In describing a previous rule change, one could write:

"The school administration updated their rules last week to say that red is no longer a color."

but many times (mostly in the news), they will add something such as "quietly", implying deception, or with other words, more than one mental image for the same statement.

My description is off, but I'm hoping someone knows what I'm referring to, and can help me identify what this device would be called.

Ex1. "The school board last week, quietly passed a rule stating that red is no longer a color".

Ex2. "The ranking member stated, without evidence, that red seemed to imply emotion rather than a visual cue".

Both of these statements could have been written without the bold word.

2 Answers 2


Generally, this kind of work is called biased language or editorializing.

  • Is there a device though, that gives that away at a technical level? For example, it would not have had the same affect if the bold word would have been something else, such as "quickly" instead of "quietly", so perhaps "quietly" would fall into a group of words that make up the device?
    – Dan Chase
    Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 16:17
  • Not that I know of. I think you would have to create one -- perhaps "poison adjectives". Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 19:35

In your example 1, "quietly" is simply an adverb modifying the verb "passed". I know of no specific name for this rhetorical device.

Your example 2 fits the description of biased language or editorializing as stated by @FeliniusRex. The phrase "without evidence" can also be described as a parenthetical expression. Even though no parentheses are used, the phrase serves the function of adding information, but the sentence also makes perfect sense without it.

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