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AP Rhetorical Strategies Examples

STUDY
PLAY
ad hominem
"A prosecutor asks the judge to not admit the testimony of a burglar because burglars are not trustworthy."

Person L says argument A.
Person L's circumstance or character is not satisfactory.
Argument A is not a good argument.
faulty analogy
"Look at that guy there who is wearing the leather jacket and baggy pants. His attire conclusively proves that he must be a gangster."
begging the question
"If such actions were not illegal, then they would not be prohibited by the law."
non sequitur
"Steven Johnson grew up in poverty. Therefore, he will make a fine President of the United States."
slippery slope
"If we pass laws against fully-automatic weapons, then it won't be long before we pass laws on all weapons, and then we will begin to restrict other rights, and finally we will end up living in a communist state. Thus, we should not ban fully-automatic weapons."
either-or
"Either you are a part of the problem or a part of the solution."
adage
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
aphorism
"Lost time is never found again."
maxim
"Give him an inch and he'll take a mile."
"Better be safe than sorry."
epitaph
"Death is the golden key that opens the palace of Eternity."
proverb
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
allegory
"Faith is like a stony uphill climb: a single stumble might send you sprawling but belief and steadfastness will see you to the very top."
symbolism
The phrase "a new dawn" does not talk only about the actual beginning of a new day but also signifies a new start, a fresh chance to begin and the end of a previous tiring time.
archetype
Romeo and Juliet are an archetype of eternal love and a star-crossed love story.
alliteration
"The Wicked Witch of the West went her own way."
assonance
"A long song."
consonance
"Pitter patter."
onomatopoeia
"Zip!"
"Pop!"
"Vrrrroooom."
cacophony
"Garfield guts squeezing and oozing all over the place."
"The sound of a bunch of different instruments tunning all at once."
euphony
"The sounds of the ripples of water."
allusion
"It's no wonder everyone refers to Mary as another Mother Teresa in the making; she loves to help and care after people everywhere- from the streets to her own friends."
anachronism
"The clock hath stricken three." However, the mechanical clock had not yet been invented.
ambiguity
"I promise I'll give you a ring tomorrow." giving someone a ring has many different meanings
double-entendre
"Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half."
"New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group"
abstract
"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired."
concrete or concise
"At middle age the soul should be opening up like a rose, not closing up like a cabbage."
(opposite of abstract)
digression
moving away from the main topic
periphrasis
Instead of simply saying "I am displeased with your behavior", one can say, "the manner in which you have conducted yourself in my presence of late has caused me to feel uncomfortable and has resulted in my feeling disgruntled and disappointed with you."
circumlocution
Instead of writing "he arrived for dinner at 8 pm" the author writes, "8 pm was when he reached the dinner party."
simile
"He is like a mouse in front of the teacher."
metaphor
"Henry was a lion on the battlefield."
epithet
"Alexander the Great"
kenning
"tramp stamp"
personification
"The raging winds"
"The wise owl"
"The warm and comforting fire"
anthropomorphism
"The raging storm brought with it howling winds and fierce lightning as the residents of the village looked up at the angry skies in alarm."
analogy
"My younger brother is to me as I am to my older brother."
conceit
"A lover's love is compared to a compass for drawing circles."
extended metaphor
"My life is like a river. Sometimes rough and rapid. Longing for some release. Trying to calm the storm. Waiting for the sun to shine overhead. Looking for the rainbow in the sky. My life is like a river. I like the gentle bends. I like the smooth waters. They bring me peace and joy. I do not like the rocks and currents. They are struggles in my life."
antithesis
"When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon it might have been one small step for a man but it was one giant leap for mankind."
juxtaposition
putting two contrasting things together
anitclimax
"The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money."
"Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends."
apposition
"Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn, grew lean while he assailed the seasons."
hyperbole
"I am so tired I cannot walk another inch."
"I'm so sleepy I might fall asleep standing here."
understatement
The phrase, "Oh! I wonder if he could get any later; I am free all day long". Said in a sarcastic tone it indicates that the speaker obviously means the opposite of the literal meaning.
litote
"She's not the brightest girl in the class." (She's stupid!)
metonymy
"The B.L.T. left without paying."
(waitress referring to a customer)
synecdoche
"All hands on deck."
asyndeton
"Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." (no conjunctions)
polysyndeton
"Here and there and everywhere."
hubris
excessive pride or arrogance that results in the downfall of the protagonist of a tragedy
diction
the tone of an author's writing
semantics
the study of the meaning of words "I love...." could mean many different things
denotation
expressing a meaning or the significance of a part of a story in a straightforward, clear-cut manner
"He packed his bags and made his way out of the house, leaving his old life behind forever."
connotation
literary device wherein the intended meaning is not stated clearly and is instead conveyed through covert, indirect means
"And once again, the autumn leaves were falling." (This phrase uses 'autumn' to signify something coming to an end.)
dialects
different forms of the same language that have unique words, meanings, and pronounciations
colloquialism
type of slang word or phrase "Y'all"
jargon
the language use in certain groups
slang
"Yo! Wassup?"
euphemisms
instead of saying one died, one might say "He passed on."
idioms
"Spill the beans."
"Jump the gun."
cliches
"What goes around, comes around."
(Burnt out sayings)
epic
tells the story of a heroic figure
elegy
poems about death or some type of loss
eulogy
A speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, typically someone who has just died.
fable
a short moral story (often with animal characters)
anecdote
A short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person.
forshadowing
the use of clues to hint at events that will occur later in the plot
flashback
a transition (in literary or theatrical works or films) to an earlier event or scene that interrupts the normal chronological development of the story
deus ex machina
something that resolves problems in the plot
harangue
noisy, attacking speech
homily
a sermon on a moral or religious topic
invective
abusive or venomous language used to express blame or censure or bitter deep-seated ill will
synesthesia
describing one kind of sensation in terms of another ("a loud color", "a sweet sound")
verbal irony
occurs when what is said contradicts what is meant or thought
situational irony
occurs when the outcome of a work is unexpected, or events turn out to be the opposite from what one had expected
dramatic irony
(theater) irony that occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play
persona
the speaker, voice, or character assumed by the author of a piece of writing
pseudonym
a name that hides a person's identity
voice
"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
malpropism
"Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."
pun
"I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me."
motif
A recurring theme, subject or idea
romanticism
a literary movement with an emphasis on the imagination and emotions
realism
the attribute of accepting the facts of life and favoring practicality and literal truth
naturalism
an extreme form of realism
local color
writing which presents the mannerisms, dress, speech and customs of a particular geographical region
gothic fiction
genre combining elements of horror and romance
melodrama
a literary form in which events are exaggerated in order to create an extreme emotional response
parody
make a spoof of or make fun of
epigram
a short, witty saying
"I am not young enough to know everything."
stream of consciousness
a literary genre that reveals a character's thoughts and feeling as they develop by means of a long soliloquy
dramatic monologue
A type of poem in which a speaker addresses a silent listener. As readers, we overhear the speaker in a dramatic monologue.
apostrophe
address to an absent or imaginary person
soliloquy
in drama, a character speaks alone on stage to allow his/her thoughts and ideas to be conveyed to the audience
aside
a line spoken by an actor to the audience but not intended for others on the stage
paralepsis
emphasizing a point by seeming to pass over it
"Why I outta....!"
aposiopesis
when the speaker or writer deliberately stops short and leaves something unexpressed, but yet obvious, to be supplied by the imagination
apophasis
mentioning something by saying it will not be mentioned
paradox
An apparently contradictory statement that actually contains some truth
oxymoron
"Act naturally."
lampoon
ridicule with satire
farce
a comedy characterized by broad satire and improbable situations
burlesque
a composition that imitates somebody's style in a humorous way
picaresque
a humerous novel about one's journeys
syllogism
deductive reasoning in which a conclusion is derived from two premises
antimetabole
the repetition of words in successive clauses in reverse grammatical order
chiasmus
a statement consisting of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed ("Susan walked in, and out rushed Mary.")
zeugma
"You are free to execute your laws, and your citizens, as you see fit."
auxesis
Arranging words or clauses in a sequence of increasing force
anadiplosis
repetition of the last word of one clause at the beginning of the following clause
anaphora
repetition of a word or phrase as the beginning of successive clauses
epiphora
repetition of the ends of two or more successive sentences, verses, etc.
epistrophe
the repetition of a group of words at the end of successive clauses
inversion
the reversal of the normal order of words
anastrophe
Inversion of the usual order of words
slice of life
a term that describes the type of realistic or naturalistic writing that accurately reflects what life is like.
verisimilitude
the quality of appearing to be true, real, likely, or probable
poetic justice
rewarding the good, punishing the bad
whimsy
the trait of acting unpredictably and more from whim or caprice than from reason or judgment
isocolon
use of parallel structures of the same length in successive clauses