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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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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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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“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 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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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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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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“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 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 man ...
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What do you call the rhetoric strategy of purposely writing a paragraph that no one can understand?

Most of us have come across a paragraph which sounded meaningless to us or which made us wonder if we were intellectually equipped to read it. That may have been the case, but sometimes one writes a ...
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Placing the object of an infinitive before it instead of after it

At the beginning of 1807, based on information gathered from Burr’s correspondence allegedly showing that he had begun preparations for a large-scale military expedition, the former vice president ...
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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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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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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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“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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What kind of rhetoric is (this particular) “No one ever […]”

The President also knows that we have to stop blaming victims for these crimes. No one ever asks the person who got robbed at gunpoint in the street -- why were you there, what were you doing, what ...
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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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Litotes: Always for Emphasis? Used for Non-committal Hedging? Any Authoritative Source?

My question is about litotes. I’m wondering if it is always for emphasis, or whether it can be a type of non-committal statement or hedging. And, is there an authoritative source that can be cited ...
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Rhetorical device - listing rejected answers

Is there a name for the rhetorical device whereby you ask a question and then list the rejected answers? For example: "What was it then? It wasn't x, nor y, nor z. No, in fact it was . . .." The ...
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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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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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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 construction, ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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 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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Is this an example of rhetoric? [closed]

I don't know if this is an example of rhetoric. How has CVS changed over the past few years?