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Metalepsis: reference to something by means of another thing that is remotely related to it, either through a farfetched causal relationship, or through an implied intermediate substitution of terms. Often used for comic effect through its preposterous exaggeration.

Metaphor: implied comparison achieved through a figurative use of words; the word is used not in its literal sense, but in one analogous to it.

*Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. Shakespeare, Macbeth

*. . . while he learned the language (that meager and fragile thread . . . by which the little surface corners and edges of men's secret and solitary lives may be joined for an instant now and then before sinking back into the darkness. . . ) Faulkner,

Absalom, Absalom!

*From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. W. Churchill

Metastasis:: Denying and turning back on your adversaries arguments used against you.
Metonymy: [mɪ ˈtɒ nɪ mɪ]A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated (such as "crown" for "royalty").

*He is a man of the cloth.

*The pen is mightier than the sword.

*By the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat thy bread.

*The U.S. won three gold medals. (Instead of, The members of the U.S. boxing team won three gold medals.)

Minor premise The second premise of a syllogism. The minor premise offers a particular instance of the generalization stated in the major premise

Mock heroic a form of satire in which trivial subjects, characters or events are treated with the elevated language and elaborate devices characteristic of the heroic style.

Mode of Discourse: The way in which information is presented in a text. The four traditional modes are narration, description, exposition, and argument.


(1) The quality of a verb that conveys the writer's attitude toward a subject. (2) The emotion evoked by a text.

Motif The repetition or variations of an image or idea in a work used to develop theme or characters

Myth A traditional story about gods, ancestors, or heroes, told to explain the natural world or the customs and beliefs of a society.

Narrative; A rhetorical strategy that recounts a sequence of events, usually in chronological order.

Non sequitur fallacy [nɒn ‘sɛk wɪ tər] "It does not follow" in a general sense any argument which fails to establish a connection between the premises and the conclusion. In practice, however, the label tends to be reserved for arguments in which irrelevant reasons are offered to support a claim.

Observation: a deliberate mental activity in which we probe a subject in order to discover as much about it as possible.

Only Cause/Oversimplification fallacy: causal oversimplification, Fallacy of Reduction it is assumed that there is a single, simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.

Onomatopoeia: The formation or use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to, accommodation of sound to sense.

Oxymoron: A figure of speech in which incongruous or contradictory terms appear side by side. apparent paradox achieved by the juxtaposition of words which seem to contradict one another.

*sweet sadness, deafening silence

Parabola (parable): the explicit drawing of a parallel between two essentially dissimilar things, especially with a moral or didactic purpose.

Paradox: an assertion seemingly opposed to common sense, but that may yet have some truth in it. Paradox created temporary confusion in order to produce lasting clarity.

*What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young. George Bernard Shaw

*I must be cruel only to be kind. Shakespeare, Hamlet

Paralipsis: [‘pær ə ,lɪpsɪs] a kind of irony in which the speaker proposes not to speak of a matter, but still somehow reveals it;

pretended omission for rhetorical effect.

*That part of our history detailing the military achievements which gave us our several possessions ... is a theme too familiar to my listeners for me to dilate on, and I shall therefore pass it by. Thucydides, "Funeral Oration"

*Let us make no judgment on the events of Chappaquiddick, since the facts are not yet all in. A political opponent of Senator

Edward Kennedy

Parallelism: The similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases, or clauses. The arrangement of words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and sections of a composition so that elements of equal importance and function are given equal emphasis and form.

parenthesis par-en'-the-sis from Gk. para, "beside" and thesis, "placing" parathesis interpositio interposicion, insertour Insertion of a verbal unit that interrupts normal syntactical flow

Parody: A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule.

Paronomasia: [,pær ə naʊ ˈmeɪzɪə]use of similar sounding words; often etymological word-play.

*...culled cash, or cold cash, and then it turned into a gold cache. E.L. Doctorow, Billy Bathgate

*Thou art Peter (Greek petros), and upon this rock (Greek petra) I shall build my church. Matthew 16

*The dying Mercutio: Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man. Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Pathos: The means of persuasion that appeals to the audience's emotions.
Pedantic: (adj) related to the display of useless knowledge or minute observance of petty rules or details (Pedantry – noun form)

Periodic Sentence: A long and frequently involved sentence, marked by suspended syntax, in which the sense is not completed until the final word--usually with an emphatic climax.

Periphrasis: [pə ‘rɪ frə sɪs] The substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name (a species of circumlocution);

or, conversely, the use of a proper name as a shorthand to stand for qualities associated with it.

“He's no Fabio to look at; but then, he's no Woody Allen, either.”

Personification: A figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstraction is endowed with human qualities or abilities.

*England expects every man to do his duty. Lord Nelson

Persuasion: written or oral discourse aimed at disposing an audience to think and act in accordance with the speaker’s will.

Pleonasm: [‘pli ə næ zəm]use of superfluous or redundant words, often enriching the thought.

*No one, rich or poor, will be excepted.

*Ears pierced while you wait!

*I have seen no stranger sight since I was born.

Point of View: The perspective from which a speaker or writer tells a story or presents information

Poisoning the well fallacy Smear Tactics, Smear Campaign involves trying to discredit what a person might later claim by presenting unfavorable information (be it true or false) about the person.

Polysyndeton: pol-ee-‘sin-di-ton the repetition of conjunctions in a series of coordinate words, phrases, or clauses.

*I said, "Who killed him?" and he said, "I don't know who killed him but he's dead all right," and it was dark and there was water standing in the street and no lights and windows broke and boats all up in the town and trees blown down and everything all blown and I got a skiff and went out and found my boat where I had her inside Mango Bay and she was all right only she was full of water. (Hemingway, After the Storm)

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy: "After this, therefore because of this." False Cause, Questionable Cause This fallacy is committed when it is concluded that one event causes another simply because the proposed cause occurred before the proposed effect.

Predicate: main parts of a sentence or clause, modifying the subject and including the verb, objects, or phrases governed by the verb.

Premise: either of the two propositions in a syllogism from which a conclusion is drawn. Etymologically, “ to go before,” premises are the assumptions either believed or entertained from which deductive reasoning proceeds. In a more general sense, premises are the assumptions upon which an author bases an argument.

Process analysis a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by it's explanation of how to do something or how something occurs. It presents a sequence of steps and shows how those steps lead to a particular result. (Can be seen often in recipes or directional manuals, a discussion of steps)

Prose: Ordinary writing (both fiction and nonfiction) as distinguished from verse.

Pun: (paronomasia) A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words.

“It would be possible to make a pencil with an eraser at both ends but what would be the point?”

Purpose: the controlling intention of a composition. In an expository essay the general purpose might be to explain, convince, or describe, but the specific purpose would be, say, to convince the editors of the local newspaper that they had chosen to support the wrong candidate, or to explain to the readers of the college paper why the proposed tuition increase was passed without student opposition. When the purpose of an essay is stated directly, it is often called the thesis statement. Although the thesis statement expresses what you are trying to say, it does not fully explain your reason for saying it.

Qualify (v)/qualifier (n) to make (a statement or assertion) less absolute; to modify, limit, or temper

Rebuttal refutation; response with contrary evidence; V. rebut: refute; disprove

Red Herring fallacy "smoke screen"; "wild goose chase" an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue.

Refutation: The part of an argument wherein a speaker or writer anticipates and counters opposing points of view. Repetition: An instance of using a word, phrase, or clause more than once in a short passage--dwelling on a point. Rhetoric: The study and practice of effective communication.

Rhetorical Question: A question asked merely for effect with no answer expected. They occur frequently when the author is trying to disarm anticipated objections. any question asked for a purpose other than to obtain the information the question asks. The question as a grammatical form has important rhetorical dimensions; the technical term for rhetorical questions in general is erotema.
Sarcasm: one kind of irony; it is praise which is really an insult; sarcasm generally involves malice, the desire to put someone down,

*"This is my brilliant son, who failed out of college."

Satire: A text or performance that uses irony, derision, or wit to expose or attack human vice, foolishness, or stupidity.

Schemes changing the pattern of words in a sentence

Semantics: [sɪ ˈmæn tɪks] The meaning or the interpretation of a word, sentence, or other language form: We're basically agreed; let's not quibble over semantics.

Simile: an explicit comparison between two things using 'like' or 'as'.

*Reason is to faith as the eye to the telescope. D. Hume [?]

*Let us go then, you and I,

While the evening is spread out against the sky,

Like a patient etherized upon a table... T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Slippery Slope fallacy The Camel's Nose: asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question. asserts that one undesirable action will inevitably lead to a worse action, which will necessarily lead to a worse one still, all the way to a terrible disaster.

Solecism: [‘sɒlɪˌsɪzəm] An element of speech or writing that is incorrect grammatically

Strawman fallacy: exaggerated version of your opponent’s position that is easy to refute.ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.
Style: In classical rhetoric, the choice of words and their arrangement. In contemporary usage, style generally refers to the relation between ideas and language. . . . Diction, syntax, pint of view, emphasis, figurative language all contribute to style. More difficult to define than to perceive, an author’s style produces the recognizable individuality of a composition.


Words, phrases, and clauses that make one element of a sentence dependent on (or subordinate to) another. Contrast with coordination.

Syllepsis: [sɪ ˈlɛp sɪs] A kind of ellipsis in which one word (usually a verb) is understood differently in relation to two or more other words, which it modifies or governs.

*We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang separately.” Benjamin Franklin

"You can't just fire teachers and tomahawk missiles simultaneously." (Jon Stewart)

Syllogism: A form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise (All men are mortal), a minor premise (Socrates is a man), and a conclusion (Therefore, Socrates is mortal).

Symbol: A person, place, action, or thing that (by association, resemblance, or convention) represents something other than itself.

Synaesthesia: [‘sɪ nɪs ‘θi zɪə] The description of one kind of sense impression by using words that normally describe another

*I feel blue; a warm color; a smooth sound; a loud color”

Synecdoche: [sɪn ‘ɛk də kɪ]understanding one thing with another; the use of a part for the whole, or the whole for the part. (A

form of metonymy.)

*Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6

*I should have been a pair of ragged claws

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"


(1) The study of the rules that govern the way words combine to form phrases, clauses, and sentences. (2) The arrangement of words in a sentence.

Systrophe: The listing of many qualities or descriptions of someone or something, without providing an explicit definition.

Tautology: [tɔː ˈtɒ lə dʒɪ]repetition of an idea in a different word, phrase, or sentence, often in a way that is wearisome or unnecessary.

*With malice toward none, with charity for all. Lincoln, Second Inaugural

Theme: 1. an idea or topic expanded in a discourse, discussion, etc.

2. (in literature, music, art, etc.) a unifying idea, image, or motif, repeated or developed throughout a work

Thesis: The main idea of an essay or report, often written as a single declarative sentence.
Tone: A writer's attitude toward the subject and audience. Tone is primarily conveyed through diction, point of view, syntax, and level of formality.

Transition: The connection between two parts of a piece of writing, contributing to coherence.

Tropes using a word in a way other than what is considered its literal or normal form.

TuQuoque fallacy [tju: ‘kwaʊkwɪ] (look who's talking or two wrongs make a right) pointing to a similar wrong or error committed by another.

Understatement: A figure of speech in which a writer deliberately makes a situation seem less important or serious than it is.

Understatement leaves it to the readers to build up what has been played down and therefore prompts them to engage actively in imagining the importance of what has been understated. When an offensive idea is understated, the result is a

kind of euphemism. Litotes is a form of understatement in which the opposite of what is intended is denied: “This is no small


Unreliable Authority fallacy biased authority or uninformed authority cited

Voice (1) The quality of a verb that indicates whether its subject acts (active voice) or is acted upon (passive voice). (2) The distinctive style or manner of expression of an author or narrator.

Zeugma: [‘zju: gmə]two different words linked to a verb or an adjective which is strictly appropriate to only one of them.

*"You are free to execute your laws, and your citizens, as you see fit."(Star Trek: The Next Generation)

*"He carried a strobe light and the responsibility for the lives of his men."(Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried)


Argumentum ad Baculum (Appeal to Force or the "Might-Makes-Right" Fallacy):force, the threat of force, or some other unpleasant backlash to make the audience accept a conclusion.

Fallacy of Accident. This error occurs when one applies a general rule to a particular case when accidental circumstances render the general rule inapplicable.

Ignorantio Elenchi (Irrelevant Conclusion): This fallacy occurs when a rhetorician adapts an argument purporting to establish a particular conclusion and directs it to prove a different conclusion.

Argument from the Negative (Argumentum Ad Negantem): Arguing from the negative asserts that, since one position is untenable, the opposite stance must be true.

Undistributed Middle Term: A specific type of error in deductive reasoning in which the minor premise and the major premise may or may not overlap.
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