Questions tagged [rhetorical-devices]

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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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215 views

What is this statement being used as?

In composing a written response to a comparison that has been made, I've become a bit stumped. In the statement, the latter claims superiority over the former, based upon the self-identified qualities ...
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1answer
75 views

'She looked incredible. Then she looked at me'

Am I correct in saying that the verb 'looked' is intransitive in the first phrase, transitive in the second phrase? Is there a name for this type of rhetorical technique playing on the two senses of ...
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1answer
95 views

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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437 views

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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Answering your own question

I have been wondering if this particular speaking device had a specific name. My wife uses a speaking technique where, instead of just making a statement, she presents it in the form of a question, ...
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3answers
1k views

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 ...
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53 views

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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1answer
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What do you call it when someone says they’re not going to mention a thing? [duplicate]

Is there a name for the sort of expression where someone would say something like... “I’m not going to mention the ridiculous hat they’re wearing.” Or “I could make a joke about footballers diving ...
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25 views

Word for stating something as fact when narrator and audience knows it is untrue?

I am looking for a literary term that is similar to irony. Basically, the narrator say something in an almost sarcastic way by stating something that everyone knows is untrue. The quote I am going off ...
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1answer
62 views

Is there a word or phrase for using overspecific, incorrect language intentionally?

A comedian I like calls vampires "Draculas", with the specificity as well as the incorrectness (there is only one Dracula, but many vampires) being a source of humor. Is there a word for ...
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1answer
25 views

Rhetorical strategy by collecting many agreeing individual perspectives to prove something right/wrong

I believe there is a specific rhetorical strategy by using large number of agreeing perspectives to prove the author's point (e.g. Person A said...Person B also stated...Company C explained) The ...
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48 views

What is the name of the rhetoric device for the use of a one word sentence?

I'm doing a study of the collector, how would I describe the use of this quote... "Power. Its become so real." The use of power as a one-word sentence for emphasis, what technique or device ...
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908 views

The difference between “only one” and “one and only one”

A teacher announces, "There is only one student who failed the course." Does the teacher’s statement mean anything different from the following version? "There is one and only one student who ...
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32 views

Types of Questions

Are questions such as "Will they like me?" and "Will I fit in?" said in a diary, for example, with an emotional tone, rhetorical questions? If not, what type are they?
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54 views

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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1answer
117 views

Ending a sentence with “has it” or “did it” in a sarcastic statement, what's this called?

E.g. 1: "Oh, that joke about a pandemic has aged like fine wine, hasn't it?" E.g. 2: "Yes, I suppose we did, didn't we?" I've noticed alot of people from the UK tend to speak in a manner like this,...
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1answer
71 views

What's the name for a non-question posing as a question?

A rhetorical question is a question that doesn't require an answer. What's the name for a rhetorical device that's a non-question that requires an answer ? Eg, in the following convo what role does "...
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1answer
33 views

What linguistic feature would I draw upon to explain this?

If i was writing an informative piece on a random topic and I wrote for instance "Ok, but how does CO2 get released? By burning fossil fuels." By asking a question to my intended audience and then ...
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31 views

Inversion with phrase “handy for”

The following example sentence from Collins Dictionary seems to me perfectly natural and in line with the given definition of handy: 3. A thing or place that is handy is nearby and therefore easy ...
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1answer
118 views

Is “When since” correct? [closed]

A friend of mine recently used an expression "When since" to start a question that could just as well start with "since when". I feel like it's incorrect, but a google search doesn't bring up any ...
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1answer
45 views

What's the word for using alternative descriptions in place of a name?

There's a word for a replacement of a name with a description of that person, place or whatever thing the name belongs to. This is a very common rhetorical device (especially in newspapers and ...
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35 views

What rhetorical device is used in the sentence?

What rhetorical device is used in the sentence "They are unconventionally rich and richly unconventional"?
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369 views

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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69 views

Rhetorical term for the opposite of apophasis/paralipsis?

There are several rhetorical terms describing cases where someone calls attention to something under the pretense of not talking about it or claiming that it shouldn't be talked about, thereby ...
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Origin of “he's 6 feet tall if he's an inch”

I have heard this pattern used before in American English: She's 6 feet tall if she's an inch. It was a gallon of blood if it was a drop. The baby was 10 pounds if it was an ounce. I assume that it ...
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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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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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24 views

Is there a name for this type of rhetoric?

It seems that there is a literary term for almost every imaginable rhetoric; is there a name for the following one? Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, ...
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1answer
34 views

What's it called when a speaker has some object reflect someone's feelings?

I remember this is the name of some rhetorical scheme. It's hard to explain. It's like if I say: "The rain poured down her tears." Or if I say: "All I could hear over the whine of the plane's ...
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1answer
111 views

Would 'Google' be a synecdoche or a metonymy of the internet and technology?

I want to write an opening for my essay, but I'm not sure which term to use: metonymy or synecdoche. I have a feeling that it is a synecdoche because Google is a part of the Internet, but I would like ...
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51 views

The use of 'how could …' in past tense situations

A grammatical issue has been bugging me for some time, and I just can't seem to wrap my head around it. If I'm writing in the past tense and questioning the ability to do something or the possibility ...
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4k views

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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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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1answer
217 views

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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2answers
332 views

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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51 views

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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1answer
68 views

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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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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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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1answer
56 views

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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1answer
177 views

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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1answer
265 views

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 to @...
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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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428 views

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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55 views

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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163 views

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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131 views

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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873 views

What's the name of this literary device?

Suddenly, the theater became silent. Just like the breathless spectators. I'm very much interested in how this rhetorical device would be classified. At first, "the theater" is a totum pro parte for ...
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37k views

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 ...