What is it?
• Plato: Rhetoric is the art of enchanting
the soul
• Philip Johnson: Rhetoric is the art of
framing an argument so that it can be
appreciated by an audience.
• Andrea Lunsford: Rhetoric is the art,
practice, and study of human
• John Locke: That powerful instrument
of error and deceit
• Thomas Farrell: Rhetoric is an acquired
competency, a manner of thinking that
events possibilities for persuasion,
conviction, action, and judgments
Rhetorical elements: Alliteration
• Repetition of the same sound beginning in
the same sentence.
Let us go forth to lead the land we love. (JFK)
Veni, vidi, vici. ( Julius Caesar)
• repetition of one or several words, specifically
of a word that ends one clause at the
beginning of the next.
• Men in great place are thrice servants:
servants of the sovereign or state; servants of
fame; and servants of business. (Francis
• Effect?
• repetition of a word or
phrase at the beginning of
successive phrases, clauses,
or lines.
• We shall not flag or fail. We
shall go on to the end. We
shall fight in France, we
shall fight on the seas and
oceans, we shall fight with
growing confidence and
growing strength in the air.
We shall defend our island
a…” ( Churchill)
• Opposition or contrast of
ideas or words in a
balanced or parallel
• Extremism in defense of
liberty is no vice,
moderation in the pursuit
of justice is no virtue . (
Barry Goldwater)
• Not that I loved Caesar
less, but that I loved Rome
more. ( Anthony in JC)
• Repetition of the same sound in words close
• Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.
• Row, row , row your boat.
• Lack of conjunctions between coordinate
phrased, clauses or words
• But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate,
we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow
this ground. ( Lincoln/ Gettysburg address)
• Extended metaphor. Elaborate figure of
speech comparing two very dissimilar things.
The comparison may be startling, farfetched,
or intellectual. (A metaphor on steroids)
Remembrance has a Rear and Front
‘Tis something like a HouseIt has a garret also
For Refuse and the Mouse
(Emily Dickinson)
• Substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague
expression for one that is thought to be
offensive, harsh ,or blunt.
• Greek for “use of good words”
To pass away = he is no longer with us= die
Conflict= war
Friendly fire= accidently killing soldiers on your own side
Undocumented workers= illegal aliens
Revenue enhancement= more taxes
Answer the call of nature=
• Insulting or abusive word
or expression, name –
• Jelly-boned swine
• Impudent strumpet
• Ignorant scum of
• Philistine pig
• Whining hypocritical toad
• Substitution of one word for another which it
• He is a man of the cloth. ( religious)
• The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.
• The pen is mightier than the sword.
• Surprise or unexpected ending of a phrase or
There but for the grace of God- goes God.
Change is inevitable, except from the vending
If I agreed with you we would both be wrong.
I didn’t say it was your fault; I said I was
blaming you.
• The repetition of conjunctions in a series of
coordinate words, phrases, or clauses.
• I said, “Who killed him?” and he said, “ I
don’t know, and it was dark and there was
water in the street and no light and windows
broke and boats all tied up and everything…”
• Understanding one thing for another; a part
for the whole, or the whole for the part.
Give us this day our daily bread.
The US won three gold medals.
I need a new set of wheels.
The white house has a new budget.
My ride isn’t here yet.
• Deductive scheme of a formal argument
• Contains a major premise, minor premise &
• Major premise: All men are mortal.
• Minor premise: Socrates is a man.
• Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.