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Rhetorical Terms/Devices


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Rhetorical Terms/Devices

Figurative language is the generic term for any artful deviation from the ordinary mode of speaking or writing. It is what makes up a writer’s style – how he or she uses language. The general thinking is that we are more likely to be persuaded by rhetoric that is interesting, even artful, rather than mundane. When John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” (an example of anastrophe), it was more interesting – and more persuasive – than the simpler, “Don’t be selfish.” Indeed, politicians and pundits use these devices to achieve their desired effect on the reader or listener nearly every time they speak. The stylistic elements in a piece of writing work to produce a desired effect related to the text’s (and author’s) purpose, and thus reveals the rhetorical situation.

In classical rhetoric, figures of speech are divided into two main groups:
Schemes — Deviation from the ordinary pattern or arrangement of words (transference of order).
Tropes — Deviation from the ordinary and principal meaning of a word (transference of meaning).

*Important Note: Words marked with an asterisk* are words for which it would be impossible for you to write 3 examples for your weekly vocabulary assignment. In those cases, please write only the definition, in your own words, and the rhetorical uses/effect of that device, or do what you are instructed to do under those words. Please mark these words that deviate from the ordinary assignment with an asterisk* when you type them on your page.

Common Schemes — Deviation from the ordinary pattern or arrangement of words (transference of order).

Schemes of Construction — Schemes of Balance

1. Parallelism — similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases, or clauses. This basic principle of grammar and rhetoric

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