Rhetoric is the art and study of the use of language with persuasive effect. Along with grammar and logic or dialectic, rhetoric is one of the three ancient arts of discourse.

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Dropping the subject from sentences

Consider this example: He got into the car. Started the engine, checked the mirrors. Stepped on the gas and headed down Main Street. Omitting the subject from a sentence isn't proper ...
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What do you call second-party quotes within a quote?

On NPR this morning I heard a newscaster say a phrase something like this: (paraphrased) … Bank declined to interview, but in a phone call said, "We are making (quote) every effort (unquote) to …" ...
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Figure of Speech vs. Figure of Thought

Is there any meaningful difference between a "figure of speech" and a "figure of thought". Searching for a definition of "figure of thought" leads to many esoteric discussions relating to ancient ...
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What is the grammatical term for the following idiom?

When there is a group or list of specific items, its components are curiously pluralized when reciting them in one sentence. For instance,when a person discusses the qualities of blue-chip stocks, he ...
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Difference between a synecdoche and metonym?

From the definitions of these two types of figures of speech (tropes, if you will), I have always understand them to mean the same thing. Essentially, that is the usage of either a specific attribute ...
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A word for when a word is used incorrectly (grammatically) but can still be parsed in a grammatically correct way?

Does such a word exist? An example: Do good. Supposing that my intention in saying "Do good!" was actually "Do well (on your test)!", the sentence still parses correctly as "Do good (deeds)!" I ...
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Is there a name for inverting word order to accomplish a different meaning?

There are many sayings that invert the word order to convey a different meaning. e.g. "Do you live to work or do you work to live?" "He who fails to plan, plans to fail" Is there a name for this ...
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What is the name of this figure of speech?

I've been reading Nevil Shute books recently, and they are set in late-1940s Britain. As a consequence, the characters are always using expressions such as "frightfully good", "terribly good" and ...
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Word for suggesting solutions to a problem solely to demonstrate contempt for the expected problem-solver

I have noticed that, with certain kinds of problems - political problems spring to mind - some people (who are not in a position to make decisions about the problem) are prone to suggesting a certain ...
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Word to describe this specific kind of irrational reasoning

I would like to know if there is a word/idiom to describe a certain phenomenon (maybe social inclination is a better word). I think it's kind of an anti-intellectualism, but anti-intellectualism ...
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Meaning of a quote in movie Casino Royale (2006)

Vesper Lynd: There are dinner jackets and dinner jackets; this is the latter. And I need you looking like a man who belongs at that table. Here what does the line "There are dinner jackets ...
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“A whole nother” way of looking at things

People say this so much (instead of "another whole" way, etc.) that I wonder how it got started. How did "another whole..." get changed to "a whole nother..."?
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Is there a term for switching syllables of words?

Primary question: A common speaking mistake is to exchange syllables of words, saying "It's trace rhyme!" instead of saying "It's race time!", or pronouncing "kickin' chackatory" instead of "chicken ...
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Rhetorical device in Julius Caesar

I thrice presented him a kingly crown/ which he did thrice refuse" Just wondering what the rhetorical technique is in that phrase.
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Identifying the literary technique

I was wondering if there is a literary technique in the following quote: "Let us be sacrificers but not butchers"
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Phrase for asking the obvious

In my language when a question is asking something really obvious we are using a phrase that if translated means: What is making a "meow meow" sound on the roof/rooftop? Is there an equivalent ...
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“You could do worse than [x]”

I can't really tell what someone means when he says "you could do worse than [x]." Live example: If you are just interested in a simple command line processor which uses MSXML 6 then you could do ...
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What to call certain types of vague words that trigger strong emotions

I guess I can call them 'politician words' but.... What do you call a word/phrase that has a lot of emotion behind it, but doesn't necessarily have any specific meaning. E.G.: Freedom, Liberty, ...
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What are some old-world alternatives or precursors to 'WTF' (expressions of frustration or surprise)? [closed]

Such as 'what on Earth' or 'what in the world', etc. I'm trying to come up with a list of witty alternatives. Note: I'm not looking for alternatives to the letters W, T, and F. I'm looking for ...
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Is this an example of irony?

It's ironical that Linux, the most secure OS, is commonly used to hack other machines. Is that sentence correct, with respect to the irony part?
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What makes a question rhetorical?

according to Wikipedia: A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for its persuasive effect without the expectation of a reply. Example: "How much longer ...
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What is a word for a question that has no answer because it is seemingly invalid?

A friend of mine posted a riddle on Facebook involving adding money and then subtracting money. It ended with a question asking where $1 went, but the trick was that there was no discrepancy, so the ...
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Is there a term for referring to an organization by its city rather than by its name?

This happens specifically often in the technology press: There's no point trying to ascribe motives to what Redmond [instead of "Microsoft"] does. We'll see shortly if Cupertino [instead of ...
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What do you call the exploitation of ambiguous statements to form a logical argument?

If I were construct an argument containing the postulation Men commit more crimes than women. I would be guilty of a logical fallacy because this statement implies All men commit crimes. The ...
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Is there a word for answering a question with a question?

I am aware that answering student questions with further, leading questions is sometimes dubbed “Socratic,” but I am asking more broadly about all occasions where someone asks a question and, instead ...
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Usage and example of the word “litotes”

I've come across the word litotes, which means a rhetorical understatement. However, I’m having trouble understanding how to use it in colloquial English. Could someone please give an example?