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abstract language

language expressing a quality apart from a specific object or event; opposite of concrete language

ad hominem

"against a man"; attacking the arguer rather than the argument or issue

ad populum

"to the people"; playing on the prejudices of the audience


The device of using character and/or story elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in addition to the literal meaning.


The repetition of sounds, especially initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words (as in "she sells sea shells").


A direct or indirect reference to something which is presumably commonly known, such as an event, book, myth, place, or work of art.


The multiple meanings, either intentional or unintentional, of a word, phrase, sentence, or passage.


A similarity or comparison between two different things or the relationship between them.


repetition of a word or phrase


The word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun.


the opposition or contrast of ideas; the direct opposite.

appeal to tradition

a proposal that something should continue because it has traditionally existed or been done that way


A terse statement of known authorship which expresses a general truth or a moral principle. (If the authorship is unknown, the statement is generally considered to be a folk proverb.)


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 may add familiarity or emotional intensity.


a process of reasoning and advancing proof about issues on which conflicting views may be held; also, a statement or statements providing support for a claim


The emotional nod created by the entirety of a literary work, established partly by the setting and partly by the author's choice of objects that are described.


those who will hear an argument; more generally, those to whom a communication is addressed

authoritative warrant

a warrant based on the credibility or trustworthiness of the source


a respectable, reliable source of evidence


the assurances upon which a warrant or assumption is based

begging the question

making a statement that assumes that the issue being argued has already been decided


a verbal description, the purpose of which is to exaggerate or distort, for comic effect, a person's distinctive physical features or other characteristics.

cause and effect

reasoning that assumes one event or condition can bring about another


A crossing parallelism where the second part of a grammatical construction is balanced or paralleled by the first part, only in reverse order.


the conclusion of an argument; what the arguer is trying to prove

claim of fact

a claim that asserts something exists, has existed, or will exist, based on data that the audience will accept as objectively verifiable

claim of policy

a claim asserting that specific courses of action should be instituted as solutions to problems

claim of value

a claim that asserts some things are more or less desirable than others


A grammatical unit that contains both a subject and a verb.


a worn-out expression or idea, no longer capable of producing a visual image provoking thought about a subject


The use of slang or informalities in speech or writing.

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