Questions tagged [rhetorical-devices]

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5
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4answers
875 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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6answers
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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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2answers
232 views

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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1answer
644 views

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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1answer
189 views

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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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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0answers
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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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1answer
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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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What is the literary device that describes phrases like “faithfully unfaithful”? [duplicate]

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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8answers
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Not quite “strawman” — a word for stating a non-believed proposition?

[Begin video clip]"The Earth is flat. You can walk from here to there and you never start tilting." [End video clip] "So it might have appeared to people at one time..." [Discard rest of hour-long ...
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2answers
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Is there a name for “I don't mean to…, but” phrases?

"I don't mean to change the subject, but..." but you are changing the subject. "I don't mean to interrupt, but..." but you are interrupting. Is there a name for these type of "polite" phrases?
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1answer
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Give me an example of an apophasis

How ought one best understand an 'apophasis'? Is it the act of mentioning something by not mentioning it, or mentioning it by explicitly saying you won't mention it? Or does it encompass both meanings?...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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2answers
66 views

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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2answers
888 views

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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246 views

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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1answer
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1k views

What is it called when someone uses a slightly absurd specific example of something to be humorous?

For example, "We're competing for attention with teenagers who would rather be playing Angry Birds," or "You need to explain this in a way that your grandmother who thinks the internet works by magic ...
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1answer
253 views

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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2answers
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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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1answer
277 views

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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What literary term is applicable to “awful majesty?” [closed]

What would "awful majesty" be considered? I believe there is a literary term for this kind of contradictory statement – perhaps irony? Or is there another word for it?
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Sarcastic hyperbole?

Is there a word to describe an extremely exaggerated and ridiculous counter-example to the argument you want to make, that makes yours look good by contrast? e.g. "Yes, climate change is so serious ...
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1answer
508 views

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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1answer
132 views

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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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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183 views

Mythologizing using Capitalization and Metaphorical Names

Is there a word for the literary or rhetorical device evinced in the following examples, where a count noun is capitalized into a name thereby evoking an implied mythology? "in the burrows of the ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
79 views

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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Repeating the consonant in many words in a sentence or phrase

In the movie 'V for Vendetta' you have for example (bold part): Evey: Who are you? V. : Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask. Evey: ...
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
101 views

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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3answers
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So [X] it's [opposite of X]

I'm looking for a word or phrase that describes the specific type of word-play or idiom in these examples:: The movie Rocky Horror Picture Show is so bad that it's good. Chinese Crested ...
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11answers
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
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Rhetoric word for answering a question with another answer implying the first

During a discussion on AI, it was asserted that AI is not yet handling very well cases where an indirect, but quite adequate (unless prevaricatory) answer is given. Examples: Person A: Are you ...
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1answer
160 views

What is the name of this rhetorical device [duplicate]

What is the name of the rhetorical device where someone mentions a subject by stating that he or she will not mention it, as in "not to mention the fact that you have not paid me."
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1answer
480 views

Term for rhetorical device of claiming not to intend what you are about to do?

What is the correct term for the rhetorical act of claiming you do not intend (or are not doing) what you are about to do? Examples: "Not to open a can of worms, but what if we just scrapped the ...
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2answers
206 views

Expressions starting with 'as' - does 'as' imply a rhetorical obviousness?

Being a non-native speaker I might have the wrong instinct about this, but I feel a common theme in the following expressions: as God is my witness as I hope to be saved as you value your life To me,...
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Is there a term for these … uh … rhetorical devices?

SCENARIO ONE PRESIDENT. I want you to give me seventeen trillion dollars for the new space program. CONGRESS. Are you kidding? He's nuts. I can't believe he actually said that. What's the matter ...
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9answers
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In “That patient merit of th'unworthy takes”, what does merit mean exactly?

In the famous Hamlet's soliloquy, I am not quite clear on the role/meaning of merit in the following: The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of th'unworthy takes, My ...
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1answer
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Why is “wry humor” more evidently used than “analogy” in this sentence? [closed]

The question is from the English portion of a particular test, asking for the rhetoric strategy used in this quotation: I love Henry, but I cannot like him; and as for taking his arm, I should as ...
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“I'm happy to see that you are sober as a judge” Is this a rhetorical device?

Context: A few decades ago, during the electoral campaign for governor, there was a televised debate between the three major parties candidates. Candidate A, the favorite according to the polls, was ...
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2answers
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Is this strictly a paradox?

It seemed that we were closing in on a vision of our universe in which everything to be calculated, predicted, understood. However two theories eternal inflation and string theory now suggest that the ...
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961 views

What figure of speech is this?

"Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them, Cannon in front of them." Years ago, when I was introduced to "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (Tennyson, 1854) our ...
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What should we call language that intentionally conveys the opposite of the literal meaning?

This seems to me to be a kind of rhetorical figure, but I cannot find a classical term for it in Silva Rhetoricae. Examples include the following from Tristram Shandy (Vol. 2 Chap. 24): I define a ...