally-stated syllogism which omits either one of the premises or the conclusion. The omitted part must be clearly understood by the reader. The usual form of this logical shorthand omits the major premise
  22. enumeratio
    detailing parts, causes, effects, or consequences to make a point more forcibly
  23. epanalepsis
    repeats the beginning word of a clause or sentence at the end. The beginning and the end are the two positions of strongest emphasis in a sentence, so by having the same word in both places, you call special attention to it
  24. epistrophe
    (also called antistrophe) forms the counterpart to anaphora, because the repetition of the same word or words comes at the end of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences
  25. epithet
    is an adjective or adjective phrase appropriately qualifying a subject (noun) by naming a key or important characteristic of the subject, as in "laughing happiness," "sneering contempt," "untroubled sleep," "peaceful dawn," and "lifegiving water." Sometimes a metaphorical epithet will be good to use, as in "lazy road," "tired landscape," "smirking billboards," "anxious apple." Aptness and brilliant effectiveness are the key considerations in choosing epithets. Be fresh, seek striking images, pay attention to connotative value.
  26. epizeuxis
    repetition of one word (for emphasis)
  27. eponym
    substitutes for a particular attribute the name of a famous person recognized for that attribute. By their nature eponyms often border on the cliche, but many times they can be useful without seeming too obviously trite. Finding new or infrequently used ones is best, though hard, because the name-and-attribute relationship needs to be well established. Consider the effectiveness of these
  28. exemplum
    citing an example; using an illustrative story, either true or fictitious
  29. A Sentential Adverb
    is a single word or short phrase, usually interrupting normal syntax, used to lend emphasis to the words immediately proximate to the adverb. (We emphasize the words on each side of a pause or interruption in order to maintain continuity of the thought.)
  30. hyperbaton
    includes several rhetorical devices involving departure from normal word order. One device, a form of inversion, might be called delayed epithet, since the adjective follows the noun. If you want to amplify the adjective, the inversion is very useful
  31. hyperbole
    the counterpart of understatement, deliberately exaggerates conditions for emphasis or effect. In formal writing the hyperbole must be clearly intended as an exaggeration, and should be carefully restricted. That is, do not exaggerate everything, but treat hyperbole like an exclamation point, to be used only once a year. Then it will be quite effective as a table-thumping attention getter, introductory to your essay or some section thereof
  32. hypophora
    consists of raising one or more questions and then proceeding to answer them, usually at some length. A common usage is to ask the question at the beginning of a paragraph and then use that paragraph to answer it
  33. hypotaxis
    using subordination to show the relationship between clauses or phrases (and hence the opposite of parataxis)
  34. litotes
    a particular form of understatement, is generated by denying the opposite or contrary of the word which otherwise would be used. Depending on the tone and context of the usage, litotes either retains the effect of understatement, or becomes an intensifying expression. Compare the difference between these statements
  35. metabasis
    consists of a brief statement of what has been said and what will follow. It might be called a linking, running, or transitional summary, whose function is to keep the discussion ordered and clear in its progress
  36. metanoia
    qualifies a statement by recalling it (or part of it) and expressing it in a better, milder, or stronger way. A negative is often used to do the recalling
  37. metonymy
    is another form of metaphor, very similar to synecdoche (and, in fact, some rhetoricians do not distinguish between the two), in which the thing chosen for the metaphorical image is closely associated with (but not an actual part of) the subject with which it is to be compared
  38. oxymoron
    is a paradox reduced to two words, usually in an adjective-noun ("eloquent silence") or adverb-adjective ("inertly strong") relationship, and is used for effect, complexity, emphasis, or wit
  39. parallelism
    is recurrent syntactical similarity. Several parts of a sentence or several sentences are expressed similarly to show that the ideas in the parts or sentences are equal in importance. Parallelism also adds balance and rhythm and, most importantly, clarity to the sentence
  40. parataxis
    writing successive independent clauses, with coordinating conjunctions, or no conjunctions
  41. parenthesis
    a final form of hyperbaton, consists of a word, phrase, or whole sentence inserted as an aside in the middle of another sentence
  42. pleonasm
    using more words than required to express an idea; being redundant. Normally a vice, it is done on purpose on rare occasions for emphasis
  43. polysyndeton
    is the use of a conjunction between each word, phrase, or clause, and is thus structurally the opposite of asyndeton. The rhetorical effect of polysyndeton, however, often shares with that of asyndeton a feeling of multiplicity, energetic enumeration, and building up
  44. Procatalepsis
    by anticipating an objection and answering it, permits an argument to continue moving forward while taking into account points or reasons opposing either the train of thought or its final conclusions. Often the objections are standard ones
  45. scesis onomaton
    emphasizes an idea by expressing it in a string of generally synonymous phrases or statements. While it should be used carefully, this deliberate and obvious restatement can be quite effective
  46. sententia
    quoting a maxim or wise saying to apply a general truth to the situation; concluding or summing foregoing material by offering a single, pithy statement of general wisdom
  47. symploce
    combining 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
  48. synecdoche
    is a type of metaphor in which the part stands for the whole, the whole for a part, the genus for the species, the species for the genus, the material for the thing made, or in short, any portion, section, or main quality for the whole or the thing itself (or vice versa)
  49. zeugma
    includes several similar rhetorical devices, all involving a grammatically correct linkage (or yoking together) of two or more parts of speech by another part of speech. Thus examples of zeugmatic usage would include one subject with two (or more) verbs, a verb with two (or more) direct objects, two (or more) subjects with one verb, and so forth. The main benefit of the linking is that it shows relationships between ideas and actions more clearly
  50. allegory
    the device of using character and story elements symbolically to represent an abstractionin addition to the literal meaning.
  51. antecedent
    the word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun.
  52. aphorism
    a terse statement of known authorship which expresses a general truth or a moral principle.
  53. atmosphere
    the emotional mood created by the entirety of a literary work, established partly by the setting and partly by the author's choice of objects that are described.
  54. caricature
    a verbal description, the purpose of which is to exaggerate or distort, for comic effect, a person's distinctive physical features or other characteristics.
  55. clause
    a grammatical unit that contains both a subject and a verb.
  56. colloquial/colloquialism
    the use of slang or informalities in speech or writing.
  57. conceit
    a fanciful expression, usually in the form of an extended metaphor or surprising analogy between seemingly dissimilar objects.
  58. connotation
    the non-literal, associative meaning of a word
  59. denotation
    the strict, literal, dictionary definition of a word.
  60. didactic
    from the greek, didactic means "teaching." Didactic words primary aim of teaching or instructing.
  61. euphemism
    are a more agreeable or less offensive substitute for a generally unpleasant word or concept.
  62. extended metaphor
    a metaphor developed at great length, occuring frequently
  63. homily
    this term literally means "sermon," but more informally, it can conclude any serious talk, speech, or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice.
  64. invective
    an emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack, using strong language
  65. loose sentence, non-periodic sentence
    a type of sentence in which the main idea comes first, followed by dependent grammatical units such as phrases and clauses.
  66. paradox
    a statement that appears to be self-contradictory or opposed to common sense but upon closer inspection contains some degree of truth
  67. parody
    a work that closely imitates the style or content of another with the specific aim of comic effect and or ridicule
  68. periodic sentence
    opposite of loose sentence, a sentence that presents its central meaning in a main clause at the end.
  69. rhetorical modes
    • this flexible term describes the variety, the conventions, and the purposes of the major kinds of writing. Four common rhetorical modes:
    • 1. Purpose of exposition
    • 2. Purpose of argumentation
    • 3. Purpose of description
    • 4. Purpose of narration
  70. satire
    a work that targets human vices and follies or social institutions and conventions for reform or ridicule
  71. semantics
    the branch of linguistics that studies the meaning of words and many other things
  72. synesthesia
    when one kind of sensory stimulus evokes the subjective experience of another