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Rhetorical Strategies
Based on a handout from Mrs Kim's class

These differ slightly from rhetorical devices in that they are larger structural elements that charachterize an entire piece, not just one or two sentences.


Abstraction: describing the concept more than the concrete elements
Ad hominem argument: an argument against the person, instead of against his argument; trying to discredit your opponent on grounds unrelated to the issue at hand
Ambiguity: using words that have more than one meaning, or purposely wording a passage vaguely
Concession: conceding a point, only to show how it does not weaken your own argument
Analogies: drawing effective parallels or connections to other situations with which the reader might be more familiar (aka parallelism)
Connotation: suggesting, implying, rather than saying outright
Denotation: being explicit, obvious, stating outright
Deduction: using a general rule to draw a conclusion about a specific example
Comic relief
Consistent control:
controlling the pace of a piece effectively (see pacing, literary device)
Contrast: making one's point by using opposites or radically different objects or ideas (juxtaposition)
Definition, extended definition: using the mechanism of defining to make a point
Description: using vivid language, full of imagery and metaphorical connotation
Dialogue: you know this one
Diction: word choice, specific choice of certain words (figurative language, like metaphors and similes)
Syntax: the orders of words in a sentence; there is conventional syntax, and inverted syntax
Dramatic monologue: speaking one's thoughts out loud, to reveal the internal conflicts of a charachter
Interior monologue: written as though thoughts are not spoken aloud
Ethos (credibility): the authority, expertise, experience, or credibility to speak on a certain topic
Pathos (emotions): appealing to the reader's emotions to persuade
Logos (logic): using logic to persuade
Parenthetical phrases: like asides, in dialogue; allows writer to include information without appearing to emphasize it.
Platitiudes: flattery
Reduction ad absurdum: reduce to the absurd; reducing an argument down to an absurd either/or choice
Repetition: a certain point, idea, image, word, feeling that is repeated
Rhetorical questions: especially when answers seem obvious, can be very effective
Sentences types: declarative (a statement), exclamatory (emphatic), interrogative (questioning)
Transition: linking ideas through (good) words and phrases
Understatement: opposite of hyperbole; usually ironic (as a device = euphemism)
Unifying image: one guiding metaphor that opens, drives, and closes a passage
Voice: the "sound" of a writer's style