20 terms

Rhetorical Devices (terms 1-20)

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Ad homienem argument
This term comes from the Latin phrase meaning "to the man." It refers to an argument that attacks the opposing speaker or another person rather than addressing the issue at hand.
Allegory
A(n) (blank) is a fictional work in which the characters represent ideas or concepts. In Paul Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," for example, the characters named Faithful, Mercy and Mr. Worldly Wiseman are clearly meant to represent types of people rather than be characters in their own rights.
Alliteration
(Blank) is the repetition of consonant sounds, usually at the beginning of of words. For example, the repeated "c" and "t" sounds in the following sentence, "The tall tamarack trees shaded the cozy cabin," are examples of (blank).
Allusion
A(n) (blank) is a reference, usually oblique or faint, to another thing, idea or person. For example, in the sentence, "She faced the challenge with Homeric courage," the term "Homeric" is a(n) (blank) to Homer's works "The Illiad" and "The Odyssey."
Ambiguity, Ambiguous
When something is (blank), it is uncertain or indefinite: it is the subject of more than one interpretation. For example, you might say, "The poet's use of the word is (blank)," to begin to discuss multiple meanings suggested by the use of the word and to indicate that there is an uncertainty of interpretation.
Analogy
(Blank) asks a reader to think about the correspondence or resemblance between two things that are essentially different. For example, if you say, " The pond was as smooth as a mirror," you ask your audience to understand two different things "pond" and "mirror"--as being similar in some fashion.
Antecedent
Every pronoun refers back to a previous noun or pronoun--the (blank) : "(blank)" is the grammatical term for the noun or pronoun from which another pronoun derives its meaning. For example in the sentence, "The car he wanted to buy was a green one," the pronoun "one" derives its meaning from the (blank) "car."
Antithesis
(Blank) is an opposition or contrast of ideas that is often expressed in balanced phrases or clauses. For example, "Whereas she was boisterous, I was reserved" is a sentence that balanced two (blank) observations.
Apostrophe
A(n) (blank) is a figure of speech in which an absent person or personified object is addressed by the speaker. For example, "love" is personified and addressed as though present in the sentence, "Oh love, where have you gone?"
Apotheosis
The word (blank) is derived from the Greek word meaning to deify. (Blank) occurs in literature when a character or a thing is elevated to such a high status that appears godlike.
Appositive
An appositive is a word or phrase that follows a noun or pronoun for emphasis or clarity. Apositives are usually set off by commas. For example, in the sentence, "The luxury train, The Orient Express, crosses Europe from Paris to Istanbul in just twenty-six hours," the name "The Orient Express" is the appositive for "train."
Assonance
(Blank) is a type of internal rhyming in which vowel sounds are repeated. For instance, listen to the (blank) used by the repeated short "o" sounds in the phrase, "the pot's rocky, pocked surface."
Asyndeton
(Blank) occurs when the conjunctions that would normally connect a string of words, phrases or clauses are omitted from a sentence. For example, the sentence "I came, I saw, I conquered," employs (blank).
Atmosphere
(Blank) is the emotional feeling--or mood--of a place, scene or event. In Toni Morrison's "Beloved," the opening chapters convey a(n) (blank) of lonliness and grief.
Attitude
(Blank) descirbes the feeling of a particular speaker or piece of writing toward a person, subject or idea. This expression is often used as a synonym for tone.
Bathos
(Blank) is false or forced emotion that is often humorous. Whereas pathos draws upon deep emotion, (blank) takes this emotion to such an extreme that the reader finds it humorous rather than touching
Contrast
Writers often use (blank), or oppositions, to elaborate ideas. (Blank) help writers to expand on their ideas by allowing them to show both what a thing is and what it is not. Take, for instance, images of light and darkness: a reader may better appreciate what it means to have light when considering its absence--darkness.
Diction
(Blank) refers to an author's choice of words. For instance, in the sentence, "That guy was really mad!" the author uses informal (blank) ("guy," "mad"), whereas in the sentence, "The gentleman was considerably irritated," the author uses more elevated (blank) ("gentleman," "irritated"). A writer's (blank) contributes to the tone of a text.
Elegiac, Elegy
A(n) (blank) is work (of music, literature, dance or art) that expresses sorrow. It mourns the loss of something, such as the death of a loved one.
Ethos
(Blank) is the characteristic spirit or ideal that informs a work. In "The Country of the Pointed Firs" by Sarah Orne Jewett, for instance, the (blank) of a work is derived from the qualities of the inhabitants, who are described as both noble and caring. (Blank) also refers more generally to ethics, or values. In rhetorical writing, authors often attempt to persuade readers by appelsing to their sense of (blank), or ethichal principles.