Rhetorical Terms

gabymk27's version from 2016-03-14 08:29

Section 1

Question Answer
abstractrefers to language that describes concepts rather than concrete images
ad hominemIn an argument, this is an attack on the person rather than on the opponent’s ideas.
allegoryan extended narrative in prose or verse in which characters, events, and settings represent abstract qualities and in which the writer intends a second meaning to be read beneath the surface of the story
alliterationrepetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words that are close to one another
allusiona reference to a well-known person, place, or thing from literature, history
analogyComparison of two similar but different things, usually to clarify an action or a relationship
anaphoraRepetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row.
anecdotea short, simple narrative of an incident; often used for humorous effect or to make a point
annotationExplanatory notes added to a text to explain, cite sources, or give bibliographical data
antithesisthe presentation of two contrasting images. The ideas are balanced by word, phrase, clause, or paragraphs.
aphorismshort, often witty statement of a principle or a truth about life
apostropheusually in poetry but sometimes in prose; the device of calling out to an imaginary, dead, or absent person or to a place, thing, or personified abstraction
argumentation writing that attempts to prove the validity of a point of view or an idea by presenting reasoned arguments

Section 2

Question Answer
assonancerepetition of vowel sounds between different consonants, such as in neigh/fade
asyndetonCommas used (with no conjunction) to separate a series of words.
cacophonyharsh, awkward, or dissonant sounds used deliberately in poetry or prose; the opposite of euphony
caricaturedescriptive writing that greatly exaggerates a specific feature of a person’s appearance or a facet of personality.
colloquialisma word or phrase (including slang) used in everyday conversation and informal writing but that is often inappropriate in formal writing (y’all, ain’t)
coherence quality of a piece of writing in which all the parts contribute to the development of the central idea, theme, or organizing principle
concrete languagedescribes specific, observable things, people, or places, rather than ideas or qualities
connotationimplied or suggested meaning of a word because of its association in the reader’s mind
consonancerepetition of identical consonant sounds within two or more words in close proximity
conundruma riddle whose answer is or involves a pun; it may also be a paradox or difficult problem
deductionthe process of moving from a general rule to a specific example
denotationliteral meaning of a word as defined
descriptionthe picturing in words of something or someone through detailed observation of color, motion, sound, taste, smell, and touch; one of the four modes of discourse
dictionword choice, an element of style; it creates tone, attitude, and style, as well as meaning.
didacticwriting whose purpose is to instruct or to teach. The work is usually formal and focuses on moral or ethical concerns.
discoursespoken or written language, including literary works; the four traditionally classified modes of ____________ are description, exposition, narration, and persuasion.

Section 3

Question Answer
dissonanceharsh or grating sounds that do not go together
dramatic irony When the reader is aware of an inconsistency between a character’s perception of a situation and the truth
dynamic characterA character who changes significantly during the course of a story.
emotional appealWhen a writer appeals to readers’ emotions (often through pathos) to excite and involve them in the argument
epigraphthe use of a quotation at the beginning of a work that hints at its theme.
ethical appealWhen a writer tries to persuade the audience to respect and believe him or her based on a presentation of image of self through the text.
euphemisma more acceptable and usually more pleasant way of saying something that might be inappropriate or uncomfortable.
euphonya succession of harmonious sounds used in poetry or prose; the opposite of cacophony
exampleAn individual instance taken to be representative of a general pattern. Arguing through this process is considered reliable if _______________ are demonstrable true or factual as well as relevant.
explicationThe art of interpreting or discovering the meaning of a text. It usually involves close reading and special attention to figurative language.
expositionimmediate revelation to the audience of the setting and other background information necessary for understanding the plot; one of the four modes of discourse.
extended metaphora sustained comparison, often referred to as a conceit
false analogyWhen two cases are not sufficiently parallel to lead readers to accept a claim of connection between them.
figurative languagelanguage that contains figures of speech, such as similes and metaphors, in order to create associations that are imaginative rather than literal.
figures of speechexpressions, such as similes, metaphors, and personification, that make imaginative, rather than literal associations.
foil A character who by contrast, points out qualities or characteristics of another character.

Section 4

Question Answer
foreshadowingthe use of a hint or clue to suggest a larger event that occurs late in the work
freight trainSentence consisting of three or more very short independent clauses joined by conjunctions.
generalizationWhen a writer bases a claim upon an isolated example or asserts that a claim is certain rather than probable.
genrea type of literary work, such as a novel or poem
hubristhe excessive pride of ambition that leads a tragic hero to disregard warnings of impending doom, eventually causing his or her downfall
humoranything that causes laughter or amusement
hyperboledeliberate exaggeration in order to create humor or emphasis
imageA word or words, either figurative or literal, used to describe a sensory experience or an object perceived by the sense.
imagerywords or phrases that use a collection of images to appeal to one or more of the five senses in order to create a mental picture
inductionthe process that moves from a given series of specifics to a generalization
inferencea conclusion one can draw from the presented details
interior monologue writing that records the conversation that occurs inside a character’s head
invectivea verbally abusive attack
inversionreversing the customary (subject first, then verb, then complement) order of elements in a sentence or phrase
irony a situation or statement in which the actual outcome or meaning is opposite to what was expected
jargonThe special language of a profession or group.
logicThe process of reasoning

Section 5

Question Answer
logical fallacya mistake in reasoning
lyricalSonglike; characterized by emotions, subjectivity, and imagination
metaphora figure of speech in which one thing is referred to as another
metonymya figure of speech that uses the name of an object, person, or idea to represent something with which it is associated
moodsimilar to tone, it is the primary emotional attitude of a work
morallesson drawn from a fictional or nonfictional story. It can alsomean a heavily didactic story.
motifmain theme or subject of a work that is elaborated on in the development of the piece; a repeated pattern or idea
narrationthe telling of a story in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or drama; one of the four modes of discourse
negative-positiveSentence that begins by stating what is NOT true, then ending by stating what is true.
Non-sequiturLatin for “it does not follow.” When one statement isn’t logically connected to another
objectivityan impersonal presentation of events and characters. It is a writer’s attempt to remove himself or herself from any subjective, personal involvement in a story.
onomatopoeiathe use of words that sound like what they mean, such as “hiss,” “buzz,” “slam,” and “boom”
oversimplificationWhen a writer obscures or denies the complexity of the issues in an argument
oxymorona figure of speech composed of contradictory words or phrases, such as “wise fool,”
pacingthe movement of a literary piece from one point or one section to another
parablea short tale that teaches a moral; similar to but shorter than an allegory
paradoxa statement that seems to contradict itself but that turns out to have a rational meaning
parallelism the technique of arranging words, phrases, clauses, or larger structures by placing them side by side and making them similar in form.

Section 6

Question Answer
parodya work that ridicules the style of another work by imitating and exaggerating its elements. . It can be utterly mocking or gently humorous. It depends on allusion and exaggerates and distorts the original style and content.
pathosan element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion
pedanticterm used to describe writing that borders on lecturing. It is scholarly and academic and often overly difficult and distant
personificationthe attribution of human qualities to a nonhuman or an inanimate object
persuasiona form of argumentation, one of the four modes of discourse; language intended to convince through appeals to reason or emotion
point of viewthe perspective from which a story is presented
polysyndetonSentence which uses and or another conjunction (with no commas) to separate the items in a series.
protagonistthe main character of a literary work
red herringWhen a writer raises an irrelevant issue to draw attention away from the real issue
Reductio ad Absurdum the Latin for “to reduce to the absurd.” This is a technique useful in creating a comic effect and is also an argumentative technique. It is considered a rhetorical fallacy because it reduces an argument to an either/or choice
regionalisman element in literature that conveys a realistic portrayal of a specific geographical locale, using the locale and its influences as a major part of the plot
repetitionWord or phrase used two or more times in close proximity
rhetoricthe art of effective communication, especially persuasive discourse
rhetorical modesexposition, description, narration, argumentation
rhetorical questionone that does not expect an explicit answer. It is used to pose an idea to be considered by the speaker or audience.
sarcasmharsh, caustic personal remarks to or about someone; less subtle than irony
satireA work that reveals a critical attitude toward some element of human behavior by portraying it in an extreme way. It doesn’t simply abuse (as in invective) or get personal (as in sarcasm). It targets groups or large concepts not individuals.

Section 7

Question Answer
settingTime and place of a literary work
similea figure of speech that uses like, as, or as if to make a direct comparison between two essentially different objects, actions, or qualities
speakerthe voice of a work; an author may speak as himself or herself or as a fictitious persona
stanzaA section or division of lines in a poem
static characterA character who does not change significantly throughout the course of a story.
stereotypea character who represents a trait that is usually attributed to a particular social or racial group and who lacks individuality; a conventional pattern, expression or idea.
straw mana writer argues against a claim that nobody actually holds or is universally considered weak
stylean author’s characteristic manner of expression – his or her diction, syntax, imagery, structure, and content all contribute
subjectivitya personal presentation of events and characters, influenced by the author’s feelings and opinions
syllogismform of reasoning in which two statements are made and a conclusion is drawn from them
symbolismuse of symbols or anything that is meant to be taken both literally and as representative of a higher and more complex significance
Synecdochea figure of speech in which a part of something is used to represent a whole, such as using “boards” to mean a stage or “wheels” to mean a car – or “All hands on deck.”
Syntactic FluencyAbility to create a variety of sentence structures, appropriately complex and/or simple and varied in length.
syntactic permutationSentence structures that are extraordinarily complex and involved. They are often difficult for a reader to follow.
syntaxthe grammatical structure of a sentence; the arrangement of words in a sentence. It includes length of sentence, kinds of sentences (questions, exclamations, declarative sentences, rhetorical questions, simple, complex, or compound).
themetheme the central idea or “message” or a literary work
thesisthe main idea of a piece of writing. It presents the author’s assertion or claim.

Section 8

Question Answer
tonetone the characteristic emotion or attitude of an author toward the characters, subject, and audience
transitiona word or phrase that links one idea to the next and carries the reader from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph
tricolonSentence consisting of three parts of equal importance and length, usually three independent clauses.
understatementthe opposite of exaggeration. It is a technique for developing irony and/or humor where one writes or says less than intended.
unityunity quality of a piece of writing (also see coherence)
voicerefers to two different areas of writing. One refers to the relationship between a sentence’s subject and verb (active and passive voice)