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Questions tagged [rhetorical-devices]

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What is the rhetorical device that modifies a famous phrase, similar to antithesis?

According to Wikipedia: An antithesis must always contain two ideas within one statement A similar effect (parallelism emphasizing opposition of ideas) can be created in which the first element is ...
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Meaning of “take a knee”

Ice Cube's intro in his newest album starts with Yeah, you know me. Super OG. Always down to take a knee. What does this last sentence mean? He won‘t literally take someone’s knee I guess..
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Term for a particular type of specious argument

Is there a name for the debating technique of trying to advance a specious argument by passing off an fallacious assumption as an accepted truth? The context for this was in a communication that ...
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The Last of The Mohicans, literary device question. “Thievish race.” [closed]

I am reading the book, The Last of The Mohicans, and I was wondering what literary device was being used, when Hawkeye is given the quote "A Huron!” repeated the sturdy scout, once more shaking his ...
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What is the rhetorical device in this type of sentence?

When she sang she could make a fence post cry. I received this answer from a reliable source that the whole thing’s a metaphor, last part is anthropomorphizing (the fence crying).
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Is there a rhetorical method in this apparent error?

Although the construction “I could care less,” is derided as a careless rendering of “I couldn’t care less,” and one that undermines the speaker’s intention of expressing lack of interest in something,...
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Is there a name for the substitution of “the + singular noun” for a plural noun?

For instance, I might say, "Overcrowding is a major concern in the classroom today" rather than "Overcrowding is a major concern in classrooms today". Is that substitution a literary device? The ...
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Rhetorical term for repetition for clarification?

In Malcolm X's Ballot or the Bullet speech, at one point he states: '...dripping with blood, dripping with the blood of the black man.... Is there a specific rhetorical term for this technique, where ...
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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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Rhetorical device? Answer question with example of the answer showing how to find the answer

Imagine the following online dialog. Question: What is a hyperlink? Answer: Click on the following, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hyperlink, or type it into your web browser. (Thanks ...
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Is this a simile and is this a metaphor?

The sentence is: To live on this farm is to live in the sky and the grass as well as the house. Is "as well as the house" a simile or is it just saying something similar to "including the house"? ...
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What does “It’s just another day in paradise.” mean in political and diplomatic context in association with U.S. and Russia summit talks?

I came across a phrase, “It’s just another day in paradise” in an article by The Hill (July 20) that came under the title, “Trump demoralized his own team with dizzying Russian moves.” It reads; “...
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How to make a question rhetorical [closed]

How do I make a question rhetorical? I'm having trouble making a should question rhetorically. Please help me out.
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Meaning of “laughing string” in a Yeats poem

Does anyone know the meaning of ‘laughing string’ in these lines by Yeats? Bred to a harder thing Than Triumph, turn away And like a laughing string Whereon mad fingers play Amid a place ...
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What does “The thumb-nail, curled up on itself in the womb…” mean?

The thumb-nail, curled up on itself in the womb, feels fear The speaker is trying to convince his listeners that fear is more primal than any other emotions and feelings. Why did he use thumb-nail ...
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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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The name of the rhetorical device of reporting the use of vulgar language without quoting it?

A company of soldiers, of which our protagonist, Don, is a member, has set up a temporary camp from which they will launch some raids on some enemy positions. Of Don, we read that The company ...
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Name of a word play [duplicate]

Russell one wrote: Between two quantities there is a conception of difference, but no difference of conception. Is there a name for this kind of word play?
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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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Is “Love did compose” personification, or is it something else?

In Andrew Marvell’s poem ‘The Fair Singer’ he writes that love did compose: To make a final conquest of all me, Love did compose so sweet an enemy, In whom both beauties to my death agree, ...
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What does “Now all I take is ibuprofen, and that's two flights up” mean? [closed]

There's a conversation between Dr.House and a patient in an episode of House MD named Lockdown, where House tries to explain an issue with withdrawal of the drug he's been using for a long time to ...
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Is there a term for reversing phrases, usually for comedic effect?

For example, I say to a roommate, "I wish I could get caught up on my homework so I can start dating again," to which he replies, "I wish I could get caught up on my dating so I can start doing ...
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Do people actually address their male child “Son” rather than a name, in real life English, or is this mainly a written English usage?

I regularly see films, books, stories and other English usages in which a person uses the term "son" where one might normally use a name. Usually, it's a father and they're portrayed in a reasonably ...
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What is the literary device that describes phrases like “faithfully unfaithful”?

I came across a Wikipedia page a few months ago that described a literary device that had two opposite words side by side in a sentence. Unlike an oxymoron ("horribly kind", "run slow"), this page ...
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Term for figure of speech in: 'Life is awesome, I confess'

I am listening to Lana del Rey's song where she begins with: Life is awesome, I confess Using confess this way; I found it rather funny, like a play on words, and if that's the case, hope to know ...
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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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What is the term for deliberately forcing a not-quite-grammatical parallelism?

There is a fairly common figure of speech where one deliberately imposes a parallel structure that is not quite grammatical. For instance, consider the question "Is A less, equal, or greater than B?" ...
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Is “as much as the next guy” a simile?

Would "as much as the next guy" be a simile, or just an idiom? I am working on a lesson plan for similes, and was not 100% sure.
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Term for Multiple Similar/Redundant Adjectives

I've been searching fervently for a potentially fictitious term that I thought I came across a while ago for structures like: The weather that day was so bleak and dreary, all I wanted to do was ...
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Is anagnoristic a word? if not, is there another way to say anagnorisis in the same manner? [closed]

Is anagnoristic a word? especially for an formal essay.
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Insertion of over-specific detail to humorous effect

In Gilmore Girls, describing a debutante ball: "It's like animals being up for bid at the county fair, except sheep don't wear hoop skirts." This kind of over-the-top, facetious detail is used ...
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Name for this rhetorical device

The text: "The court determined that Student B exhibited adverse educational impact because notwithstanding her passing grades, during her final year at School #1, her symptoms were sufficiently ...
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A, or rather B- its rhetorical effect

I am wondering why "A, or rather B" is used in writing in sentences like the following: It is well known, or rather notorious, that Tokyo is the Great Babylon of Japan. Some people might cross out ...
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Is there a rhetorical term for remarks like “you're exactly what I've come to expect from…”?

Is there a specific term for a statement that uses words such that their precise meaning conveys a subtext contrary to the colloquial meaning? For example, the joke in Men in Black: Gentlemen, ...
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Is there a word to describe mocking a list by extending it?

For instance, the quote from Douglas Adams: “In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real ...
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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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What rhetorical device is useful but handy?

So my mother sent me an amusing passage from some Robert Parker novel: I sat in a tweed chair with wooden arms that rocked on springs against a solid wooden base. It was ugly but it was ...
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Is the apostrophe mark named after the rhetorical device or vice versa?

As far as I can tell, without getting into the possessive apostrophe, they have related functions: The apostrophe mark denotes a missing character (or series of characters) in the contraction of a ...
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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 is the name of this rhetorical device involving the use of One. Word. Sentences. For. Effect

I am trying to find the name for the rather recent, I think, rhetorical device of one-word sentences used for emphasis and effect. For example: Columnist Ruth Marcus, writing for the Washington Post,...
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What do you call a sentence that reverses parts of the first clause in a second clause that makes sense, too?

I'm looking for the definition of a phrase like this, where two ideas of thought are reversed and still make sense. Nothing too exciting to report, but reporting nonetheless is exciting. I feel ...
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Using “who” twice, why?

I'm intrigued by the use of 'who' twice in the following quote from the movie 'The Imitation Game' Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do things that no one imagines. Is ...
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Repetition of an idea, for poetic emphasis

What is the term for the literary device employed in poetry whereby an idea is repeated using different words, in order to provide emphasis? It's common in the Biblical psalms, for example the very ...
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Classic phrase regarding a growing distance from our children

At the end of Miranda July's recent WSJ article, she offers the following melancholic observation: From the moment your kids are born, you’re always losing them. I've occasionally heard sentiment ...
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Word or phrase for “it won't change anything, but we'll protest anyways”

There exists a phrase or device, somewhat akin to the parables of Paul Bunyan or John Henry, when your efforts at protest are futile against a struggle, but you are compelled to struggle against it ...
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What is this rhetorical scheme or literary device called?

I can't recall the name of the rhetorical scheme or literary device involved with using the same word more than once within the same sentence but with different meanings: "The only thing we have to ...
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Reversing Binomials

Siamese twins or binomials are pairs of expressions which are often conjoined. For example: back and forth ebb and flow near and far better or worse do or die Is there is a name for the rhetorical ...
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What's the term for when a phrase is slightly changed for effect?

What is the name of the rhetorical device of slightly changing a standard phrase? Here is an example: McDonald's Yuan Menu The original word, "Dollar," has been replaced with "Yuan," giving the ...