In a blog comment I found myself responding to (what I considered) a foolish point using this format:

“‹quotation of the original›”

sarcastic over-the-top agreement with the statement

(In certain cases such as ‹examples›, a restricted form of this is the case. ‹main point, discussing the limitations of the original statement›)

The way I’d phrased this, I had to parenthesize the final paragraph even though, as an argument, that was my main point.

Is there a term for this rhetorical device?

(It’s similar to the newspaper technique burying the lede, but not quite identical: burying the lede disguises the important point so it might be overlooked; here I have ironically parenthesized my argument but my intent is clear to the reader.)

2 Answers 2


I couldn't really tell if what you wrote in parentheses could have been incorporated, separated by commas, into the first sentence as an "aside" usually is, but parentheses are also used to set off "asides," so maybe what you have here is "an essential aside."


Exaggerated, sarcastic assent (hyperbole or heavy-handed irony or both) followed by parenthetical refutation (simple contradiction) doesn't have a single rhetorical term associated with it, as far as I know. If you wanted to create your own vivid description of the tactic, however, you might try something along the lines of "Wedding at Cana reasoning," which invokes this passage from the Bible (John 2: 9–10):

When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

Your rhetorical strategy does much the same thing, serving your readers insubstantial water first, and then good wine.

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