Questions tagged [rhetoric]

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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Goodly/godly, loose/lose - name of the rhetorical device? [closed]

What is the name of the following rhetorical device? loose - lose goodly - godly (not in the sense that both words are used in a text but that one is used while implicitly implying the other, e.g. ...
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Name for a rhetorical device suggesting an individual fault by generalization

I am trying to find the name of the rhetorical device used in the following (deliberately absurd) example: John says that he believes in motherhood and apple pie. In my experience many people who say ...
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Rhetorical phrase analysis [closed]

Is there a rhetorical device found from the following phrase? It won't cost you a thing, but it may save your life.
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8 votes
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What does "voice" mean in the context of written language?

The two most common frames of reference seem to be (1) agency attribution at the level of sentence structure (active vs. passive voice) and (2) the use of stylistic elements to stamp the persona of ...
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4 votes
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Is there a term for the grammatical/rhetorical construction of "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named"?

Is there a term for the construction of specifying someone or something solely via a relative clause without explicitly naming it, as in the example in the title - either at the level of grammar or of ...
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Term for allowing implausible scenario in argument

What is the term for allowing an implausible scenario in order to be as generous as possible to the claim one is about to knock down? Example: Acme Acres recorded 2,000 births last year, but the town ...
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definition and usage for whipsaw?

My understanding of the whipsaw term is that can, according to Wiktionary, be used rhetorically as in these examples: verb (transitive) To defeat someone in two different ways at once. 2014 November ...
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Is there a name for a rhetorical technique where a deceptive exaggeration is used openly and with admission in order to effect a desired emotion?

I'm talking about a specific usage of language where the deceit is passive and consistent - an arguer might use an exaggerated word, or a word entirely incorrectly, to alter an audience's reception to ...
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What's the word for something that is purposefully generalised and understated?

“By the time his arrival was reported, Lindbergh was the world’s hero, and nobody was interested in an Italian who reached his destination at the end of a tow rope.” Like this example, the Italian guy ...
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1 vote
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Is there a word to describe a plausible but incorrect explanation? [duplicate]

I'm thinking of something where somebody (with no malicious intention) offers a very plausible and scientific-sounding explanation (not a theory but something presented as a series of facts) such that ...
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Metaphor for creativity

What is a good metaphor for a person that is creative, or for creativity in general? I find nothing when searching and nothing really comes to my mind? Help appreciated!
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8 votes
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Seeking a name for literary device/technique involving denial and hypothetical dialogue

Preface To properly frame this question, I should note that I recently have been studying formal rhetoric according to the five canons (inventio, dispositio, elocutio, memoria, and actio), and paying ...
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15 votes
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Term for anticipating counterarguments and rebutting them

There's this term for the rhetorical device of anticipating counterarguments and rebutting them, but I simply can't remember it. Now I know what you're thinking - did you try googling it? Well I did,...
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2 votes
1 answer
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How do I clarify to readers that the bolded dialogue question is a rhetorical question?

Two characters, Scythe Master and Claudia, are having a conversation in this book I'm translating. The first speaker is Scythe. (Bolded part is what I'm 87% sure is a rhetorical question, based on ...
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Word for a style of argument pre-excluding a particular answer as impossible

I'm not sure if this is a type of fallacy, or merely a noun or adjective for a type of (obstinate) argument. I'm looking for a word that describes a situation where a person is demanding an answer or ...
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19 votes
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Name for rhetorical technique of abandoning commas in a long list?

I just came across a very nice example of a rhetorical structure I know I have seen many, many times: Our national character feels like it’s possessed by every hellish ghost of American history: ...
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Term for rhetorical refrain

In the widely followed hearing on Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation to the United States Supreme Court, Senator Kamala Harris said to Kavanaugh's accuser of sexual assault; You have called for an ...
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Is there a name for this particular kind of rhetorical question?

An example: Coffee? Why are you asking if I want coffee? Here the speaker, depending on context, means to say that they either want coffee or don't want it and that, in either case, this should be ...
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What does it mean when someone says " the rhetoric has changed"?

What does it mean when someone says " the rhetoric has changed"?
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2 votes
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Comparative studies of examples of epizeuxis

Epizeuxis is a rhetorical device which is defined as involving immediate or close repetition of a word or phrase - 'Break, break, break, On thy cold grey stones, O sea!' (Tennyson) or 'There's a fox, ...
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What types of indirect references are and aren't allusions?

In school I learned that allusions are indirect references. Often my teachers would give examples in the form of references to well-known literary works. If I say "I can read the writing on the wall"...
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2 votes
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The usage of "who knows" [duplicate]

Is the second sentence correct English? What is the grammatical role and meaning of "who knows how many jobs"? ...Traditional cars happen to be human sized to transport humans but tiny autos can ...
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Catchy description for this fallacy

First, I'd like to know the technical term for this fallacy, and then I'd like at least one down-to-earth example that I can refer to in a section heading. Background: Down Syndrome tends to feature ...
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Difference in meaning and usage between “macrologia”, “periergia” and “bomphiologia”

All of these terms are devices that can describe something that is superfluous but how do these terms differ? The Silva Rhetoricae (Gideon Burton, rhetoric.byu.edu) lists them under "figures of ...
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What's this form of rhetoric called?

Let's suppose my father was a good moral teacher to me. I say: "I learned my virtuous morals from my father." This is a true statement, because he did teach me good morals. However the subsequent ...
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Is a question with an obvious answer to ask another question rhetorical?

If you were to ask someone a question with an obvious answer just to ask another question or to bring a subject up, would that be rhetorical? Like asking "Are you okay?" when someone is obviously hurt ...
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1 vote
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Who can help me with Metonymy and Synecdoche

To gain a further understanding of the difference between them, I have searched a lot of information about them, but I found that what some regard as metonymy are considered synecdoche by others. E.g....
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Is 'the dead' a synecdoche?

Is the phrase 'the dead' a synecdoche? In using it, the individuals are being collectively defined by the fact they are dead, rather than acknowledging their personhood. If it is not a synecdoche, is ...
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Metonymy and Synecdoche [duplicate]

Learning figures of speech sometimes can be confusing, and I am trying to figure out the difference between metonymy and synecdoche. Given the following sentence ①Grey hairs should be respected (...
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What is it called when I poop the dog?

I'm wondering what it is called when a non-transitive verb is used as a transitive verb. An example would be if someone took the dog outside so it could defecate, and said, I pooped the dog. I ...
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"not admitting" vs "denying": Does the former imply guilt?

I always have the impression that "they didn't admit to a crime" tends towards implying that "they" are guilty, while the wording "they denied committing the crime" doesn't have any such bias. Is this ...
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term for sentences that can be read as "tends to" or "always" [duplicate]

I'm looking for a term -- from linguistics or semantics -- that indicates phrases of this structure have TWO (possible) senses: Men are taller than women. Seafood costs more than hamburger. Anchors ...
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Is there a term for “neutral” words whose connotations are limited to being either positive or negative?

I've been wondering for some time now if there is an existing term for a rhetorical phenomenon I've noticed. It occurs when a word, instead of being used in its literal or etymological sense, is used ...
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Is there a term like 'metaphor' but for drawing a disanalogy?

Similes and metaphors drawn analogies, compare things. Is there another rhetorical term for when someone wants to draw a disanalogy? I can imagine a poet or at least rhetorician wanting to say e.g. ...
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2 votes
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Rhetorical question?

Today I served a customer dressed obviously for cycling. He came in with his trousers tucked into his socks and a very obvious cycling helmet. I asked my colleague Do you think he came on his bike?...
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What is the word used to describe a question that demands one of two possible answers?

Politicians seem incapable of giving a straight answer when posed simple questions, sometimes because the question being asked simply cannot be dignified by a one word answer, other times because they ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Word for applying heavenly arguments to terrestrial issues

Is there a word for the process of applying heavenly-derived arguments to terrestrial issues? For example, "John Doe argues against abortion because his Catholic faith says it's wrong. John's ...
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Is “prime candidates” in the sentence below used as a metaphor or personification?

Finally, states should reduce or eliminate the least useful graduate programs. Journalism (now dubbed “communications”), business and education are prime candidates. Is “prime candidates” here used as ...
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Term for a particular logical fallacy

In debates there's a particular logical fallacy that goes something like: "Person A is bad. Person A thinks X is good. Therefore X is bad." or alternatively: "Person A is good. Person A thinks X is ...
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What is the precise name for this non sequitur

Randomly came across an article with the title Why Angry White America Fell For Putin today. Provocative title and content of the article aside, there is an obvious kind of fallacy in the title ...
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What is the name for this rhetorical technique?

What is it called when person A makes an argument, then person B picks on a minor error in A's argument (such as a typo or misattribution of a quote) and uses this small error to argue that everything ...
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What is the term for the unstated elements within rhetoric and/or their use?

I've always understood that the term rhetoric specifically referred to the conveyance of some concept that is not represented at all in the literal meaning of the words used. A few examples: These ...
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Name of a particular type of verbal riposte

In this type of riposte, you use your opponent's words, but rearrange them to be in your favor. For example, the story about Diogenes eating lentils: Aristippus: "If you would learn to be ...
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"Eye of the Needle" Joke in Supply-Side Jesus

"It is easier for a rich man to enter heaven seated comfortably on the back of a camel than it is for a poor man to pass through the eye of a needle," is a funny inversion of "Matthew 19:24" from Al ...
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4 votes
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History of using "fact" as an interjection

There is a common (maybe even hackneyed) rhetorical device of interjecting the word fact before or after spoken statements to emphasize that the statement is true. Here's an example from a TED Talk by ...
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Term for when someone falsely accuses you of doing to them what they are actually doing to you

UPDATE: (2018-02-08) Pot-Calling-The-Kettle-Black (PCKB) reconsideration and another example: The Wikipedia article on PCKB indicates something interesting. It says that originally, the term was ...
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7 votes
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"might want no fact of distinguished die" - grammatical deconstruction and meaning?

The original draft of the Declaration of Independence (BlackPast.org)...has the following: ...that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those ...
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4 votes
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How would Anglophones judge the rhetoric that was typical of 1600-1900?

My question is related to the Irish orator, politician, lawyer and judge, John Philpot Curran (24 July 1750 – 14 October 1817) Source: p 54-55, The Art of the Advocate (1993) by Richard Du Cann QC (...
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What does the sentence, "You could do worse than review some of Lenny Bruce's material." mean

I understand that it's an indirect form of compliment, also known as litotes. Here's a question already on that, "You could do worse than [x]" I couldn't get my head around, if it's a ...
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How is unjustifiable (falsely attributed) usage of *we* or *us* called? [closed]

I wonder what the name of phenomenon when a speaker uses we or us to falsely (and, really, deceptively) attach oneself to a group (like when a politician says "hard times await us" in his public ...
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