Glossary of rhetorical devices



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GLOSSARY OF RHETORICAL DEVICES


ALLUSION: (Rhetorical Device): A reference to a person, event, or place in history, religious texts, or literature. For example: "The Garden of Eden" is an allusion to the place in Genesis and often symbolizes perfection. It is used to connect ideas to literary or historical ideas, often to emphasize the validity of the idea

ANALOGY (Rhetorical Device): Uses comparison to develop an idea. Unlike metaphor and simile, it looks for "like" things to compare. It is used to illustrate or develop something hard to describe.

ANAPHORA: (Rhetorical Device): The repetition of the first few words in a series of sentences. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech "I Have a Dream" is an example of this. It creates emphasis and rhythm for a piece of writing.

ANECDOTE: (Rhetorical Device): A very short story (usually a paragraph) used to illustrate a point. Usually contains action & dialogue and is longer than an example. Often used in expository essays to develop an idea. Used in persuasive essays as one method of developing pathos. It can also be used as a "hook" to draw a reader into a story.

CLICHE: A dead metaphor. For example: Love is like a rose. It can be used ironically, but is typically avoided by good writers.

CONNOTATION: The implied or "contextual" meaning of a word. (See denotation.)

DEDUCTIVE REASONING: In persuasion, this is a "logical" reasoning process that starts with general claims and then moves to specific instances to prove those claims. For example: Drag racing is harmful; last week a police officer was killed by drag racers. (See inductive reasoning.) This is used to argue logically.


DENOTATION: The dictionary definition of a word. (See connotation.)

DICTION: (Rhetorical Device): Word choice. Choice of words is one way in which to establish ethos in persuasion. Diction develops tone and style.

ETHOS: This is one corner of the "rhetorical triangle." In persuasion, this is the "ethical" appeal. It is created through devices (such as quotes from experts, personal credentials, establishment of common ground, avoidance of logical fallacies) to create this ethical appeal. A writer aims to make a reader trust him/her by creating ethos.(See logos and pathos.)

EXAMPLE: (Rhetorical Device); An example proves or develops your thesis. In expository essays it helps us understand a concept. In persuasion, it's used as "evidence" to prove a point. Example is typically shorter than an anecdote-one or to sentences as opposed to a paragraph (it also doesn't contain any scene material such as action or dialogue). This can create interest or emotion in a reader.

EXTENDED METAPHOR: (Rhetorical Device): A metaphor that is extended and used throughout an essay. You return to it multiple times and use it to develop your thesis. This can work like analogy to teach, or it can create humor, sarcasm, or tone.

FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE: These devices deviate from the standard meaning of words in order to create a special effect. Metaphor, simile, and personification are the most common forms. See metaphor, simile, personification

HOOK: (Rhetorical Device created through other devices): This device is created through the use of other devices such as anecdotes, quotes, startling fact, shocking statement, etc. Used to draw a reader into your essay.


IMAGE: (Rhetorical Device): Anything that can be related to with one of the five senses. If you can smell it, touch it, taste it, see it, or hear it, it's an image. Image connects a reader to an idea because it is a physical thing. It can be used to create emotion in a reader as well.

INDUCTIVE REASONING: In persuasion, this is a "logical" reasoning process that uses specific facts to arrive at general principals. For example: If drag racing drivers end up in accidents, then drag racing is harmful. (See deductive reasoning.) This is used to argue logically.

LOGICAL FALLACIES: Problems in logical argument. Include: "hasty generalizations," "non sequiturs," "false analogies," "either. .. or fallacies," "bandwagon appeals," etc. An author may use these to try and unfairly convince a reader of something.
LOGOS: This is one corner of the "rhetorical triangle." In persuasion, this is the "logical" appeal. It is created through devices (such as facts, statistics, quotes from experts, refutation, and deductive and inductive reasoning) to create this logical appeal. (See pathos and ethos.) This creates a logical argument.

METAPHOR: (Rhetorical Device): The comparison of two or more unlike things. This is a direct comparison and creates a "transformation." For example: She is an aspen, slim in the wind. The "tenor" is "she" or the woman being described, and the vehicle is the "aspen"-the image used to describe the tenor. Metaphor aims to change our understanding of something by comparing it to something unexpected. You can transform an idea or thing with a comparison. For example, if I said "he is black ice" then I am suggesting he is dangerous and you may not see him coming. Metaphor is stronger than simile.


PATHOS: This is one corner of the "rhetorical triangle." In persuasion, this is the "emotional appeal. It is created through devices (such as anecdote and image) to create this emotional appeal. (See logos and ethos.) This creates an emotional argument.

PERSONIFICATION: (Rhetorical Device): The act of giving human attributes to inanimate objects. For example: The rock wept for weeks following the storm. This is used to help a reader identify with an inanimate object.

POINT OF VIEW & VIEWPOINT: In narratives, you choose 1 51 (I, we), 2nd (you) or 3rd (he, she, it, they) for your point of view. You also choose a "viewpoint character." Who is telling this narrative? Point of View can be used to sympathize with one side, to create distance, or to create closeness.

PRIMARY SOURCE: In Research: This is taking information from someone directly involved. For example, interviewing someone at the scene of an accident who saw it happen, or who was in the accident. (See secondary source.) This can be used to develop an idea or argument.

REFUTING THE OPPONENT: (Rhetorical Device created through other devices): In Persuasion: This directly addresses arguments for the other side, and then refutes, or proves them wrong, inadequate, etc. This is created through the use of facts, quotes from experts, examples, etc. This is used to logically argue.

REPETITION: (Rhetorical Device): The repeated use of a word. Used for emphasis or rhythm.


RHETORICAL MODE: A method of organization for an essay; Narration, Description, Cause and Effect, Example and Illustration, Process Analysis, Definition, Comparison and Contrast, Classification and Division, Persuasion. An author chooses his/her mode to develop his/her purpose.

SIMILE: (Rhetorical Device): A comparison of two or more unlike things using a comparative word such as "like" or "as." For example: She is as slim as an aspen tree. Simile aims to change our understanding of something by comparing it to something unexpected. You can create new "qualities" for an idea or thing with a comparison. For example, if I said "he is slick as black ice" then I am suggesting he is dangerous and you may not see him coming. I have created new qualities for him

SYMBOL: (Rhetorical Device): An image that represents a large or abstract idea. For example, the World Trade Center Towers symbolize America's vulnerability. Symbol is used to develop and represent an idea using an image

TONE: The writer's position toward the subject matter. For example, if I were arguing against oil drilling, my tone would reflect my position on the matter. Tone is typically created through diction, but image or figurative language can create tone too. Tone helps us understand the writer's stance on an issue.

VERBAL IRONY: A statement which express the opposite meaning from what is literally stated. For example: ''This is a nice day!" spoken during a hail storm. This is used to create sarcasm or humor.



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