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Rhetorical Terms Master List
Terms in this set (80)
A similarity or comparison between two different things or the relationship between them.
A short narrative referring to an event within the life of a person
The repetition of sounds.
the omission or absence of a conjunction
(and, but, if, etc.) between parts of a sentence.
The multiple meanings, either intentional or unintentional, of a word, phrase,
sentence, or passage.
The device of using character and/or story symbolically to represent an abstraction in addition to
the literal meaning.
A direct or indirect reference to something which is presumably commonly known
Ex. "Plan ahead: it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark" - Richard Cushing
device of repetition, in which the same expression (word or words) is repeated at the beginning of two or more lines, clauses, or sentences.
The word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun.
a contrast or opposition between two things.
a pithy observation that contains a general truth, such as, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
A figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or a personified abstraction,
such as liberty or love. It is an address to someone or something that cannot answer. The effect is to give
vent to or display intense emotion,
The emotional mood created by the entirety of a literary work.
The use of slang or informalities in speech or writing.
A grammatical unit that contains both a subject and a verb. Can stand alone or be dependant upon another one of these.
To be logical and consistent
Rhetorical or literary figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order "Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds."
A fanciful expression, usually in the form of an extended metaphor or surprising analogy between
seemingly dissimilar objects.
an idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning.
The strict, literal, dictionary definition of a word, devoid of any emotion, attitude, or color.
Repetition of a word or phrase after an intervening word or phrase. (Ex: We will do it, I tell you; we will do it.)
The "clearness" of one's writing or speech.
To draw a reasonable conclusion from the information presented
the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
The fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect
A claim is made indirectly by denying its opposite. Example, "It was no mean feat" means it was quite hard.
A type of sentence in which the main idea comes first, followed by dependent grammatical units such as phrases and clauses
A comparison that establishes a figurative identity between objects being compared without using the words like or as.
A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated (such as "crown" for "royalty").
A literary element that evokes certain feelings or vibes in readers through words and descriptions.
The telling of a story or an account of an event or series of events.
Natural sounds are imitated in the sounds of words. Simple examples include such words as buzz, hiss, hum, crack, whinny, and murmur.
figure of speech wherein the author groups
contradictory terms appear in conjunction. Example "Modern dancing is so old fashioned."
A statement that appears to be self-contradictory or opposed to common sense but upon closer inspection contains some degree of truth or validity.
intended for instruction; inclined to teach or lecture
Figure of amplification in which a subject is divided into constituent parts; the listing or detailing of the parts of something. (Ex: I love her eyes, her hair, her nose, her cheeks, her lips.)
Figure of emphasis in which a single word or short phrase is used to lend emphasis to the words on either side of it. (Ex: in fact, of course, to be sure, indeed, I suppose, I hope)
More agreeable or less offensive substitute for a generally unpleasant word or concept. (Ex: "Earthly remains" instead of "corpse")
The purpose of this is to explain something.
A metaphor developed at great length, occurring frequently in or throughout the work.
Writing or speech that is not intended to carry literal meaning and is usually meant to be imaginative and vivid.
Figure of speech
Used to produce figurative language. Can compare dissimilar things. (these include apostrophe, hyperbole, irony, metaphor, paradox, and understatement.)
The features shown by texts that allow them to be put into a specific genre. (Stereotypes) For example, almost all Westerns use the Iconography of cowboy hats.
The major category in which literary work fits. Include: poetry, drama, horror, and romance.
Any serious talk, speech, or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice.
A figure of speech using deliberate exaggeration or overstatement.
Figure of reasoning in which one of more question is asked and then answered by the same speaker; raising and responding to one's own question. (Ex. "Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it's the answer to everything.")
An emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attach using strong, abusive language.
The sensory details or figurative language used to describe, arouse emotion, or represent abstractions.
Phrases or sentences of a similar construction/meaning placed side by side, balancing each other
A work that closely imitates the style or content of another with the specific aim of comic effect and/or ridicule.
An adjective that describes words, phrases, or general tone that is overly scholarly,
academic, or bookish
A sentence that presents its central meaning in a main clause at the end. "Ecstatic with my AP score, I let out a loud, joyful shout!"
A figure of speech in which the author presents or describes concepts, animals, or inanimate objects by endowing them with human attributes or emotions.
Figure of addition and emphasis which intentionally employs a series of conjunctions (FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) A persistence or intensity.
point of view
The perspective from which a story is told.
modifies the subject if the sentence; an adjective, group of adjectives, or adjective clause that follows a linking verb.
a noun, group of nouns, or noun clause that names the subject.
written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure.
The duplication, either exact or approximate, of any element of language, such as a sound, word, phrase, clause, sentence, or grammatical pattern.
the principles governing the art of writing effectively, eloquently, and persuasively.
the major kinds of writing. The four most common and their purposes are as follows: (1) exposition (or expository writing), (2) argumentation, (3) description, (4) narration
it is not answered by the writer because its answer
is obvious or obviously desired, and usually just a yes or no answer would suffice.
bitter, caustic language that is meant to hurt or ridicule someone or something. When well done, it can be witty and insightful.
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning
the way in which something is done; An evaluation of the sum of the choices an author makes in
blending diction, syntax, figurative language, and other literary devices.
the adjective, noun, or pronoun that follows a linking verb.
a clause, typically introduced by a conjunction, that forms part of and is dependent on a main clause (e.g., "when it rang" in "she answered the phone when it rang").
an instance of a form of reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn
the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities.
a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa, as in Cleveland won by six runs (meaning "Cleveland's baseball team").
the arrangment of words in a sentence
the subject of a talk, a piece of writing, a person's thoughts, or an exhibition; a topic.
a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved.
the writers attitude towards his or her subject or audience
A word or phrase that links different ideas
the presentation of something as being smaller, worse, or less important than it actually is.
An attitude that may lie under the ostensible tone of the piece. Under a cheery surface, for example, a
work may have threatening undertones.
mental sharpness and inventiveness; keen intelligence.
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