Deliberate Practice: Rhetorical Devices

Deliberate Practice: Rhetorical Devices
Deliberate Practice Rhetorical Devices
Roman Tablet with Inscription — Image by © Araldo de Luca/CORBIS

Most of these are taken From Mary Forsyth’s Elements of Eloquence or  Ward Farnsworth’s Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric.

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NameExamplesNotes
Ablaut ReduplicationBish  bash bosh, ding dong, hip hop, tit for tat, flip flopAlways has to be in the order : I A  O
Add numbersSeven by sevenNumbers just seem mysterious and significant, even when they are not.
Adjective orderLovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knifeOpinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material, purpose.
AdynatonBlood out of a stone, camel through the eye of a needle, pig flying, Hell freezing overStating something impossible
AlliterationFive times the fearful fiend fled.Paroemion is overuse of alliteration
AnacoenosisWould you buy a car from this man? What have the Rromans ever done for us?Where an answer a certain way is likely
Anacoluthonbreaking off a sentence so the first half you write…tthe second part is grammatically different
AnadiplosisFor your brother and my sister no sooner met but they looked no sooner looked but the loved no sooner loved but they sighedRepetition of the last word of the line of the clause to begin the next. Can lead to climax
AnaphoraWe shall fight them… (Churchill)   I have a dream … (Martin Luther King)   Fog everywhere , fog up the river , fog. (Dickens)   What the hammer, what the chain, what the furnace was thy brain? (Blake)Start each sentence with the same words. Very powerful. Use sparingly . Usually people only remember the anaphora
AntanaclasisI’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.A repeated word changes its meaning.
AnthypophoraYou ask what is our policy? I will say…Answering your own questions
AntithesisX is y; not x is not Y.Journalism is unreadable: literature is unread .immature poets imitate: mature poets steal.
AntonomasiaHey pointy ears! Give that stick to fart-arse.Using a nickname in place of a name
ApodoxisI won’t dignify that with a responseindignant rejection of a foe’s argument
ApoplanesisHave you been smoking? Look!  a bee!A quick change of subject
AporiaAre you Lonesome tonight? Will you still love me tomorrow? Who is that girl running around with you?Asking a question you don’t expect the answer to. Breaking off into a personal debate
AposiopesisIf I could only…Not finishing your sentence
ApostropheYou are a fart. Ye gods!Changing the implied addressee
AssonanceDeep heat, blue moonEnglish has lots of schwa vowels so not as easy
AsyndetonSilent, mournful, abandoned, brokenAvoiding conjuctions
AuxesisAnd study or revenge…and courage never to submit and what else…Cranking things up. climax and hyperbole fall within auxesis
BlazonOverdoing the similes. So a person becomes a scrapbook of similes
CatachresisSpeak daggers. Dance me to the end of love. A bad case of loving youUse words out of category to shock
ChiasmusTea for two and two for tea .    I’ve got money on my mind and my mind in money.   Judge not that ye be not judged.   The moving finger writes and having writ moves on.   By day the frolic and the dance by night (time, activity: activity, time),   I see trees of green, red roses too (plant, colour: colour, plant).   In Xanadu did Khubla Khan (a,a,u:u,a,a) beneath  the thunders of the upper deep (I,u,u, o, I, u , I)Symmetry
ClimaxGood wine makes good blood, good blood causes good humours, good humours cause good thoughts, good thoughts create good works, and good works carry a man to heaven, so good wine carries a man to heavenMounting through linked words (means ladder)
ConcessionYou’re drunk! Yes, and you’re ugly, but in the morning I’ll be soberAdmitting a minor point to gain a more important one: “Yes, but…”
CongeriesSee dickens and ShakespeareHeaps, lists, can be nouns or adjectives. Usually without a verb
DiacopeBurn baby, burn. Bond, James Bond. Fly my pretties, flyRepeat a word after a brief interruption
DialysisEither you were stealing from the company, or you did it by accident. If the former you’re a crook, if the latter, you’re an idiot. Either way you’re firedSetting out disjunctive alternatives
DiazeumgaThe man in the dock killed my wife, abused my children, stole my dog, beat my hamsterOne subject governing multiple verbs
EnargiaPicture the scene, the lavender, the incense, the warm sunpainting a scene
EnumeratioOne for the money, two for the showNumbering off
EpanalepsisThe king is dead; long live the king.   Man’s inhumanity to man.   Nothing will come of nothing.   Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!Beginning and ending a phrase with the same word
EpimoneDeath and devils! men, it is Moby Dick ye have seen – Moby Dick! – Moby Dick!Repetition of phrases (not just words that’s epizeuxis)
EpiplexisWhy, God, why? What’s the point?An expression of puzzled grief
EpistropeA fine woman, a fair woman, a sweet woman. Government of the people, by the people , for the peopleEnding each sentence, clause or paragraph with the same word . Anaphora backwards
EpizeukisWeak, weak, weak. Location, location, location. Tiger , tiger burning brightRepeating a word with exactly the same sense. Usually x3
Erotesis / ErotemaAnd did those feet in ancient time, walk upon England s mountains green.”   “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”A question that isn’t a question
HendiadysThe noise and the city,   Summertime and the living is easy.   Out of the goodness of his heart.   Grace and FavourMaking two nouns out of a noun and an adjective . Hard to work out. It inflates one thing into two. 
HorismusMan is an ape who tells jokesA pithy  definition
HypallageAll your base are belong to usMuddling up agreement of grammar  of words
HyperbatonA green great dragon,   One swallow does not a summer makeWrong word order
HyperboleExaggerating
HypophoraCan he do it? Yes he can…A question immediately answered aloud.  A whole series of questions.
HypotaxisLong sentences with lots of clauses like Bruno Shultz or Ray Russell  (Henry James, William Faulkner…)
IronyLovely weather we’re having in pouring rainAn untruth both parties agree is untrue.
IsocolonMarry in haste, repent at leisure. Roses are red. Violets are blue. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t have any part of.Two clauses of sentences that are the same in structure
KairosTiming
LitotesNot inconsiderable.   Franz Liszt plays the piano a little.   Antarctic explorers saying ‘it’s not warm’Understatement using a negative
MerismThe long and the short and the tall,   Beneath the moon or under the sun.Naming the parts. Redundant and unnecessary
MetanoiaI hate you. No, I don’t hate you. I pity you.Saying something then retracting it
MetaphorEyes as green as emeraldsLinking two things by similarity
MetonomyThe Vatican or Whitehall to represent the governments. A bit of skirt,   Mr Eye PatchDescribing someone by what they are physically touching
OccultatioBecause I’m a nice guy, I’m not going to embarrass youPretending you’re not going to talk about something then doing so
ParadoxAll the sinners are saints   The sound of silence,   The first shall be last, and the last firstMostly paradoxes aren’t, but these are
ParataxisI bought a cow. The cow was black. She gave milk.Simple sentences with full stops one after the other. Hemingway liked it. Orwell liked it.
ParoemionToo much alliterationToo much alliteration
Periodic sentencesEvery breath you take, every move you make, every blah you blah, I’ll be watching youLong clauses with the verb finally
PersonificationDuty calls, money talks, sleep beckons, fire-eyed fury, the iron tongue of midnightAn idea or object as a person
Pleonasm3 kinds: Redundancy   Gather together, lift up, from whence.   2: Redundancy Again   free gift, foreign import, added bonus.   3: For emphasis   The inaudible and noiseless foot of time;   how weary, stale, flat and unprofitable.Unnecessary words
PloceI’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier.    I’ve got ham but I’m not a hamsterGeneral repetition
PolyptotonSmile a lovely smile.   Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung   Which alters when it alteration finds   Handle towards my hand,Using a different form of the same word root.
PolysyndetonChaining together sentences with conjunctions
ProgressioA long lineA long sequence of antitheses.  The best of times, the worst of times. Age of foolishness a time of hope…
ProlepsisThey fuck your up, your mum and dad.   Nobody heard him, the dead man.   They are not long, the days of wine and roses .Using a pronoun before the noun to excite mystery. Can be like “The man stood on the deck…”  before you  ‘the man’s
Scesis OnomatonLondon. Lamps all lighted.   In victory: magnanimityNo verb. Sets eternal scene. Timeless
SubjectioDo you think the speed limit doesn’t apply to you?    Do you think Mr Mars Ellis Wallace is a bitch?A series of questions like a barrister
SyllepsisCover yourself in dust and glory,   Take your hat and take your leave   Mirrors on the ceiling and champagne on ice (subtle)Punning  the different senses the same word can be used in
SymploceMuch of what I say might sound bitter, but it’s the truth. Much of what I say might sound like it’s stirring up trouble, but it’s the truth. Much of what I say might sound like it’s hate, but it’s the truthAnaphora and epistrophe used in the same sentence.
SynaesthesiaShe smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight.   The salt taste of memory (strong to an abstract)   The smell of victoryOne sense is described in terms of another . Stronger if it compares relates to an abstract
Synathroesmusitsy-bitsy teeny-weeny,   He schemed, he plotted, he lied, he stole, he raped, he killed and he parked..heaping up of words, sometimes similar (verbs)
SynecdocheA top brain, a keen heart.   What immortal hand or eye?   The face that launched a thousand shipsReferring to a body part to represent someone. Fragments that narrate a whole story
SynthetonTruth and justice,   Liberty and livelihoodjoined by a conjuction
SystropheHe’s the greatest, fantastic, ace, amazingA pile up of qualities.
TmesisAbso-fucking-lutelySticking a word in the middle of word
Transferred EpithetClumsy helmets, unkindest cut, muttering shadows, restless nights, lonely streetsUsually an emotion transferred to their environment . A street can’t really be lonely.
TricolonI came; I saw; I conquered.    Sun, sea and sexThree. But also set up a pattern and break it.   Better if 3 item is longer Sam Leith an ascending tricolon Friends, Romans, Countrymen . 1 syllable, 2 syllables, 3 syllables
ZeugmaTom likes whisky, Harry wine, and Bill port. The good end happily and the bad unhappily.Tricolon crecens, terms get longer, tricolon diminuens, they get shorter
ConduplicatioA bad cause will ever be supported by bad means and bad menRepetition of the same word but separated by other words

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