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RHS AP English

Rhetorical Terms

Rhetorical TermDefinition
Allegory Allegory is a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance, and charac
Ambiguity A purposeful use of language that allows for multiple interpretations
Amplification The act and the means of extending thoughts or statements to increase rhetorical effect, to add importance, or to make the most of a thought or circumstance.
Anadiplosis Repeating the last word of one clause or phrase to begin the next
Analogy The use of a similar or parallel case or example to reason or argue a point
Anaphora A succession of sentences beginning with the same word or group of words
Anecdote A brief narrative describing an interesting or amusing event
Antiphrasis The use of a word or phrase in a sense contrary to its normal meaning for ironic or humorous effect, as in a mere babe of 40 years.
Antistrophe Repeating the last word in successive phrases
Antithesis The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced or parallel words, phrases, or grammatical structures; the second stage of the dialectic process
Aphorism A brief saying embodying a moral, a concise statement of a principle or precept given in pointed words.
Apophasis Allusion to something by denying that it will be mentioned, as in I will not bring up my opponent's questionable financial dealings
Aposiopesis An abrupt stop in the middle of a sentence; used by a speaker to convey unwillingness or inability to complete a thought or statement
Apostrophe a figure of speech consisting of a sudden turn in a text towards an exclamatory address to an imaginary person or a thing
Appeals Rhetorical devices used to enhance the plausibility of one's argument; Aristotle's appeals included ethos, logos, and pathos.
Argument . Discourse characterized by reasons advanced to support conclusions
Audience Real, imagined, invoked, or ignored, this is a concept that seems to be at the very center of the intersections of composing and rhetoric.
Axioms Principles that are not questioned
Backing Supporting an argument's merit
Bombast Grandiloquent, pompous speech or writing
Brevity Concise expression
Burden of proof Theory of argument giving the obligation of proving a case to the challenging party.
Chiasmus A figure of speech consisting of the contrasting of two structurally parallel syntactic phrases arranged "cross-wise", i.e. in such a way that the second is in reverse order from the first.
Circumlocution The use of unnecessarily wordy and indirect language. Evasion in speech or writing.
Claim A primary point being made to support an argument.
Climax Climax occurs when words or sentences are used to increase weight by mounting degrees in parallel construction
Connotation An idea or meaning suggested by or associated with a word or thing
Context The circumstances surrounding an issue that should be considered during its discussion
Data Initial evidence supporting a claim
Deduction Moving from an overall hypothesis to infer something specific about that hypothesis
Denotation The dictionary definition of a word
Dialectic It means using verbal communication between people to discuss topics in order to come to an agreement about them
Diction Choice and use of words in speech or writing
Dramatic Irony Irony that occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play
Enumeration A numbered list
Epideictic Ceremonial rhetoric, such as might be found in a funeral or victory speech
Epistemology Philosophical study directed at understanding how people gain knowledge
Epistrophe A succession of clauses, phrases or sentences that all end with the same word or group of words.
Epithet A term used as a descriptive and qualifying substitute for the name of a person, place or thing.
Ethos A rhetorical appeal to an audience based on the speaker/writer's credibility
Euphemism An innocuous, inoffensive or circumlocutory term or phrase for something unpleasant or obscene
Evidence In rhetoric, facts or testimony used to strengthen a claim
Expletive An exclamation, especially one that is profane, vulgar, or obscene
Extended metaphor A metaphor which is drawn-out beyond the usual word or phrase
Figurative Language Language which implies a secondary, symbolic meaning
Hyperbole A figure of speech where emphasis is achieved through exaggeration, independently or through comparison. For example (from Rhetorica ad Herennium), "'His body was as white as snow, his face burned like fire.'"
Hypophora When a speaker asks aloud what his/her adversaries have to say for themselves or against the speaker, and then proceeds to answer the question
Hypotaxis (a.k.a. subordination)
Hypothesis An educated guess
Imagery The use of words, phrases, symbols, and ideas in such as way as to evoke mental images and sense impressions.
Induction Rhetorical method for coming to general conclusions through specific examples
Inference The act of reasoning from factual knowledge or evidence
Irony A deliberate contrast between indirect and direct meaning to draw attention to the opposite
Jargon Highly technical language used by specific group
Juxtaposition Is an act or instance of placing two things close together or side by side
Litotes Stating a positive by negating the negative - a form of understatement. ("I am not unaware of your difficulties.")
Logical Fallacy Misconceptions resulting from faulty reasoning
Logos Rhetorical appeals based on logic or reasoning
Major Premise Statement in a syllogism. Generalization
Malapropism Ludicrous misuse of a word, especially by confusion with one of similar sound
Maxim A saying drawn from life, which shows concisely either what happens or ought to happen in life, for example: 'Every beginning is difficult.'
Metaphor A figure of speech where a word that normally applies to one thing is used to designate another for the sake of creating a mental picture
Metonymy A figure of speech which substitutes one word or phrase for another with which it is closely associated. For example (from Rhetorica ad Herennium), "one should say 'wine' for 'Liber', 'wheat' for 'Ceres'."
Minor Premise The second statement in a syllogism that identifies the particular example or case.
Mood A set of verb forms or inflections used to indicate the speaker's attitude toward the factuality or likelihood of the action or condition expressed.
Narration Story telling, involving the elements of time, place, actor, action, cause and manner
Necessary Cause Cause without which effect couldn't/wouldn't have occurred
Non Sequitur A statement bearing no relationship to the preceding context
Onomatopoeia Words that imitate the sounds, objects, or actions they refer to. (ex. "buzz")
Oxymoron A condensed paradox
Paradox A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true
Parallel Syntax Repetition of similar sentence structures
Parataxis The juxtaposition of clauses or phrases without the use of coordinating or subordinating conjunctions, as It was cold; the snows came.
Parenthetical Comment An aside comment set apart from the sentence by parenthesis (Get it?).
Parody A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule
Pathos The emotional appeal made to an audience in an argument. One of Aristotle's three appeals.
Periodic sentence A sentence in which the main clause or its predicate is withheld until the end; for example, Despite heavy winds and nearly impenetrable ground fog, the plane landed safely.
Periphrasis The substitution of many or several words where one would suffice; usually to avoid using that particular word
Personification A figure of speech that gives human characteristics or inanimate objects, or represents an absent person as being present
Plausibility Rhetoric that is believable right away due to its association with something that the audience already knows or has experienced
Presumption An idea is reasonable or acceptable only until it is sufficiently challenged
Public Sphere Place where individuals can engage in discussion without the political or state interests interferring
Pun A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words
Purpose What an author is trying to accomplish.
Qualifier A word or phrase that qualifies, limits, or modifies the meaning of another word or phrase
Rhetoric The study and practice of good effective expression. Also a type of discourse- focusing on goals of the speech or piece of writing that attempts to sway the mind of the audience
Rhetorical Question A question to which no answer is expected, often used for rhetorical effect
Rhetorical Situation A term made popular by Lloyd Bitzer; describes the scenario that contains a speech act, including the considerations (purpose, audience, author/speaker, constraints to name a few) that play a role in how the act is produced and perceived by its audience
Satire A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit
Scientific Method A system of observing and analyzing data through induction; prominent school of thought since the 1600s whose proponents are often critical of rhetoric
Sign Term that describes something that has meaning through its connection to something else, like words
Signifying Term that describes the method through which meaning is created with arbitrary signs
Simile A figure of speech that compares unlike things, implying a resemblance between them
Situational Irony Situational irony defies logical cause/effect relationships and justifiable expectations
Situational Irony Situational irony defies logical cause/effect relationships and justifiable expectations
Skepticism Type of thought that questions whether universal truth exists and is attainable by humans
Status quo The generally accepted existing condition or state of affairs
Style The way in which something is said, done, expressed, or performed: a style of speech and writing.
Syllogism A type of valid argument that states if the first two claims are true, then the conclusion is true. (For example: Claim 1: People are mortal. Claim 2: Bob is a person.
Symbol A visual or metaphorical representation of an idea or concept
Synecdoche A rhetorical device were one part of an object is used to represent the whole
Syntax The study of the rules whereby words or other elements of sentence structure are combined to form grammatical sentences
Theme The basic principle expressed in an artistic work.
Thesis The major claim or premise made in an argument to be proven or disproven
Tropes Figure of speech that uses a word aside from its literal meaning
Understatement A form of irony in which something is intentionally represented as less than it is
Warrant An underlying assumption used to establish a link between data and a claim
Zeugma A sentence in which a word used in a phrase or clause is omitted from subsequent parallel phrases or clauses.
Created by: krajcag on 2007-02-07



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