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Rhetorical devices

Definition of Rhetorical Devices

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Rhetorical devices

  1. 1. Rhetorical Devices ACADEMIC VOCABULARY • rhetorical devices: techniques writers and speakers use to effectively convey ideas and enhance arguments. Writers and speakers use rhetorical devices within the language in order to emphasize, explain, or unify ideas, and often to persuade.
  2. 2. Common Rhetorical Devices • repetition: the use of the same word, phrase, or sound more than once for emphasis • parallelism: the use of similar grammatical constructions to express ideas that are related or of equal importance • rhetorical questions: questions that need no answer because their answers seem obvious
  3. 3. Repetition and Parallelism Repetition and parallelism are rhetorical devices in which repeated words and patterns provide rhythm, enhance ideas, and organize complex passages. • In the following example, notice the parallel grammatical form (noun+ action verb) plus the repetition of the one word, change, create strong rhythms when the text is spoken, cementing the message in listeners' minds. EXAMPLE Times change. People change. Companies change. Have you changed?
  4. 4. Rhetorical Questions Most rhetorical questions prompt thought or focus discussion and are not meant to be answered literally. Rhetorical questions in persuasive texts often are meant to sway audiences to agree with the writers' arguments or opinions.
  5. 5. Rhetorical Questions EXAMPLE And what is so rare as a day in June? Is this question meant to persuade or to summon an image or feeling?
  6. 6. Try it out— For each example, decide which rhetorical device is being used by identifying characteristics of the device, and then explain the effect it creates for each piece of text. Example 1 According to the ancient historian Plutarch, the Roman emperor Julius Caesar spoke these words, one of history’s most recognized utterances. I came, I saw, I conquered.
  7. 7. Parallelism I came, I saw, I conquered. The parallel grammatical forms (pronoun I + past-tense action verb) have a potent rhythm, giving weight and authority to the saying
  8. 8. Example 2 President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address on January 20, 1969 moved many Americans with its call to action. Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?
  9. 9. Rhetorical Questions Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort? Kennedy’s rhetorical questions are addressed directly to the audience. The implied “yes” answer to each question, prompts listeners to accept the challenges named in the speech.
  10. 10. Metaphor A comparison that doesn’t use “like” or “as”—such as “He’s a rock” or “I am an island.”
  11. 11. Foreshadowing A technique in which an author gives clues about something that will happen later in the story.
  12. 12. Dramatic irony occurs when facts are not known to the characters in a work of literature but are known by the audience.
  13. 13. THEME A theme is the central idea or ideas explored by a literary work. It’s like the hidden message or point the author is trying to get across in writing. It’s the general subject. There are usually more than one theme in a literary work.

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