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Rhetorical Schemes and Definitions

Parallelism

Similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases or clauses.

Isocolon

Use of parallel elements similar not only in structure, as in parallelism, but in length (that is, the same number of words or even syllables).

Tricolon

Sentence consisting of three parts of equal importance and length, usually three independent clauses. Sometimes called the "rule of threes."

Antithesis

The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas, often in parallel structure.

Anastrophe

Inversion of the natural or usual word order. (Yoda speak)

Parenthesis

Insertion of some verbal unit in a position that interrupts the normal syntactical flow of a sentence

Apposition

Placing side by side two coordinate elements, the second of which serves as an explanation or modification of the first.

Climax

The arrangement of words in order of increasing importance

Anticlimax

The arrangement of words in order of decreasing importance

Ellipsis

Deliberate omission of a word or group of words which are readily implied by the context. From the Greek for "to leave out" or "to fall short."

Asyndeton

Deliberate omission of conjunctions between a series of related words, phrases, or clauses.

Polysyndeton

The deliberate use of many conjunctions. From the Greek for "bound together."

Alliteration

Repetition of initial consonants in two or more adjacent words. From the Latin "putting letters together."

Assonance

The repetition of similar vowel sounds, preceded and followed by different consonants. From the Latin for "sound."

Anaphora

Repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginnings of successive clauses. From the Greek for "carrying back."

Antistrophe

The repetition of the same word or phrase at the end of successive clauses. From the Greek for "return."

Consonance

The repetition of the final consonant sounds of accented syllables or important words. From the Latin for "agree" + "sounds."

Epistrophe

The repetition of the same word or phrase at the end of successive clauses. From the Greek for "return."

Epanalepsis

Repetition at the end of a clause of the word(s) that occurred at the beginning of the clause. From the Greek for "repetition."

Anadiplosis

Repetition of the last word of one clause at the beginning of the following clause

Antimetabole

Repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order.

Chiasmus

Reversal of grammatical structure in successive phrases or clauses (literally, "the criss-cross"). Like antimetabole, but without the repetition. Think "reverse parallelism."

Polyptoton

Repetition of words derived from the same root. Similar to word play, but the words do not lose their original meaning.

Tautology

Needless repetition; or a statement that is unconditionally true by virtue of its form alone. From the Greek for "redundant."

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