Rhetorical Device Assignment

For this assignment you must use all of the rhetorical devices listed below. You must use twenty rhetorical  devices.

Then write a passage that uses each device at least once. Each time you use a device, place the corresponding name in brackets immediately after the device is used. The assignment, then, should consist of at least twenty sentences. The best scenario is a passage that makes good sense, but if you experience difficulty, at least create additional sentences that use the devices you can’t fit in. You will be assigned one mark for each properly used device, plus a mark out of five for the quality of the passage as a written work. The devices don’t need to be used in order, and part or no marks will be given for any devices that are too similar to the examples given in the definitions.

Rhetorical and Poetic Devices

Alliteration – A series of two or more words which have the same sound at the beginning of the word.

Allusion – a reference to scripture and myth, classical works (such as Shakespeare) or history.

Anacoluthon  – In rhetoric, a break or change in direction in a speech, often signaled by a dash. Example: “I was listening to the news – this man he’s a company director in London – the police arrested him.”

Anadiplosis – word repeated for effect. Example: Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however hard and long the road may be.

Analogy – A narrative which compares an abstract concept to a concrete one.

Anticlimax – descent from the elevated and important to the low and trivial. Ex. “Here thou, Great Anna! whom three realms obey, / Dost sometimes counsel take-and sometimes Tea.”

Antithesis – a construction in which words are opposed, but balanced. Ex. “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Apostrophe – Rhetorically addressing someone or something that cannot respond, such as a dead person, a place, or an idea. Ex. “O Liberty! O Liberty! what crimes are committed in thy name!”

Bathos – A term for ludicrous anticlimax. Ex. “For God, for country, and for Acme Gasworks.”

Chiasmus – An inversion of the word order that creates a counterbalancing effect in the second of the two linked phrases. Ex. “One must eat to live, not live to eat.”

Connotation – An implied meaning of a word; also emotional bias.

Dysphemism – The use of a negative or disparaging expression to describe something or someone, such as calling a Rolls Royce a jalopy. A cruel or offensive version is called a cacophemism, such as using it for a person.

Hendiadys – A term for two equal words joined by and, instead of one word with a modifier, or two words where one would have been enough. (Nice and warm for nicely wurm, or gloom and doom).

Homeoteleuton – The opposite of alliteration, in which several words in a series have the same closing sounds (such as industrious and illustrious, or ethical and practical).

Hyperbaton/Inversion – Speech in which the normal word order of statements is turned around, for emphasis or to mark priority and eminence. The inversion of the usual or logical order of words, usually for emphasis, such as This I really have to see.

Hyperbole – term for exaggeration or overstatement, used for emphasis. Ex. “I have a ton of books to read.”

Metaphor – A figure of speech likening one object to another as if it were that other.

Onomatopoeia – Words which copy the sound from nature.

Parallel Structure – Two or more series of words in which the grammatical structure is repeated.

Simile – comparison that uses like or us.

Symbol – An object which stands for an abstract concept.

Other Rhetorical Devices

Anaphora – the repetition of the same word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences.  Example: In books I find the dead as if they were alive; in books I foresee things to come; in books warlike affairs are set forth; from books come forth the laws of peace.

Epanalepsis – repeats the beginning word of a clause or sentence at the end. The beginning and end are two positions of strongest emphasis in a sentence, so by having the same word in both places, you can call special attention to it. ex. Water alone dug this giant canyon; yes, just plain water.

Hypophoria – consists of raising one or more questions, then proceeding to answer them, usually at some length. ex. What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?… What does scripture say? “Abrham believed in God.”

Apophasis – Asserts or emphasizes something by pointedly seeming to pass over it, ignore it, or deny it. Has both legitimate and illegitimate uses. Legitimate : I will not even mention Houdini’s many writings, both on magic and other subjects, nor the tricks he invented, nor his numerous impressive escapes, since I want to concentrate on ….. Illegitimate: I pass over the fact that Jenkins beats his wife, is an alcoholic, and sells dope to kids, because we will not allow personal matters to enter into politics.


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