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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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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Rhetoric vs. Mathematics: ellipsis/ellipse, parable/parabola, hyperbole/hyperbola

Do ellipsis, parable, and hyperbole from rhetoric have anything in common with the geometric curves ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola used in mathematics? There are three geometric curves known as ...
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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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“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 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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Where did the practice of using quotation marks to discredit an opponent (“scare-quotes”) come from?

This is a practice extremely prevalent on conspiracy theory blogs and social media (a.k.a., conspiracy theory blogs), but where did the concept of discrediting opponents with quotation marks come from?...
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What is the form of rhetoric called which involves posing questions and answering them oneself?

Donald Rumsfeldt had a way of speaking in public, where to make his point more forcibly he would pose questions and answer them. Has Saddam Hussain bombed his own people? Yes. Has he begun the ...
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Name for phrase of words in increasing significance

I'm looking at the phrase "THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY". The thing I'm trying to think of is the joke format where you list a bunch of things and then change the last word for humorous effect. I ...
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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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Rhetorical evasion

While it may not be a rhetorical fallacy as such, I'm wondering if there is term that covers this: When losing an argument, divert the conversation to something unrelated, and say something ...
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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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A Better Phrase for “On Hold” in the context of Stack Exchange [closed]

I thought about the appropriate location for this question before posting, and I came to the conclusion that it is, at its root, a problem of diction and rhetoric... We would, certainly, like to ...
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Advice on rhetorical usage?

A rhetorical question is a question asked in order to make a point, without expectation of an answer. Here is something similair, and I want to know if there exists a name for it, I'll illustrate it ...
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Use of “well” to signal a pseudo-awkward pause before an impending word repetition or pun

In an article titled “The Ice Age Cometh” (Fortune, May 25, 1998, reprinted in The Great Unraveling, 2003), Paul Krugman writes: Suppose that two tribes—the Clan of the Cave Bear and its neighbor, ...
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Did the “We shall fight on the beaches” speech mainly use words from Old English? If so, why?

I read today that Churchill's "We shall fight on the beaches" speech mainly used words from Old English. Wikipedia's article states that Melvyn Bragg claimed in "The Adventure of English" that only ...
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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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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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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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What do you call the collective singular as a rhetorical device? (e.g. 'the Hun')

I’m trying to figure out how to refer to the rhetorical device in which one refers to a collective as an individual member of that group, e.g. ’the Hun’ for soldiers of the German Empire during the ...
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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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Word for rhetorical style where different arguments get progressively weaker

I'm looking for a word to describe the rhetorical style where one uses different arguments that are not additional, but rather get weaker and weaker. I'm not explaining it very well, so let me give an ...
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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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Dramatic hijacking of a sentence

A common trope in movies. What's it called? Person A: The President was a brilliant man! A truly one-of-a-kind-- Person B: killer, who used his ruthless abandon to get ahead!
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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 and ...
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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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What is the rhetorical strategy called when the author sets up an “us vs them” situation?

I know there's a word for that. It was a speech where Kennedy was demonizing the steel CEO's for raising prices while subtly dropping in words like "we" and "the American people". He was making it ...
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“Not as heavy as an elephant.” Which literary device is this?

I was having a conversation with a friend today. He jokingly asked me to help him pick up a desktop printer later (he's obviously strong enough to carry one on his own - a typical desktop printer is ...
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What is the name of this rhetorical device involving a change of word order?

In the quote below, the two occurrences of again are in different positions in their respective clauses. "Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is ...
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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 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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The same word used to define itself [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a word for an acronym which spells out one of its component words? What's that figure of speech in which you use the same word to define its meaning, thereby not ...
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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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Term for mentioning X by saying “I will not say X” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the origin of the phrase “not to mention …” Is there a name for “I don't mean to…, but” phrases? Is there a term for the ...
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What fallacy is this? “Your argument is wrong/invalid because it's just an opinion.”

I encounter this fallacy frequently in online discussions where an opponent completely disregards all of my premises and says my conclusion is invalid because it's an "opinion" and "not objective." ...
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What is it called when one word in a sentence “downplays” another?

In sentences such as "I'm a little devastated" "He's a little obese" We tend to think of obese and devastated as being on the more extreme end of the scale when describing something, but what is ...
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Name for equivocal similes such as found in hip-hop lyrics?

I've observed a figure of speech used heavily by rappers which uses the basic construction of a simile—a "this like that" comparison—when the similarity in the comparison is purely linguistic. That is,...
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Does the phase “what's an honest man to do?” have a specific literary origin, or is it simply a common-usage rhetorical question?

I have seen the phrase used in this form or as a template for other rhetorical questions - e.g., "what's an honest economist to do?"; "what's an honest business owner to do?";"what's an honest ...
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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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False attribution to increase authority

What is the practice called of falsely attributing an anecdote or piece of writing or fact to another source to give it more authority or authenticity, or to avoid the appearance of self-promotion? ...
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Word/name for rhetorical technique to give appearance of expertise where none exists?

For example, the speaker states "Anyone that has taken probability and statistics in college knows... blah blah blah", implying the speaker has such a background, with the intent to assert some ...
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Literary device: frequently referenced object which never appears

What do you call an object or a person which is frequently referenced but never actually appears? For example, Godot from ‘Waiting for Godot’?
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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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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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“We must eat to live, not live to eat.” — What kind of rhetorical figure is that?

In this kind of sentence the second half is an inversion of the first half. Is it a rhetorical artífice? What kind?
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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?
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What is the opposite of synecdoche?

If synecdoche represents when a part of a thing or person refers to the whole, what is it called when the whole is used to refer to a part? For example, we often hear about what "The American People ...
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“Are you calling me a liar?”

Normally I ignore the formalisms of rhetoric, but I'm curious: When the above question is used to "defend" a point of opinion or interpretation, would it best be classified as an ad hominem argument, ...
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Can I use the adjective as the first word?

Is it okay if I rearrange the sentence The apple on the table was green or The green apple was on the table to put the adjective in front, as the first word, like Green, was the apple on ...
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What is the term for a common expression that is inaccurate or misleading?

What is the term for a common expression or colloquialism that is inaccurate or misleading, such as the use of "mental math" to mean "mental calculation" or "mental arithmetic"?
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Stylistic / rhetorical device used by Obama over and over

After reading some of his speeches, I see one rhetorical device used over and over by Obama, some examples for it include: large or small wealthy or poor able or disabled gay or straight young or ...