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Rhetorical Techniques

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diction
the word choices made by a writer
figurative language
language employing one or more figures of speech
rhetoric
the art of presenting ideas in a clear, effective, and persuasive manner
rhetorical devices
literary techniques used to heighten the effectiveness of expression
rhetorical pattern
format or structure followed by a writer such as comparison/contrast or process analysis
structure
the arrangement or framework of a sentence, paragraph, or entire work
style
the choices a writer makes; the combination of distinctive features of a literary work
syntax
the manner in which words are arranged into sentences
theme
a central idea of a work
thesis
the primary position taken by a writer or speaker
tone
the attitude of a writer, usually implied, toward the subject or audience
absolute
a word free from limitations or qualifications (best, all, unique, perfect)
ad hominem argument
an argument attacking an individual's character rather than his or her position on an issue
allegory
a literary work in which characters, objects, or actions represent abstractions
allusion
a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize
analogy
a comparison of two different things that are similar in some way
anaphora
repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses
anecdote
a brief narrative that focuses on a particular incident or event
antithesis
a statement in which two opposing ideas are balanced
aphorism
a concise statement that expresses succinctly a general truth or idea, often using rhyme or balance
argumentation
a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by reason and logic, and asserts a position, belief or conclusion
assonance
repetition of similar vowel sounds, preceded and followed by different consonants, in the stressed syllables of adjacent words (ex: The sergeant asked him to bomb the lawn with hotpots.)
asyndeton
a construction in which elements are presented in a series without conjunctions (ex: They spent the day wondering, searching, thinking, understanding.)
balanced sentence
a sentence in which words, phrases, or clauses are set off against each other to emphasize a contrast (ex: If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.)
cause/effect
a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by its analysis of why something happens; often links situations and events in time, with causes preceding events
classification/division
a pattern of writing or speaking characterized by the process of breaking a whole into parts, and the often subsequent process of sorting individual items into categories
colloquialism
informal words or expressions not usually acceptable in formal writing
comparison/contrast
a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by, in its narrowest sense, how two or more things are similar and/or how two or more things are different
complex sentence
a sentence with one independent clause and at least one dependent clause
compound sentence
a sentence with two or more coordinate independent clauses, often joined by one or more conjunctions
compound-complex sentence
a sentence with two or more principal clauses and one or more subordinate clauses
conceit
a fanciful, particularly clever extended metaphor
concrete details
details that relate to or describe actual, specific things or events
connotation
the implied or associative meaning of a word
cumulative sentence (loose sentence)
a sentence in which the main independent clause is elaborated by the successive addition of modifying clauses or phrases
declarative sentence
a sentence that makes a statement or declaration
deductive reasoning
reasoning in which a conclusion is reached by stating a general principle and then applying that principle to a specific case
definition
a pattern of writing or speaking which strives to inform the audience on what a term means and how it is different from other terms in its class
denotation
the literal meaning of a word
description
a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by physical descriptions of a person, place or thing. It is a pattern that relies on the five senses to inform it
dialect
a variety of speech characterized by its own particular grammar or pronunciation, often associated with a particular geographical region
didactic statement
a statement with the primary purpose of teaching or instructing
dissonance
harsh, inharmonious, or discordant sounds
ellipsis
the omission of a word or phrase which is grammatically necessary but can be deduced from the context (ex: Some people prefer cats; others, dogs.)
ethos
the persuasive appeal of one's character, or credibility (usually deals with one's morals or values)
euphemism
an indirect, less offensive way of saying something that is considered unpleasant
exclamatory sentence
a sentence expressing strong feeling, usually punctuated with an exclamation mark
exemplification
a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by using one or more particular cases, or examples, to illustrate or explain a general point or an abstract concept
hyperbole
intentional exaggeration to create an effect
idiom
an expression in a given language that cannot be understood from the literal meaning of the words in the expression; or, a regional speech or dialect (ex: fly on the wall, cut to the chase)
imagery
the use of figures of speech to create vivid images that appeal to one of the senses
imperative sentence
a sentence that gives a command
implication
a suggestion an author or speaker makes without stating it directly
inductive reasoning
deriving general principles from particular facts or instances
inference
a conclusion based on premises or evidence
interrogative sentence
a sentence that asks a question
invective
an intensely vehement, highly emotional verbal attack
inverted syntax
a sentence constructed so that the predicate comes before the subject (ex: In the woods I am walking.)
irony
the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; or, incongruity between what is expected and what actually occurs
juxtaposition
placing two elements side by side to present a comparison or contrast
litotes
a type of understatement in which an idea is expressed by negating its opposite (describing a particularly horrific scene by saying, "It was not a pretty picture.")
logos
appeal to reason or logic
metaphor
a direct comparison of two different things
metonymy
substituting the name of one object for another object closely associated with it
mood
the emotional atmosphere of a work
motif
a standard theme, element, or dramatic situation that recurs in various works
narration
is a dominant pattern of writing or speaking which strives to tell a story by presenting events in an orderly, logical sequence; conventionally utilizes the first or third person perspective
non sequitur
an inference that does not follow logically from the premises
paradox
an apparently contradictory statement that actually contains some truth (ex: Whoever loses his life shall find it.)
parallelism
the use of corresponding grammatical or syntactical forms
parody
a humorous imitation of a serious work
parenthetical comment
a comment that interrupts the immediate subject, often to quality or explain
pathos
appeal to emotions; the quality in a work that prompts the reader to feel pity
personification
endowing non-human objects or creatures with human qualities or characteristics
process
a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by it's explanation of how to do something or how something occurs; presents a sequence of steps and shows how those steps lead to a particular result
rhetorical question
a question asked merely for rhetorical effect and not requiring an answer
sarcasm
harsh, cutting language or tone intended to ridicule
satire
the use of humor to emphasize human weaknesses or imperfections in social institutions
scheme
an artful deviation from the ordinary arrangement of words
simile
a comparison of two things using like, as, or other specifically comparative words
simple sentence
a sentence consisting of one independent clause and no dependent clause
synecdoche
using one part of an object to represent the entire object
trope
an artful deviation from the ordinary or principal signification of a word
understatement
the deliberate representation of something as lesser in magnitude than it is
vernacular
the everyday speech of a particular country or region, often involving nonstandard usage