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Rhetorical Devices

Learn about commonly used rhetorical devices.
a data set by ms.brown
created May 19, 2017
COPY & EDIT
FAMILY TREE
DeviceDefinitionPurposeExample
AlliterationA series of words with the same beginning letter sound.For emphasis; to create an emotional reaction related to the repeated sound."the Furrow Followed Free…"
AllusionReference to a historical or literary figure or event.Apply a symbolic meaning.The world opened up like the Garden of Eden before me.
AmplificationExtension of a phrase or sentence.Further explain, exaggerate, or emphasize.I believe I am sick. VS I believe I am sick for my throat is sore, and I have a fever. I have no appetite and the smell of food makes me nauseous.
AnalogyComparison of two things which are alike in some ways.Clarify unfamiliar ideas or references."The white mare of the moon rush along the sky / Beating their golden hoofs upon the glass Heavens."
AnaphoraRepetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive units of speech.Lend emphasis to the successive clauses."In every cry of every man, / In every infant's cry of fear, / In every voice, in every ban, / The mind-forged manacles I hear"
AntiphrasisUse of a word in a way that is opposite of its generally accepted meaning. Create a humorous or ironic effect.(About a coward) "Look at this brave man!"
AntithesisJuxtaposition of contrasting ideas through parallelism.Emphasize the difference between two ideas."We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
AssonanceRepetition of similar or identical vowel sounds.Emphasize mood or imagery."That solitude which suits abstruse musings"
AsyndetonDeliberately leaving out conjunctions in a series of clauses.Push forward with energy."I came, I saw, I conquered."
EpizeuxisConsecutive repetition of a word.Emphasis.Run, run, run!
EthosAppeal to morals or principles.Convince audience of the speaker's good character.As a doctor, I can verify these findings.
EuphemismSubstitution of a less offensive or more agreeable expression for one which might be too harsh.Convey an idea through more pleasant means.Downsize instead of fire
HyperboleExaggeration.Create a grand effect by overemphasizing a point.I'm so hungry I could eat a horse.
IronyA form of speech in which the surface meaning and underlying meaning are different.Ridicule an idea.(During a thunderstorm) "Nice weather we're having!"
LogosAppeal to logic.Convince audience through logic or reason.Based on the evidence, you the jury must convict the defendant.
MetaphorComparison of two objects.Help the audience understand a concept through comparison."All the world's a stage"
MetonymyUse of a related thing or concept to refer to another thing or concept.Give more profound meanings to common ideas."The pen is mightier than the sword."
OnomatopoeiaUse of words that emulate a sound.Makes sound descriptions more interesting and expressive.Bang! Pop! Kaboom!
OxymoronCombination of contradictory terms.Comedic or dramatic effect.Jumbo shrimp
ParallelismUse of words or phrases with similar structures.Persuade through created balance and rhythm.Like father, like son.
PathosAppeal to emotion.Convince audience by creating an emotional response.As a member of this community, I feel obligated to pursue safety first.
SimileComparison of two objects that uses "like" or "as."Help the audience understand a concept through comparison.As brave as a lion
SynecdocheReference to a thing by one of its parts.Give more profound meanings to common ideas.Those are some nice wheels. (In reference to a car)
UnderstatementPresentation of an object or idea as being smaller or less important that it actually is.For humor and to ease the truth.The bomb was a bit noisy.
Ready to learn about Rhetorical Devices?