Rhetorical Analysis Terms

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allegory
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an expressive style that uses fictional characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances. A story with two or more levels of meaning
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allusion
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a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize
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amplification
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dramatic ordering of words to show a sort of expansion or progression : conceptual, valuative, poetic. \”sunlight, torchlight, candle light, neon, incandescent\”
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analogy
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drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect
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anecdote
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short account of an incident told to prove a point
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apostrophe
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a figure of speech in which one directly addresses an absent or imaginary person, or some abstraction
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asyndeton
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When the conjunctions (such as \”and\” or \”but\”) that would normally connect a string of words, phrases, or clauses are omitted from a sentence, to make a verse and memorable statement.
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colloquial
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characteristic of informal spoken language or conversation
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concession
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a point conceded or yielded
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connotation
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the implied or associative meaning of a word
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deduction
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the process of moving from a general rule to a specific example
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denotation
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the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression
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diction
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the author’s choice of words that creates tone, attitude, and style, as well as meaning
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didactic
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having the primary purpose of teaching or instructing
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dysphemism
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Substitution of a more offensive or disparaging word or phrase for one considered less offensive.
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ethos
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The appeal of a text to the credibility and character of the speaker, writer, or narrator
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euphemism
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a mild, indirect, or vague term substituting for a harsh, blunt, or offensive term
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form
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the shape or structure of a literary work
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homily
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This term literally means \”sermon,\” but more informally, it can include any serious talk, speech, or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice.
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hyperbole
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a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor
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induction
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reasoning from detailed facts to general principles
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inference
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a conclusion one can draw from presented details
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invective
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abusive or venomous language used to express blame or censure or bitter deep-seated ill will
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logos
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an appeal based on logic or reason
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loose sentence
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a complex sentence in which the main clause comes first and the subordinate clause follows
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motif
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a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work
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oxymoron
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conjoining contradictory terms (as in ‘deafening silence’)
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pacing
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the movement of a literary piece from one point to another
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paradox
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a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
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pathos
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an appeal to emotion
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pedantic
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a term used to describe writing that borders on lecturing, it is scholarly and academic and often overly difficult and distant.
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periodic sentence
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a complex sentence in which the main clause comes last and is preceded by the subordinate clause
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rhetoric
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study of the technique and rules for using language effectively (especially in public speaking)
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syllogism
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A method of presenting a logical argument. In its most basic form, the syllogism consists of a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion
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syntax
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the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences
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thesis
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the primary position taken by a writer or speaker
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tone
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the quality of something (an act or a piece of writing) that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author
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understatement
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the opposite of exaggeration. It is a technique for developing irony and/or humor where one writes or says less than intended.
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voice
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can refer to two different areas of writing. One refers to the relationship between a sentence’s subject and verb (active voice/passive voice). The second refers to the total \”sound\” of a writer’s style.

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