Rhetorical Devices Prestwick

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Rhetorical Devices
By Douglas Grudzina
PowerPoint®
for the
Classroom
Rhetorical Devices PowerPoint, © December 2010
by Prestwick House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ISBN 978-1-935467-21-2
Item #: 308126
Table of Contents
Allusion (12 slides)
Amplification (11 slides)
Anadiplosis/Conduplicatio (10 slides)
Analogy (7 slides)
Anaphora/Epistrophe/Symploce (10 slides)
Antanagoge (6 slides)
Antithesis (11 slides)
Aporia (17 slides)
Apostrophe (8 slides)
Asyndeton/Polysyndeton (11 slides)
Chiasmus/Parallelism (13 slides)
Climax (5 slides)
Conduplicatio/Anadiplosis (10 slides)
Distinctio (15 slides)
Enumeratio (9 slides)
Epistrophe/Symploce/Anaphora (10 slides)
Epithet (14 slides)
Eponym (14 slides)
Exemplum (13 slides)
Hyperbaton (13 slides)
Table of Contents (cont.)
Hyperbole (8 slides)
Hypophora (11 slides)
Litotes (11 slides)
Metabasis (11 slides)
Metaphor (11 slides)
Metonymy/Synecdoche (19 slides)
Parallelism/Chiasmus (13 slides)
Parataxis (8 slides)
Parenthesis (10 slides)
Personification (9 slides)
Polysyndeton/Asyndeton (11 slides)
Procatalepsis (9 slides)
Rhetorical Question (9 slides)
Sententia (12 slides)
Simile (9 slides)
Symploce/Anaphora/Epistrophe (10 slides)
Synecdoche/Metonymy (19 slides)
Understatement (8 slides)
Zeugma (7 slides)
Allusion
You don’t have to be Holden Caulfield to appreciate
a good ALLUSION.
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Slide 1 of 12
Allusion
An allusion is a reference to some fairly well known event, place, or
person. The reference may appear in the form of a simile, metaphor,
analogy, or it may not be within any other rhetorical device at all.
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Slide 2 of 12
Allusion
An allusion is a reference to some fairly well known event, place, or
person. The reference may appear in the form of a simile, metaphor,
analogy, or it may not be within any other rhetorical device at all.
• Ever since the accident that killed her husband and son, the woman
across the street has lived bitter and secluded like Miss Havisham.
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Slide 3 of 12
Allusion
An allusion is a reference to some fairly well known event, place, or
person. The reference may appear in the form of a simile, metaphor,
analogy, or it may not be within any other rhetorical device at all.
• Ever since the accident that killed her husband and son, the woman
across the street has lived bitter and secluded like Miss Havisham.
• Ever since the accident that killed her husband and son, the woman
across the street—our neighborhood’s own Miss Havisham—has
never left her house.
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Slide 4 of 12
Allusion
The reference may be to history, literature, current events, mythology,
religion—whatever is likely to resonate with the reader and deliver the
intended meaning and effect. The purpose of allusion is to color the
meaning of the text, to draw on the reader’s prior knowledge, to
clarify or explain the point being made.
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Slide 5 of 12
Allusion
The reference may be to history, literature, current events, mythology,
religion—whatever is likely to resonate with the reader and deliver the
intended meaning and effect. The purpose of allusion is to color the
meaning of the text, to draw on the reader’s prior knowledge, to
clarify or explain the point being made.
• The devastation left by the storm is beyond tragic; it is apocalyptic.
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Slide 6 of 12
Allusion
The reference may be to history, literature, current events, mythology,
religion—whatever is likely to resonate with the reader and deliver the
intended meaning and effect. The purpose of allusion is to color the
meaning of the text, to draw on the reader’s prior knowledge, to
clarify or explain the point being made.
• The devastation left by the storm is beyond tragic; it is apocalyptic.
• The storm left in its wake a Brobdingnagian path of destruction.
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Slide 7 of 12
Allusion
The reference may be to history, literature, current events, mythology,
religion—whatever is likely to resonate with the reader and deliver the
intended meaning and effect. The purpose of allusion is to color the
meaning of the text, to draw on the reader’s prior knowledge, to
clarify or explain the point being made.
• The devastation left by the storm is beyond tragic; it is apocalyptic.
• The storm left in its wake a Brobdingnagian path of destruction.
• Such destruction hasn’t been seen since the fall of Troy.
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Slide 8 of 12
Allusion
In forming an allusion, keep your target audience in mind. If the
audience does not recognize the reference, the meaning of the allusion
will be lost as well.
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Slide 9 of 12
Allusion
In forming an allusion, keep your target audience in mind. If the
audience does not recognize the reference, the meaning of the allusion
will be lost as well.
• Scientists have reached further and further to unlock the secrets of
the universe. But there are those who would argue that like Icarus,
science ignores the ever-nearing sun at its own peril.
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Slide 10 of 12
Allusion
In forming an allusion, keep your target audience in mind. If the
audience does not recognize the reference, the meaning of the allusion
will be lost as well.
• Scientists have reached further and further to unlock the secrets of
the universe. But there are those who would argue that like Icarus,
science ignores the ever-nearing sun at its own peril.
• These tribes survive and even thrive, in spite of the fact that, like the
lilies in the field, they toil not.
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Slide 11 of 12
Allusion
In forming an allusion, keep your target audience in mind. If the
audience does not recognize the reference, the meaning of the allusion
will be lost as well.
• Scientists have reached further and further to unlock the secrets of
the universe. But there are those who would argue that like Icarus,
science ignores the ever-nearing sun at its own peril.
• These tribes survive and even thrive, in spite of the fact that, like the
lilies in the field, they toil not.
• The giant squid, at lengths of over 40 feet, are true Leviathans of the
underwater world.
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Slide 12 of 12
Amplification
AMPLIFICATION is an important device; more than
mere repetition, it’s an actual expansion of
the information already given.
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Slide 1 of 11
Amplification
In amplification, writers repeat something they’ve just said, while
adding additional detail and information.
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Slide 2 of 11
Amplification
In amplification, writers repeat something they’ve just said, while
adding additional detail and information.
• Next we come to the fruit fly—the drosophila melanogaster, that
tiny, insubstantial bug, on whom the foundations of biology have
rested for so long.
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Slide 3 of 11
Amplification
The main purpose of amplification is to focus the reader’s attention on
an idea he or she might otherwise miss. The amount added depends on
a number of factors:
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Slide 4 of 11
Amplification
The main purpose of amplification is to focus the reader’s attention on
an idea he or she might otherwise miss. The amount added depends on
a number of factors:
• details the writer wants to convey
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Slide 5 of 11
Amplification
The main purpose of amplification is to focus the reader’s attention on
an idea he or she might otherwise miss. The amount added depends on
a number of factors:
• details the writer wants to convey
• how important the idea is
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Slide 6 of 11
Amplification
The main purpose of amplification is to focus the reader’s attention on
an idea he or she might otherwise miss. The amount added depends on
a number of factors:
• details the writer wants to convey
• how important the idea is
• how likely it is that the additional information will be skimmed over
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Slide 7 of 11
Amplification
The main purpose of amplification is not to inform, but to emphasize:
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Slide 8 of 11
Amplification
The main purpose of amplification is not to inform, but to emphasize:
• It was a cold day, a wicked day, a day of biting winds and bitter
frost.
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Slide 9 of 11
Amplification
Amplification allows writers to emphasize an idea without being too
repetitive or heavy-handed.
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Slide 10 of 11
Amplification
Amplification allows writers to emphasize an idea without being too
repetitive or heavy-handed.
• Look to the genome for our future—a future free of disease and
aging.
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Slide 11 of 11
Anadiplosis/Conduplicatio
ANADIPLOSIS and CONDUPLICATIO are two
devices that repeat key words for emphasis, emphasis
that will drive home your key point.
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Slide 1 of 10
Anadiplosis/Conduplicatio
While repetition is often thought of as a bad technique in papers—
and many teachers warn against it—when used properly, it can be an
effective organizational and sound device. As it is with any strategy
or device, the key to using it is an awareness of the effect you are
trying to create and why.
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Slide 2 of 10
Anadiplosis/Conduplicatio
Anadiplosis takes the last word or words of a sentence, phrase, or
clause and repeats them near the beginning of the next sentence,
phrase, or clause.
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Anadiplosis/Conduplicatio
Anadiplosis places the repeated words or phrases adjacent to one
another, so the repetition is visually apparent as well audibly apparent.
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Slide 4 of 10
Anadiplosis/Conduplicatio
In education we find the measure of our own ignorance; in ignorance
we find the beginning of wisdom. In wisdom there is peace.
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Anadiplosis/Conduplicatio
The Confederate firing on Fort Sumter was unquestionably the
beginning of the war, a war that would last four years and claim
nearly 700,000 lives.
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Slide 6 of 10
Anadiplosis/Conduplicatio
Conduplicatio is similar, but it takes its key words from anywhere in
one sentence, clause, or phrase and repeats it at the beginning of the
next sentence, clause, or phrase.
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Slide 7 of 10
Anadiplosis/Conduplicatio
More than mathematical truth or scientific theory, the art of
communication is essential to the advancement of humanity and the
establishment of world peace. The art of communication is the only
means by which persons of diverse races, classes, and national
heritages can learn to respect one another.
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Slide 8 of 10
Anadiplosis/Conduplicatio
This proposed legislation, if it passes into law, will destroy thirty
years of achievement. Law should build up, not tear down.
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Slide 9 of 10
Anadiplosis/Conduplicatio
Seeing that they hear, do we not ask if they speak? Seeing that they
speak, do we not ask if they reason? Seeing that they reason, do we
not question whether we are more alike than not?
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Slide 10 of 10
Analogy
ANALOGY aids communication in the same way that a
musical score enhances entertainment.
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Slide 1 of 7
Analogy
The analogy is the somewhat more down-to-earth version of the
simile and metaphor. They all compare two ideas for the sake of
clarity or effect.
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Slide 2 of 7
Analogy
Perhaps the most useful form of the analogy is one in which a simple
object or idea is substituted for a more complex one to help your
readers understand the underlying premise.
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Analogy
When your enemy comes to you in pain, you must do whatever is in
your power to help ease that pain. For when a child comes to you in
pain, do you not do everything you can? Know then that in the eyes
of the Lord we are all His children.
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Slide 4 of 7
Analogy
An analogy might also be used to further elaborate on a point that is
already understood. Rather than substituting, the analogy furthers the
initial point, letting the reader see aspects of it that may have been
missed.
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Slide 5 of 7
Analogy
The desire for wealth, when unchecked, can lead only to great evil.
For though a man may begin with but a sip of wine, without restraint,
the urge will grow until one day he is a drunkard, blinded to all but
his need, taking whatever steps are needed to find his fix.
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Slide 6 of 7
Analogy
One good deed witnessed can rejuvenate an entire society in the same
way that a single bit of yeast makes the entire loaf of bread rise.
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Slide 7 of 7
Anaphora/Epistrophe/Symploce
Use ANAPHORA and EPISTROPHE for style.
Use ANAPHORA and EPISTROPHE for emphasis.
Use ANAPHORA and EPISTROPHE for clarity.
But use ANAPHORA.
SYMPLOCE repeats words and phrases as do
ANAPHORA and EPISTROPHE; SYMPLOCE improves
style and clarity as do ANAPHORA and EPISTROPHE.
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Slide 1 of 10
Anaphora/Epistrophe/Symploce
Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of
successive clauses or sentences:
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Slide 2 of 10
Anaphora/Epistrophe/Symploce
Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of
successive clauses or sentences:
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under
the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to
heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up…
— Ecclestiastes 1: 1-3
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Anaphora/Epistrophe/Symploce
Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of
successive clauses or sentences:
He has refused his Assent to Laws…
He has forbidden his Governors…
He has refused to pass other Laws…
He has called together legislative bodies…
He has dissolved Representative Houses…
He has refused…
He has endeavoured…
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice…
— from The Declaration of Independence
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Slide 4 of 10
Anaphora/Epistrophe/Symploce
Epistrophe is a close relative to anaphora; it is one in which the same
word or phrase is repeated at the end of successive clauses or
sentences:
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Slide 5 of 10
Anaphora/Epistrophe/Symploce
Epistrophe is a close relative to anaphora; it is one in which the same
word or phrase is repeated at the end of successive clauses or
sentences:
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I
thought as a child…
— 1 Corinthians 13: 11
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Slide 6 of 10
Anaphora/Epistrophe/Symploce
Epistrophe is a close relative to anaphora; it is one in which the same
word or phrase is repeated at the end of successive clauses or
sentences:
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I
thought as a child…
— 1 Corinthians 13: 11
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared
to what lies within us.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Anaphora/Epistrophe/Symploce
Symploce combines the structure and effect of the two previous
devices by repeating words or phrases at both the beginning and end
of successes clauses or sentences:
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Slide 8 of 10
Anaphora/Epistrophe/Symploce
Symploce combines the structure and effect of the two previous
devices by repeating words or phrases at both the beginning and end
of successes clauses or sentences:
Let England have its navigation and fleet—let Scotland have its
navigation and fleet—let Wales have its navigation and fleet—let
Ireland have its navigation and fleet—let those four of the constituent
parts of the British empire be under four independent governments,
and it is easy to perceive how soon they would each dwindle into
comparative insignificance.
— The Federalist No. 4
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Anaphora/Epistrophe/Symploce
Symploce combines the structure and effect of the two previous
devices by repeating words or phrases at both the beginning and end
of successes clauses or sentences:
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them…
— Alfred Lord Tennyson, from “The Charge
of the Light Brigade”
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Slide 10 of 10
Antanagogue
As a name for a rhetorical device ANTANAGOGUE might
indeed be a little intimidating, but it is such a useful
device that no effort learning to use it will be wasted.
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Slide 1 of 6
Antanagogue
Antanagoge is the device that allows the writer to acknowledge but
downplay negative points or points that are in opposition. This is done
by placing the negative point next to a stronger positive one.
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Slide 2 of 6
Antanagogue
Granted, reducing automobile emissions may cost manufacturers and
consumers a few dollars in the short run, but the benefits of a cleaner
earth and a healthier population are priceless.
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Antanagogue
She can be quick to anger, but when you’re in need, you’ll never find
a more loyal friend.
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Antanagogue
The car might cost a bit more than other models when it’s new, but it
more than pays for itself by not breaking down nearly so often as
cheaper ones do.
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Antanagogue
I know that in the past it has failed—and on occasion, failed
miserably—but advances in technology, massive investments from the
private sector, and a changed political climate all make the success of
this project much more likely.
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Antithesis
ANTITHESIS is a simple way to show a complex thought.
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Slide 1 of 11
Antithesis
Antithesis makes use of a contrast in language to bring out a contrast
in ideas. It is one of the most attractive and powerful tools in speech
and writing. Some of the most famous lines in modern history are
built on the antithesis:
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Slide 2 of 11
Antithesis
Antithesis makes use of a contrast in language to bring out a contrast
in ideas. It is one of the most attractive and powerful tools in speech
and writing. Some of the most famous lines in modern history are
built on the antithesis:
That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind...
— Neil Armstrong, July 20, 1969
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Slide 3 of 11
Antithesis
Antithesis makes use of a contrast in language to bring out a contrast
in ideas. It is one of the most attractive and powerful tools in speech
and writing. Some of the most famous lines in modern history are
built on the antithesis:
That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind...
— Neil Armstrong, July 20, 1969
…they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content
of their character.
— Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963
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Slide 4 of 11
Antithesis
Antithesis can help to point out fine distinctions between ideas by
presenting them together:
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Slide 5 of 11
Antithesis
Antithesis can help to point out fine distinctions between ideas by
presenting them together:
• Thoreau wrote that that which was legal was not always moral.
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Slide 6 of 11
Antithesis
Antithesis can help to point out fine distinctions between ideas by
presenting them together:
• Thoreau wrote that that which was legal was not always moral.
• The wise can do what the learned can only say.
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Slide 7 of 11
Antithesis
Antithesis can help to point out fine distinctions between ideas by
presenting them together:
• Thoreau wrote that that which was legal was not always moral.
• The wise can do what the learned can only say.
• Success might elude its pursuers, but happiness will not be pursued
at all.
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Antithesis
Antithesis can help to point out fine distinctions between ideas by
presenting them together:
• We must live within our limits, for we are men, not gods.
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Slide 9 of 11
Antithesis
Antithesis can help to point out fine distinctions between ideas by
presenting them together:
• We must live within our limits, for we are men, not gods.
• I speak not from ignorance, but from experience.
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Slide 10 of 11
Antithesis
Antithesis can help to point out fine distinctions between ideas by
presenting them together:
• We must live within our limits, for we are men, not gods.
• I speak not from ignorance, but from experience.
• War is not fought to achieve joy, but rather to avoid pain.
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Aporia
It’s possible that we don’t even need to discuss APORIA, but, then
again, it might prove to be a useful device.
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Aporia
Aporia is a device a writer will use to express doubt about an idea.
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Aporia
At its most basic level, aporia serves as a way for a writer to show
a number of different sides to an argument, without personally
committing to any:
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Aporia
At its most basic level, aporia serves as a way for a writer to show
a number of different sides to an argument, without personally
committing to any:
• I’m unsure whether to be in favor of harsher penalties or opposed
to them, as the arguments on both sides seem very strong.
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Aporia
On a more subtle level, a writer may use aporia to give a personal
opinion on something, while appearing to express ignorance or
uncertainty; it can also suggest an idea to the reader without the
writer taking responsibility for it.
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Aporia
On a more subtle level, a writer may use aporia to give a personal
opinion on something, while appearing to express ignorance or
uncertainty; it can also suggest an idea to the reader without the
writer taking responsibility for it.
• It is, certainly, premature to draw any conclusions until all of the
facts have been gathered, but it does seem as if…
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Slide 6 of 17
Aporia
On a more subtle level, a writer may use aporia to give a personal
opinion on something, while appearing to express ignorance or
uncertainty; it can also suggest an idea to the reader without the
writer taking responsibility for it.
• It is, certainly, premature to draw any conclusions until all of the
facts have been gathered, but it does seem as if…
• While the Senator’s admitted ties with organized crime and her
recent election fraud scandal might tempt some to demand her
removal from office, one cannot state with any certainty that ...
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Aporia
Unlike hypophora, which raises a legitimate objection and
legitimately points out its weaknesses, aporia can appear to
acknowledge criticism only to move on without any real discussion
of it.
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Aporia
I have heard that native deer populations in North America seem to
be on the decline, and I don’t know what to say about that. It is my
experience that these creatures have inundated our town.
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Aporia
While it is difficult, indeed, to argue with the evidence that points to
global climate change, one need only consider the record snowfalls
and low temperatures of the winter of 2010 to question any theoretical
model that cannot stand up to personal observation and experience.
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Slide 10 of 17
Aporia
As a reader, be aware of any time writers admit to not knowing
something:
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Slide 11 of 17
Aporia
As a reader, be aware of any time writers admit to not knowing
something:
• I don’t know…, but…
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Aporia
As a reader, be aware of any time writers admit to not knowing
something:
• I don’t know…, but…
• I am unaware of…
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Aporia
As a reader, be aware of any time writers admit to not knowing
something:
• I don’t know…, but…
• I am unaware of…
• I have often wondered…
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Aporia
Be aware also of vague, third-person qualifications:
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Aporia
Be aware also of vague, third-person qualifications:
• Sources do not agree…
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Aporia
Be aware also of vague, third-person qualifications:
• Sources do not agree…
• Experts have considerable doubt about…
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Slide 17 of 17
Apostrophe
Writers of the future, if you learn to use APOSTROPHE
well, you will all surely be powerful communicators.
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Slide 1 of 8
Apostrophe
Apostrophe is a rhetorical device in which the writer breaks out of the
flow of the writing to directly address an ideal or personified object. It
should not be confused with the punctuation mark of the same name,
to which it is completely unrelated.
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Slide 2 of 8
Apostrophe
Apostrophe is a rhetorical device in which the writer breaks out of the
flow of the writing to directly address an ideal or personified object. It
should not be confused with the punctuation mark of the same name,
to which it is completely unrelated.
• O, Wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being…
— Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind
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Slide 3 of 8
Apostrophe
Apostrophe is a rhetorical device in which the writer breaks out of the
flow of the writing to directly address an ideal or personified object. It
should not be confused with the punctuation mark of the same name,
to which it is completely unrelated.
O, Wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being…
— Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind
My country, ’tis of thee,…Of thee I sing…
— Samuel Francis Smith, from “America”
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Apostrophe
Because of the tone it lends to the writing, apostrophe is generally
considered inappropriate for formal, academic writing. It clearly
contributes to voice and tone, but it lends virtually nothing to clarity,
organization, or strength of argument.
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Slide 5 of 8
Apostrophe
Paris, you were my first love—sultry and secretive, beguiling and
shy. How I wanted to hold you forever as the sun went down that
summer day.
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Apostrophe
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved [Brutus].
— William Shakespeare, The Life of
Julius Caesar, III, ii
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Apostrophe
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
— Katharine Lee Bates, from “America
the Beautiful”
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Asyndeton/Polysyndeton
ASYNDETON is one of the best, most expressive, effective
rhetorical devices, while POLYSYNDETON is interesting
and instructional and stylish and fun.
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Slide 1 of 11
Asyndeton/Polysyndeton
Asyndeton and polysyndeton are two devices that add stylistic force
to your writing by handling conjunctions in non-standard ways.
Asyndeton leaves out conjunctions in a list or between clauses:
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Slide 2 of 11
Asyndeton/Polysyndeton
Asyndeton and polysyndeton are two devices that add stylistic force
to your writing by handling conjunctions in non-standard ways.
Asyndeton leaves out conjunctions in a list or between clauses:
• He was tall, dark, handsome, wealthy, well educated, intelligent.
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Slide 3 of 11
Asyndeton/Polysyndeton
Polysyndeton puts a conjunction after every item but the last:
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Asyndeton/Polysyndeton
Polysyndeton puts a conjunction after every item but the last:
• He was tall and dark and handsome and wealthy and well educated
and intelligent.
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Asyndeton/Polysyndeton
Asyndeton can give the impression that the list was spontaneously
put together, rather than planned and structured in a traditional way.
It also may suggest that the list isn’t quite finished, inviting the reader
to complete the list on his or her own.
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Asyndeton/Polysyndeton
Asyndeton can give the impression that the list was spontaneously
put together, rather than planned and structured in a traditional way.
It also may suggest that the list isn’t quite finished, inviting the reader
to complete the list on his or her own.
• They sat under one roof—princes, dukes, barons, earls, kings.
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Asyndeton/Polysyndeton
Although polysyndeton is the syntactic and stylistic opposite of
asyndeton, its effect is not necessarily the reverse.
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Asyndeton/Polysyndeton
Although polysyndeton is the syntactic and stylistic opposite of
asyndeton, its effect is not necessarily the reverse.
• The runner passed the ten-mile mark and the fifteen and the twenty,
while the finish line lay in wait for him.
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Asyndeton/Polysyndeton
Polysyndeton is also a sure way to give an important list of attributes
or ideas immediate force.
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Asyndeton/Polysyndeton
Polysyndeton is also a sure way to give an important list of attributes
or ideas immediate force.
• The banquet table was a riot of beef and pork and lamb and fish
and fresh vegetables and candied fruits and all sorts of wonderful
delicacies.
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Climax
CLIMAX is the structural device that allows you to build from
concept, to plan, to fully developed paper…
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Climax
Building to a climax is a way of organizing ideas in your writing so
that they proceed from the least to the most important. It is one of the
basic principles of structure.
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Climax
He began his career writing horoscopes for a local paper. By nineteen,
he was writing front-page stories. At twenty-two, he published his first
collection of short essays. And just nine days shy of his twenty-sixth
birthday, he won the Pulitzer for his work at The New York Times.
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Climax
Caution can be a useful human emotion. Fear tends to cloud our
better judgment. Anger turns us away from what we know to be
right. Hate overwhelms us and ultimately devours our humanity.
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Climax
Curiosity leads to discovery; discovery leads to knowledge;
knowledge leads to wisdom.
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Distinctio
This section on DISTINCTIO will be most informative—
informative in the sense that you will learn some new ideas,
as well as clarify some things you might have
thought you already knew.
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Distinctio
Distinctio is a rhetorical form in which the writer elaborates on the
meaning of a word, to make sure there is no misunderstanding:
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Distinctio
Distinctio is a rhetorical form in which the writer elaborates on the
meaning of a word, to make sure there is no misunderstanding:
• The defendant is charged with failure to stop; stopping means, of
course, a complete cessation of movement.
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Distinctio
Words in the English language tend to have multiple shades of
meaning:
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Distinctio
Words in the English language tend to have multiple shades of
meaning:
• denotative and connotative
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Distinctio
Words in the English language tend to have multiple shades of
meaning:
• denotative and connotative
• abstract and conceptual
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Distinctio
Words in the English language tend to have multiple shades of
meaning:
• denotative and connotative
• abstract and conceptual
• technical, professional, and jargon
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Distinctio
Words in the English language tend to have multiple shades of
meaning:
• denotative and connotative
• abstract and conceptual
• technical, professional, and jargon
• colloquial, idiomatic, and slang
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Distinctio
Distinctio allows you to specify for your reader exactly what you
mean.
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Distinctio
Protestors gathered outside of the Supreme Court building in the
nation’s capital today to demand justice for victims of violent crime,
“justice” being swift, harsh, and irrevocable retribution.
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Distinctio
We have but one simple goal: liberty—the right to do whatever we
please whenever we please with no interference from anyone.
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Distinctio
Distinctio allows the writer to defuse potential objections that might
result simply because the reader has a different understanding of an
ambiguous term.
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Distinctio
Communism, by which I mean the socialist communalism that comes
after the centralized state, has yet to be tried anywhere in the real
world.
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Distinctio
At this point, we have a short time left—short in astronomical terms,
less than five hundred years.
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Distinctio
Is the software easy to use or difficult? In other words, can my
grandmother learn it, or do I need an expert in computer science?
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Enumeratio
This section will cover two essential ideas: what ENUMERATIO
is, and when it is appropriately used.
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Enumeratio
Enumeratio refers to the act of supplying a list of details or
examples about an introduced topic. It is used structurally to
expand on a central idea, lending force to that idea by enumerating
its many different facets.
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Enumeratio
The form can simply be a list of single words related to the central
point:
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Enumeratio
The form can simply be a list of single words related to the central
point:
• I went to the mall, the park, the river, the salon, and, finally, home.
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Enumeratio
It can also go into greater detail in a point-by-point analysis:
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Enumeratio
It can also go into greater detail in a point-by-point analysis:
There are three main reasons we should pay attention to: first, the
impact on our home town could be substantial; second, as voting
citizens, we have a responsibility to keep abreast of changes in the
political structure; and third, if no one pays attention to these things,
politicians will have carte blanche to do whatever they choose.
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Enumeratio
There are plenty of great sites to visit in Washington, D.C. You
can go to the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson
Memorial, the National Gallery, the Smithsonian, the Library of
Congress, Ford’s Theatre, and the International Spy Museum, to
name just a few.
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Enumeratio
Enumeratio may also be effectively combined with hypophora as
an introduction. You can first ask a question whose answer involves
numerous details and then proceed to list them. This is essentially the
structure of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s most famous poem:
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Enumeratio
Enumeratio may also be effectively combined with hypophora as
an introduction. You can first ask a question whose answer involves
numerous details and then proceed to list them. This is essentially the
structure of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s most famous poem:
• How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
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Epithet
You’ll probably study EPITHET with a fascinated interest.
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Epithet
Epithet is a common stylistic device that can be easily overused.
On its most basic level, it involves attaching an adjective or adjective
phrase to a noun to make the noun clearer or more vivid.
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Epithet
Epithet is a common stylistic device that can be easily overused.
On its most basic level, it involves attaching an adjective or adjective
phrase to a noun to make the noun clearer or more vivid.
• The skillful pilot safely landed the plane.
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Epithet
Transfer epithets combine adjectives and nouns in unexpected ways
for surprising effects. In a well-constructed transferred epithet, the
writer is actually helping the reader to see the noun in a new light.
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Epithet
Transfer epithets combine adjectives and nouns in unexpected ways
for surprising effects. In a well-constructed transferred epithet, the
writer is actually helping the reader to see the noun in a new light.
• The redemptive clouds hovered close to the parched horizon.
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Epithet
Transfer epithets combine adjectives and nouns in unexpected ways
for surprising effects. In a well-constructed transferred epithet, the
writer is actually helping the reader to see the noun in a new light.
• The redemptive clouds hovered close to the parched horizon.
• The seedling withered under the glare of the unforgiving sun.
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Epithet
Consider what the writer is implying in these three transferred
epithets describing heat:
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Epithet
Consider what the writer is implying in these three transferred
epithets describing heat:
• murky heat
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Epithet
Consider what the writer is implying in these three transferred
epithets describing heat:
• murky heat
• stupefying heat
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Epithet
Consider what the writer is implying in these three transferred
epithets describing heat:
• murky heat
• stupefying heat
• industrious heat
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Epithet
Part of the beauty of an epithet is the ability to surprise and entertain
your reader.
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Epithet
Part of the beauty of an epithet is the ability to surprise and entertain
your reader.
• The foreperson paused for an interminable second before
announcing the jury’s verdict.
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Epithet
Part of the beauty of an epithet is the ability to surprise and entertain
your reader.
• The foreperson paused for an interminable second before
announcing the jury’s verdict.
• A healing wind blew through the tormented town.
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Epithet
Part of the beauty of an epithet is the ability to surprise and entertain
your reader.
• The foreperson paused for an interminable second before
announcing the jury’s verdict.
• A healing wind blew through the tormented town.
• The defense proposed a mesmerizing argument.
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Eponym
Learn to use EPONYM, and soon you’ll be a regular Hemingway.
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Eponym
An eponym is similar to an allusion, but it refers to a specific person
in order to link his or her attributes with someone or something else.
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Eponym
Representative Monroe speaks so well, she is often called the Abe
Lincoln of the General Assembly.
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Eponym
Eponyms should be used sparingly and not overworked. Beware also
of relying on overused and clichéd references that add nothing to your
reader’s understanding.
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Eponym
Eponyms should be used sparingly and not overworked. Beware also
of relying on overused and clichéd references that add nothing to your
reader’s understanding.
• What we need is an honest candidate, a George Washington, who
cannot tell a lie.
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Eponym
Eponyms should be used sparingly and not overworked. Beware also
of relying on overused and clichéd references that add nothing to your
reader’s understanding.
• What we need is an honest candidate, a George Washington, who
cannot tell a lie.
• You shouldn’t be a Scrooge when it comes to supporting genuinely
worthwhile causes.
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Eponym
In order for the eponym to be effective, the person named must be
best known for whatever attribute you want to link to your subject.
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Eponym
Ineffective:
Our principal, the Nero of the middle school, is indefatigable in her
support of our music and drama programs.
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Eponym
More effective:
Our principal, the Nero of the middle school, is either oblivious or
indifferent to the academic ruin toward which this school is hurtling.
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Eponym
Ineffective:
They named him a Joseph Stalin leadership fellow for his innovative
strategies and motivational approaches.
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Eponym
More effective:
The new CEO fired so many managers from the defunct firm that
the survivors began to call him Stalin at their staff meetings.
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Eponym
Here are a few more effective eponyms:
• He had the luck of Forest Gump.
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Eponym
Here are a few more effective eponyms:
• He had the luck of Forest Gump.
• The senator endured setback after setback, but persisted like
Sisyphus in his never-ending task.
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Eponym
Here are a few more effective eponyms:
• He had the luck of Forest Gump.
• The senator endured setback after setback, but persisted like
Sisyphus in his never-ending task.
• No one expected our second-rate team to win that game, especially
with their Goliath of a goalie.
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Exemplum
You’ll find many rhetorical devices to be useful in your writing,
especially in a research paper; for example, EXEMPLUM will help
you to illustrate your points clearly and definitively.
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Exemplum
Exemplum is one of the most frequently used rhetorical devices, and
it’s one you’ve probably never thought of as a special device. As the
name suggests, it is simply providing your reader with an example to
illustrate your point:
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Exemplum
The United States Constitution grants its citizens numerous freedoms,
the right to criticize our leaders, for example.
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Exemplum
Exemplum is the best means by which you can make an abstract
concept more concrete or narrow a broad idea.
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Exemplum
Exemplum is the best means by which you can make an abstract
concept more concrete or narrow a broad idea.
• Perseverance and self-sacrifice have always been at the heart of
the American psyche. Take, for example, the legendary figures of
Molly Pitcher and John Henry.
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Exemplum
Exemplum is the best means by which you can make an abstract
concept more concrete or narrow a broad idea.
• Perseverance and self-sacrifice have always been at the heart of
the American psyche. Take, for example, the legendary figures of
Molly Pitcher and John Henry.
• Unquestioning loyalty, like that of a dog for its master, is a rare
trait.
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Exemplum
Exemplum is also one means by which you can demonstrate the
validity of your argument.
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Exemplum
Exemplum is also one means by which you can demonstrate the
validity of your argument.
• Most experts agree that proper nutrition and regular exercise are
still the best means of achieving and maintaining one’s ideal weight.
One seven-year study conducted by the International Height and
Weight Foundation shows that, of men and women aged 18 – 25
years…
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Exemplum
Exemplum is also one means by which you can demonstrate the
validity of your argument.
• Most experts agree that proper nutrition and regular exercise are
still the best means of achieving and maintaining one’s ideal weight.
One seven-year study conducted by the International Height and
Weight Foundation shows that, of men and women aged 18 – 25
years…
• There are several reasons you should welcome me into your
freshman class, not the least of which are my tenacity, creative
brilliance, and insatiable curiosity.
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Exemplum
When citing facts, however, take care to make certain that you are
being accurate and honest. Remember that readers will accept
examples more readily than assertions; readers can argue with your
conclusions, but they cannot argue with actual examples and accurate
facts.
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Exemplum
An example can be seen in the Seattle general strike of 1919, when
for five days more than sixty-thousand workers ground the city to
a halt.
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Exemplum
To see the truth in this, we need look no further than the daily
television news, in which a single segment lasting longer than
five minutes is the rare exception.
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Exemplum
Animal-food pairings, like cow and beef, sheep and mutton, pig and
pork, and deer and venison all illustrate the interaction of Old French
and Old English in developing the language we speak today.
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Hyperbaton
HYPERBATON grabs the reader’s attention with word orders
fresh and different.
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Hyperbaton
Hyperbaton disrupts the normal order of a sentence to emphasize
certain parts or to make the entire sentence jump off the page.
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Hyperbaton
One of the most common forms of hyperbaton is the placement of
an adjective after the noun it modifies:
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Hyperbaton
One of the most common forms of hyperbaton is the placement of
an adjective after the noun it modifies:
• Faustus’s mind burned with a curiosity unquenchable.
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Hyperbaton
One of the most common forms of hyperbaton is the placement of
an adjective after the noun it modifies:
• Faustus’s mind burned with a curiosity unquenchable.
• Intentions profit nothing, only promises kept matter.
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Hyperbaton
Hyperbaton can also place entire sentence elements out of their
ordinary locations:
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Hyperbaton
Hyperbaton can also place entire sentence elements out of their
ordinary locations:
• She refused, regardless of the threats and pleas, to submit.
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Hyperbaton
Hyperbaton can also place entire sentence elements out of their
ordinary locations:
• She refused, regardless of the threats and pleas, to submit.
• To me, he left a controlling interest in the company, not to you.
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Hyperbaton
Hyperbaton can also place entire sentence elements out of their
ordinary locations:
• She refused, regardless of the threats and pleas, to submit.
• To me, he left a controlling interest in the company, not to you.
• Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me.
— Emily Dickinson
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Hyperbaton
Similarly, hyperbaton can divide a sentence element into two parts
and separate them:
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Hyperbaton
Similarly, hyperbaton can divide a sentence element into two parts
and separate them:
• It was a foul day, windy, rainy, and cold.
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Hyperbaton
Similarly, hyperbaton can divide a sentence element into two parts
and separate them:
• It was a foul day, windy, rainy, and cold.
• There are several (too many to list here) reasons for delaying
this vote.
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Hyperbaton
Similarly, hyperbaton can divide a sentence element into two parts
and separate them:
• It was a foul day, windy, rainy, and cold.
• There are several (too many to list here) reasons for delaying
this vote.
• You have to admit it was a long year, but bearable.
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Hyperbole
HYPERBOLE is the most popular and commonly
used rhetorical device.
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Hyperbole
Hyperbole consists of exaggerating some part of your statement in
order to give it emphasis or focus. It is never meant to be taken
literally.
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Hyperbole
There are three main uses of hyperbole.
• Use it when you want to make a point strongly.
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Hyperbole
There are more reasons for NASA to fund a trip to Jupiter than there
are miles in the journey.
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Hyperbole
• Use it to surprise your reader, to break the stupor your reader may
have fallen into.
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Hyperbole
At these words, the people became so silent you could hear a beating
heart from across the room.
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Hyperbole
• Use it as a means of demonstrating the difference between two
objects or ideas.
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Hyperbole
Compared to the world during the last Ice Age, a Minnesota winter
feels like spring in Hawaii.
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Hypophora
So what is HYPOPHORA? Read on, and you will see.
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Hypophora
Hypophora is the technique of asking a question, then proceeding
to answer it. It is one of the most useful strategic devices available
to the writer.
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Hypophora
Perhaps the most common use of hypophora is in a standard-format
essay, to introduce a paragraph. A writer or speaker will often begin
a paragraph with a question and then use the body of the paragraph
to answer that question:
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Hypophora
Perhaps the most common use of hypophora is in a standard-format
essay, to introduce a paragraph. A writer or speaker will often begin
a paragraph with a question and then use the body of the paragraph
to answer that question:
• What were the issues that led some states to secede from the Union
that had been hailed as the Grand Experiment? First, of course,
was the issue of…
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Slide 4 of 11
Hypophora
Perhaps the most common use of hypophora is in a standard-format
essay, to introduce a paragraph. A writer or speaker will often begin
a paragraph with a question and then use the body of the paragraph
to answer that question:
• What were the issues that led some states to secede from the Union
that had been hailed as the Grand Experiment? First, of course,
was the issue of…
• Why would Lady Macbeth have leapt so quickly to the conclusion
that Duncan had to be murdered? An examination of the historical
Macbeth reveals some important clues.
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Hypophora
Hypophora can also be used as a way to anticipate questions or
concerns you think your reader might raise:
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Hypophora
So what is the answer to our rising crime problem? As Poor Richard
advised in his almanac, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of
cure.”
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Hypophora
The fact that you have been able to anticipate your reader’s
questions and address them strengthens your own point, especially
if your purpose is to persuade.
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Hypophora
The fact that you have been able to anticipate your reader’s
questions and address them strengthens your own point, especially
if your purpose is to persuade.
• How do we know this to be true? We have observed it in the lab.
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Hypophora
The fact that you have been able to anticipate your reader’s
questions and address them strengthens your own point, especially
if your purpose is to persuade.
• How do we know this to be true? We have observed it in the lab.
• What then of the future? Let the future bring what it will; we shall
meet it without fear.
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Hypophora
The fact that you have been able to anticipate your reader’s
questions and address them strengthens your own point, especially
if your purpose is to persuade.
• How do we know this to be true? We have observed it in the lab.
• What then of the future? Let the future bring what it will; we shall
meet it without fear.
• Do we then submit to our oppressor? No. No. A thousand times, no!
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Litotes
The occasional use of LITOTES certainly won’t be bad
for your writing.
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Litotes
Similar to understatement, litotes emphasizes its point by expressing
the opposite of the condition. For example, rather than say, “The trip
across the mountain was a hard journey,” we may say, “The trip was
no easy journey.”
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Litotes
Due to its surprise element, litotes can have more force and power
than the literal truth. Litotes is often combined with understatement
to emphasize its point.
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Litotes
Due to its surprise element, litotes can have more force and power
than the literal truth. Litotes is often combined with understatement
to emphasize its point.
• The Louisiana Purchase wasn’t a bad deal.
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Litotes
Litotes might also be used to qualify a claim to legitimately prevent
its being overstated.
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Litotes
Litotes might also be used to qualify a claim to legitimately prevent
its being overstated.
• “It was a good day,” clearly means the day was positively good.
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Litotes
Litotes might also be used to qualify a claim to legitimately prevent
its being overstated.
• “It was a good day,” clearly means the day was positively good.
• “It wasn’t a bad day,” is less clear. It could mean the day was
good, but it could also mean the day was neither fully good nor
fully bad.
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Litotes
Litotes allows the writer to say what isn’t false, without committing
as strongly to what is true.
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Litotes
Litotes allows the writer to say what isn’t false, without committing
as strongly to what is true.
• A cup of coffee would not be unwelcome.
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Litotes
Litotes allows the writer to say what isn’t false, without committing
as strongly to what is true.
• A cup of coffee would not be unwelcome.
• It’s not the smartest idea I’ve ever heard.
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Litotes
Litotes allows the writer to say what isn’t false, without committing
as strongly to what is true.
• A cup of coffee would not be unwelcome.
• It’s not the smartest idea I’ve ever heard.
• That store is not in the most convenient location.
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Metabasis
Before we continue, let’s consider the devices we’ve already
covered and anticipate our discussion of METABASIS…
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Metabasis
Metabasis is a device used to sum up portion of a work that has
come before, so that you can move on to a new point:
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Metabasis
So far, I have discussed various reasons that show why we need to
vote for a new president of this company; I will now relate to you
the most recent incident that has led me to insist that she be replaced.
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Metabasis
Metabasis is a very important organizational tool in long essays and
papers. After you’ve progressed through a number of subtopics, it
can be helpful to recap them quickly to help your reader see your
overall plan.
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Metabasis
Having examined the extent to which car exhaust and factory
emissions contribute to global climate change, it is probably a
logical next step to look at long-term atmospheric trends.
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Metabasis
Metabasis may also be used to mention a contrasting opinion or
viewpoint:
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Metabasis
Metabasis may also be used to mention a contrasting opinion or
viewpoint:
• Clearly, the benefits of maintaining healthy teeth and gums—
prevention of disease and avoidance of painful surgeries and
costly medications—far outweigh the drawbacks, which can
almost all be attributed to laziness and indifference.
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Metabasis
It is rarely necessary to summarize fewer than four or five pages of
material. For longer essays, papers, or book-length works, judicious
use of metabasis can be crucial to helping your reader follow your
point:
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Metabasis
Having dealt as we have with the many devices used by a writer in
his craft, an examination of those devices a reader may make use of
to analyze a piece of literature seems called for.
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Metabasis
These are the flaws in the current system. Let us now look at some
workable alternatives.
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Metabasis
The previous chapters have explained when they arrived, and who
brought them. This next will reveal how and why they made the
journey.
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Metaphor
The METAPHOR is the window to the poet’s soul.
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Metaphor
The metaphor is a close relative of the simile. It is a powerful
comparison, an equation of two dissimilar objects or concepts.
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Metaphor
Like the simile, the metaphor can help the writer introduce and
clarify an unfamiliar idea to the reader or to show a familiar idea
in a new light:
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Metaphor
Like the simile, the metaphor can help the writer introduce and
clarify an unfamiliar idea to the reader or to show a familiar idea
in a new light:
• Research undoubtedly provides the meat of a good argument, but
style gives that meat a little spice.
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Metaphor
Like the simile, the metaphor can help the writer introduce and
clarify an unfamiliar idea to the reader or to show a familiar idea
in a new light:
• Research undoubtedly provides the meat of a good argument, but
style gives that meat a little spice.
• Talent is not the engine that propels a person to professional
success; it is merely the track that keeps the train on course.
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Metaphor
Metaphor does not convey only the literal truths of a thing, but its
emotional or psychological truths as well.
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Metaphor
Metaphor does not convey only the literal truths of a thing, but its
emotional or psychological truths as well.
• Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.
— Patrick Dennis, from "Auntie Mame"
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Metaphor
Metaphor does not convey only the literal truths of a thing, but its
emotional or psychological truths as well.
• Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.
— Patrick Dennis, from "Auntie Mame"
• Life is a journey whose final destination is never fully revealed.
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Metaphor
Metaphor does not convey only the literal truths of a thing, but its
emotional or psychological truths as well.
• Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.
— Patrick Dennis, from "Auntie Mame"
• Life is a journey whose final destination is never fully revealed.
• Life is a garden of bitter fruits.
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Metaphor
Don’t feel obligated to use to be, however, if it’s obvious that you
are speaking metaphorically:
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Metaphor
Don’t feel obligated to use to be, however, if it’s obvious that you
are speaking metaphorically:
• To those whose irresponsible actions have precipitated this crisis
and are now suffering the consequences, I say, “You’ve made your
bed, and now you can lie in it.”
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
Hyperbole for entertainment, metaphor for clarity, sententia for
panache, and PARALLELISM for reassuring consistency.
Hyperbole for entertainment, metaphor for clarity, sententia for
panache, and—for delightful surprise—CHIASMUS.
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
Parallelism is one of the most important organizational devices at a
writer’s or speaker’s disposal. It is so important, that many writers
and teachers consider it a convention or rule, instead of a device.
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
It is the use of the same general structure and syntax for multiple
parts of a sentence, or for multiple sentences:
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessing; the
inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
— Winston Churchill
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
Parallelism gives your writing a sense of cohesion, keeping it
balanced and intentional throughout.
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
The manor—designed for beauty and grace, built for durability and
strength, and located for privacy and safety—was the ideal home for
those three children.
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have
greatness thrust upon them.
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
A good parallel structure is stylistically pleasing, structurally
supportive, and intellectually satisfying.
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
Chiasmus is a special form of parallelism that reverses the original
structure for effect.
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
Chiasmus is a special form of parallelism that reverses the original
structure for effect.
• He smiled happily and joyfully laughed.
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
There is no difference in meaning between parallelism and
chiasmus; the choice between the two is purely stylistic.
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
There is no difference in meaning between parallelism and
chiasmus; the choice between the two is purely stylistic.
• I have journeyed in the lands of the spirit, drunk from the
fountains of wisdom, rested beneath the trees of eternity, and
have returned to the land of my birth.
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Parallelism/Chiasmus
There is no difference in meaning between parallelism and
chiasmus; the choice between the two is purely stylistic.
• I have journeyed in the lands of the spirit, drunk from the
fountains of wisdom, rested beneath the trees of eternity, and
have returned to the land of my birth.
• I have journeyed in the lands of the spirit, drunk from the fountains
of wisdom, rested beneath the trees of eternity, and, to the land of
my birth, have returned.
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Parataxis
Think of a topic, jot down your ideas, write your essay, and use
rhetorical devices like PARATAXIS.
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Parataxis
Parataxis involves listing a series of clauses joined by either
coordinating conjunctions or no conjunctions at all. Although
similar to asyndeton and polysyndeton, parataxis must relate to
clauses:
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Parataxis
Parataxis involves listing a series of clauses joined by either
coordinating conjunctions or no conjunctions at all. Although
similar to asyndeton and polysyndeton, parataxis must relate to
clauses:
• My dad went to Las Vegas, he lost his money, he came home.
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Parataxis
Parataxis involves listing a series of clauses joined by either
coordinating conjunctions or no conjunctions at all. Although
similar to asyndeton and polysyndeton, parataxis must relate to
clauses:
• My dad went to Las Vegas, he lost his money, he came home.
• My dad went to Las Vegas, and he lost his money, and he came
home.
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Parataxis
Parataxis might be confused with a run-on sentence or comma
splice. The key is the close, parallel structure and content of the
connected clauses:
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Parataxis
Parataxis might be confused with a run-on sentence or comma
splice. The key is the close, parallel structure and content of the
connected clauses:
• I came, I saw, I conquered.
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Parataxis
There are ways, however, to punctuate the parataxis and maintain
the same intimate effect:
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Parataxis
There are ways, however, to punctuate the parataxis and maintain
the same intimate effect:
• In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the
earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face
of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
— Genesis 1:1-2 (KJV)
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Parenthesis
There is a device, called PARENTHESIS, that allows
you to provide supplemental information without interrupting
the main flow of your argument.
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Parenthesis
Parenthesis is a device used to insert an aside or additional
information into a sentence or clause. One way to do this is
by using the actual parenthesis symbols, although using
commas or dashes is also common.
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Parenthesis
Parenthesis is a device used to insert an aside or additional
information into a sentence or clause. One way to do this is
by using the actual parenthesis symbols, although using
commas or dashes is also common.
• At his death (under mysterious circumstances that have never
been definitively explained), Edgar Allen Poe had many enemies
(including the man who would handle his literary estate and write
his first biography).
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Parenthesis
Parenthesis is a device used to insert an aside or additional
information into a sentence or clause. One way to do this is
by using the actual parenthesis symbols, although using
commas or dashes is also common.
• At his death (under mysterious circumstances that have never
been definitively explained), Edgar Allen Poe had many enemies
(including the man who would handle his literary estate and write
his first biography).
• At his death, under mysterious circumstances that have never
been definitively explained, Edgar Allen Poe had many enemies,
including the man who would handle his literary estate and write
his first biography.
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Parenthesis
Parenthesis is a device used to insert an aside or additional
information into a sentence or clause. One way to do this is
by using the actual parenthesis symbols, although using
commas or dashes is also common.
• At his death—under mysterious circumstances that have never
been definitively explained—Edgar Allen Poe had many
enemies—including the man who would handle his literary estate
and write his first biography.
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Parenthesis
Many writing teachers instruct their students to avoid the use of ( )
because they tend to minimize the impact of whatever is inside them.
The choice, however, is the writer’s and must be based on the nature
and relative importance of the additional information.
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Parenthesis
In addition to tightening your reader’s focus on the specific point
you are trying to make, parenthetical expressions can also be used
to place a bit of information into a context that will help your reader
better understand your idea:
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Parenthesis
This continued for many years—some would say far longer than it
should have—before a new brand of politician put an end to it.
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Parenthesis
On Christmas Day, 1492, the ship, 70 feet long, with three masts
and a crew of 28 men, ran aground on the coast of Haiti.
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Parenthesis
The governor—misguided as she is in her ideology—vetoed the bill
even after it passed both houses of the legislature unanimously.
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Personification
The paper that contains PERSONIFICATION dances while
other essays sleep.
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Personification
Personification is the giving of human attributes to something that
is non-human. The device might involve an animal, an inanimate
object, or an abstract concept.
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Personification
Personification is the giving of human attributes to something that
is non-human. The device might involve an animal, an inanimate
object, or an abstract concept.
• When hope knocks on the door, despair sneaks out the window.
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Personification
Rather than try to explain a difficult concept in abstract terms, the
writer can use personification to tap into common human experience.
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Personification
Rather than try to explain a difficult concept in abstract terms, the
writer can use personification to tap into common human experience.
• Once in the hands of compassionless Justice, the con man could
no longer beguile his way out of trouble.
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Personification
Personification gives the reader a starting point to better understand
whatever the writer is trying to convey:
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Personification
Personification gives the reader a starting point to better understand
whatever the writer is trying to convey:
• With loneliness his sole companion, the youth abandoned the
faithless car and walked toward the unwelcoming city.
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Personification
Personification gives the reader a starting point to better understand
whatever the writer is trying to convey:
• With loneliness his sole companion, the youth abandoned the
faithless car and walked toward the unwelcoming city.
• That choir could really sing—the seats themselves were wanting
to get up and dance.
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Personification
Personification gives the reader a starting point to better understand
whatever the writer is trying to convey:
• With loneliness his sole companion, the youth abandoned the
faithless car and walked toward the unwelcoming city.
• That choir could really sing—the seats themselves were wanting
to get up and dance.
• The city wept the day the vagrant was convicted for a crime he
could not possibly have committed.
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Procatalepsis
Some will insist that PROCATALEPSIS is an unnecessary and
useless rhetorical device.
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Procatalepsis
Procatalepsis is another relative of the hypophora. While the
hypophora can raise any sort of question, the procatalepsis deals
specifically with a reader’s potential objections. The procatalepsis
does not necessarily present these objections as questions:
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Procatalepsis
Many scholars claim that William Shakespeare could not possibly
have written the plays attributed to him, but I have no doubt that
the Bard of Avon is exactly who we have always believed he was.
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Procatalepsis
Make certain the objections you raise are authentic. To fabricate an
opposition simply to discredit it is, at best, a logical fallacy and, at
worst, propaganda.
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Procatalepsis
The creation of a false or unauthentic argument with the sole purpose
of defusing it is called the straw man fallacy and can seriously
undermine your credibility with your reader.
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Procatalepsis
The appropriate use of procatalepsis is to strengthen your
argument with integrity:
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Procatalepsis
There are those who criticize the American people, calling us vain
and selfish. The fact is, however, that Americans willingly rose to
the challenge during World War II. Goods such as tin, copper, milk,
and eggs were rationed. Courageous young men enlisted in the armed
forces to fight in Europe, while dedicated young women left their
homes to work in the factories to help the United States maintain its
industrial strength. The need for such sacrifice might not, thankfully,
arise very frequently, but when it does, Americans certainly show
their true natures.
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Procatalepsis
Certainly there are those who sincerely believe that television can
be as effective as any parent or teacher. The truth is, of course, that
the mental passivity involved in watching a story played out on the
screen is no substitute whatsoever for real interpersonal interaction
and the mental exercise of processing the words in a book.
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Procatalepsis
It may be pointed out that the proposed tax plan adds a burden to
a small number of families in the upper brackets. While this may be
true, the benefits offered to those who are most in need must surely
outweigh a small bit of hardship to those who are not.
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Rhetorical Question
Don’t you want to know how to use
RHETORICAL QUESTIONS well?
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Rhetorical Question
The rhetorical question is something of a cousin to hypophora.
While a hypophora asks a question and then answers it immediately,
a rhetorical question is one in which the answer is merely implied.
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Rhetorical Question
Beware: Too often, a rhetorical question is used as an easy
replacement for a strong introduction to a thought.
The writer also runs the risk that the reader will answer the
question in a way not intended by the writer.
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Rhetorical Question
After all, who doesn’t wish for eternal youth and inexhaustible
wealth?
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Rhetorical Question
What option do the poor and hungry have but to steal?
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Rhetorical Question
A well-used rhetorical question, however, can engage your readers
by leading them to their own discovery of the point you want to make.
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Rhetorical Question
A well-used rhetorical question, however, can engage your readers
by leading them to their own discovery of the point you want to make.
• In this modern and enlightened age, can we truly condone such
horrific acts?
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Rhetorical Question
A well-used rhetorical question, however, can engage your readers
by leading them to their own discovery of the point you want to make.
• In this modern and enlightened age, can we truly condone such
horrific acts?
• How can we expect others to sacrifice more than we ourselves are
willing to give?
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Rhetorical Question
A well-used rhetorical question, however, can engage your readers
by leading them to their own discovery of the point you want to make.
• In this modern and enlightened age, can we truly condone such
horrific acts?
• How can we expect others to sacrifice more than we ourselves are
willing to give?
• After all, aren’t we still a nation governed by the Constitution?
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Sententia
Regarding the use of SENTENTIA, a word to
the wise is sufficient.
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Sententia
Sententia is simply a fancy term for a quotation, maxim, or wise
saying.
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Sententia
Sententia is simply a fancy term for a quotation, maxim, or wise
saying.
• A rolling stone gathers no moss.
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Sententia
Sententia is simply a fancy term for a quotation, maxim, or wise
saying.
• A rolling stone gathers no moss.
• Well begun is half done.
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Sententia
Usually, sententia makes use of general maxims that aren’t
attributable to a single source, but it may occasionally use a
quotation from a known person:
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Sententia
Usually, sententia makes use of general maxims that aren’t
attributable to a single source, but it may occasionally use a
quotation from a known person:
• As Poor Richard observed in his famous Almanac, “Early to bed
and early to rise make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
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Sententia
Sententia is best used to introduce or sum up your main idea. A
strong sententia seems familiar, obvious, and often witty—always
inevitable and never forced or contrived.
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Sententia
Sententia is best used to introduce or sum up your main idea. A
strong sententia seems familiar, obvious, and often witty—always
inevitable and never forced or contrived.
• Thus, when we look at the arduous application process and fierce
competition for dwindling scholarship money, it is probably best to
remember that the early bird catches the worm.
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Sententia
Sententia is most effective when its short, succinct wisdom ties
together your points and evidence. By choosing maxims or
quotations that are familiar to readers, you also set up your argument
as established wisdom.
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Sententia
Sententia is most effective when its short, succinct wisdom ties
together your points and evidence. By choosing maxims or
quotations that are familiar to readers, you also set up your argument
as established wisdom.
• As is often said, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
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Sententia
Sententia is most effective when its short, succinct wisdom ties
together your points and evidence. By choosing maxims or
quotations that are familiar to readers, you also set up your argument
as established wisdom.
• As is often said, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
• We would do well to remember, however, that all is fair in
love and war.
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Sententia
Sententia is most effective when its short, succinct wisdom ties
together your points and evidence. By choosing maxims or
quotations that are familiar to readers, you also set up your argument
as established wisdom.
• As is often said, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
• We would do well to remember, however, that all is fair in
love and war.
• As Epictetus wisely noted, “no great thing is created suddenly.”
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Simile
A good SIMILE is like a clean window looking
into the mind of the writer.
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Simile
A simile is a device in which the writer compares one object or
concept with another. Usually, the first term is something with
which the reader is presumably unfamiliar, and the second term
is something the reader should recognize.
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Simile
The simile always uses the words “like” or “as” in the comparison.
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Simile
The simile always uses the words “like” or “as” in the comparison.
• My first cup of coffee in the morning is as refreshing as an
unexpected email from a long-lost best friend.
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Simile
The primary purpose of the simile, of course, is to help the reader
understand the unfamiliar aspects of the first term in the comparison:
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Simile
The primary purpose of the simile, of course, is to help the reader
understand the unfamiliar aspects of the first term in the comparison:
• The feeling of satisfaction one gets after doing an unsolicited
good deed is like slipping into a hot shower after a long and
hard workout.
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Simile
The primary purpose of the simile, of course, is to help the reader
understand the unfamiliar aspects of the first term in the comparison:
• The feeling of satisfaction one gets after doing an unsolicited
good deed is like slipping into a hot shower after a long and
hard workout.
• Prepared students don’t fear the final exam but approach it as
they do a tournament of champions—the Testmakers versus the
Scholars.
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Simile
The primary purpose of the simile, of course, is to help the reader
understand the unfamiliar aspects of the first term in the comparison:
• Clothilde’s unexpected A in English was like the first perfect
autumn day after weeks of heat, humidity, and threatening
thunderstorms.
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Simile
The primary purpose of the simile, of course, is to help the reader
understand the unfamiliar aspects of the first term in the comparison:
• Clothilde’s unexpected A in English was like the first perfect
autumn day after weeks of heat, humidity, and threatening
thunderstorms.
• The typical workday of an Emergency Medical Technician can
be as exciting as any superhero comic book episode.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
SYNECDOCHE and METONYMY add punch to the page.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Synecdoche and metonymy are two very closely related devices.
They deal with using a part of something, or an object closely
related to something, to refer to the larger whole.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Synecdoche and metonymy are two very closely related devices.
They deal with using a part of something, or an object closely
related to something, to refer to the larger whole.
• The rancher boasted about how many head of cattle he
owned. [synecdoche]
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Synecdoche and metonymy are two very closely related devices.
They deal with using a part of something, or an object closely
related to something, to refer to the larger whole.
• The rancher boasted about how many head of cattle he
owned. [synecdoche]
• The pen is mightier than the sword. [metonymy]
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Synecdoche and metonymy are two very closely related devices.
They deal with using a part of something, or an object closely
related to something, to refer to the larger whole.
• The rancher boasted about how many head of cattle he
owned. [synecdoche]
• The pen is mightier than the sword. [metonymy]
• The White House answered its critics. [metonymy]
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Synecdoche and metonymy are two very closely related devices.
They deal with using a part of something, or an object closely
related to something, to refer to the larger whole.
• The rancher boasted about how many head of cattle he
owned. [synecdoche]
• The pen is mightier than the sword. [metonymy]
• The White House answered its critics. [metonymy]
• The captain shouted, “All hands on deck.” [synecdoche]
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Synecdoche is the use of a part of something to represent the whole.
The rancher certainly owned the whole cow, not just the head, and
the captain wanted the entire crewmember on deck, not just the hands.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
I’d like to have another pair of eyes look this letter over before
we send it.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Dr. Randolph has finally agreed to lend his voice to our cause.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Metonymy allows you to refer to something closely related to the
actual object, and use that as a way of referring to the object itself.
The White House, the residence of the President, can be used to
represent the President and his or her staff. Neither the pen nor
the sword have any “might,” but they can represent the persons
who wield them, and what those people do.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
The thief disguised himself to hide from the law.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
We could not begin until the brass called us to order.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Metonymy and synecdoche are often used—whether justly or
unjustly—to skew the reader’s evaluation of the associated
object or idea:
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Metonymy and synecdoche are often used—whether justly or
unjustly—to skew the reader’s evaluation of the associated
object or idea:
• Don’t you wish the money would just let the talent do its work
for a change?
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Metonymy and synecdoche are often used—whether justly or
unjustly—to skew the reader’s evaluation of the associated
object or idea:
• Don’t you wish the money would just let the talent do its work
for a change?
• I’ll talk to the migraine in bed 3 as soon as I discharge the
nosebleed in bed 7.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Some metonymies and synecdoches are so common, they are no
longer considered rhetorical uses:
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Some metonymies and synecdoches are so common, they are no
longer considered rhetorical uses:
• It is becoming less and less acceptable for a business not to
take plastic; gone are the days of cash only.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Some metonymies and synecdoches are so common, they are no
longer considered rhetorical uses:
• It is becoming less and less acceptable for a business not to
take plastic; gone are the days of cash only.
• No eye could stay dry when faced with such a truth.
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Synecdoche/Metonymy
Some metonymies and synecdoches are so common, they are no
longer considered rhetorical uses:
• It is becoming less and less acceptable for a business not to
take plastic; gone are the days of cash only.
• No eye could stay dry when faced with such a truth.
• The press reported favorably on the event.
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Understatement
You might find UNDERSTATEMENT somewhat
helpful in your writing.
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Understatement
Understatement is more or less the opposite of hyperbole; in
understatement, the force of a description is less than one would
normally expect.
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Understatement
Understatement can be used either to emphasize the extreme nature
of the thing being described or for ironic effect:
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Understatement
Understatement can be used either to emphasize the extreme nature
of the thing being described or for ironic effect:
• Leonardo da Vinci had an occasional good idea.
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Understatement
Understatement can also be used for humorous effect.
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Understatement
Understatement can also be used for humorous effect.
• Whatever his faults, Sir Isaac Newton did have a fairly good
mind for science.
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Understatement
Understatement can also be used for humorous effect.
• Whatever his faults, Sir Isaac Newton did have a fairly good
mind for science.
• The Middle East is currently having some political difficulties.
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Understatement
Understatement can also be used for humorous effect.
• Whatever his faults, Sir Isaac Newton did have a fairly good
mind for science.
• The Middle East is currently having some political difficulties.
• To the uninitiated, neurophysiology can be a bit of a challenge.
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Zeugma
ZEUGMA will let you join two words and
the ranks of powerful writers.
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Zeugma
Zeugma is a device in which unexpected items in a sentence
are linked together by a shared word. Zeugma can encompass
subjects or direct objects linked together by a verb, pronouns
by nouns, adjectival phrases by verbs, etc.
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Zeugma
The runner lost the race and his scholarship.
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Slide 3 of 7
Zeugma
In this use, the main verb is understood to hold true for each of
the direct objects. For a more figurative effect, the two nouns
can be linked by the same verb but with a different connotation
in each use:
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Slide 4 of 7
Zeugma
In this use, the main verb is understood to hold true for each of
the direct objects. For a more figurative effect, the two nouns
can be linked by the same verb but with a different connotation
in each use:
• The man ran a hundred miles but out of time.
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Slide 5 of 7
Zeugma
In this use, the main verb is understood to hold true for each of
the direct objects. For a more figurative effect, the two nouns
can be linked by the same verb but with a different connotation
in each use:
• The man ran a hundred miles, but out of time.
• The performer and the spotlight faded on the stage.
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Slide 6 of 7
Zeugma
In this use, the main verb is understood to hold true for each of
the direct objects. For a more figurative effect, the two nouns
can be linked by the same verb but with a different connotation
in each use:
• The man ran a hundred miles, but out of time.
• The performer and the spotlight faded on the stage.
• Americans love hot food and gossip.
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Slide 7 of 7
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