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April 30, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

The basics of rhetoric as covered in public speaking classes

1) Alliteration
2) Allusion
3) Analogy
4) Climate
5) Enthymeme (ok not actually taught in intro class)
6) Metaphor
7) Paradox
8) Parallelism (isocolon & tricolon)
9) Personification
10) Rhetorical Question
11) Testimony & types of testimony (authorities, witnesses, maxims or proverbs or aphorisms, oaths, documents, law)

Other forms of rhetoric:
1) silence
2) omission
3) changes in word order
4) storytelling-context & setting the stage (past fact, future fact)
5) storytelling-the future
6) contrast
7) kairos (timing)
7) amplification
8) style
9) division, arrangement, order
10) hyperbole
11) absurdity

Other forms of rhetoric:
1) dirimens copulatio. A figure by which one balances one statement with a contrary, qualifying statement (sometimes conveyed by “not only … but also” clauses).
2) commoratio. Dwelling on or returning to one’s strongest argument
3) expeditio After enumerating all possibilities by which something could have occurred, the speaker eliminates all but one
4) ratiocinatio Reasoning (typically with oneself) by asking questions.
5) anthypophora A figure of reasoning in which one asks and then immediately answers one’s own questions (or raises and then settles imaginary objections). Reasoning aloud.
6) anamnesis. Calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author from memory.
7) euche. A vow to keep a promise.
8] eustathia. Promising constancy in purpose and affection.
9) deesis. An adjuration or calling to witness; or, the vehement expression of desire put in terms of “for someone’s sake” or “for God’s sake.”

Still other forms of rhetoric:
Figures used to provoke emotional response (pathos)


A comandment, promise, or exhortation intended to move one’s consent or desires.

The expression of the inability of expression —almost always emotional in its nature.

An exclamation proceeding from deep indignation.

A statement designed to inhibit someone from doing something.

Breaking off suddenly in the middle of speaking, usually to portray being overcome with emotion.

Turning one’s speech from one audience to another, or addressing oneself to an abstraction or the absent—almost always as a way of increasing appeal through emotion.

Threatening/prophecying payback for ill doing.

The repetition of a word or words in adjacent phrases or clauses, either to amplify the thought or to express emotion.


The vehement expression of desire put in terms of “for someone’s sake” or “for God’s sake.”

Vivid description, especially of the consequences of an act, that stirs up its hearers. (See enargia, below)

Repetition of a word with one or more between, usually to express deep feeling.

An emotional exclamation.

Enargia, or vivid description, can be inherently moving, especially when depicting things graphic in nature.

Energia, the vigor with which one expresses oneself, can obviously be emotionally affecting.

Amending a first thought by altering it to make it stronger or more vehement.

Persistent repetition of the same plea in much the same words, a direct method for underscoring the pathetic appeal.

Asking questions in order to chide, to express grief, or to inveigh.

A figure in which one turns things over to one’s hearers (often pathetically).

To excite an audience, especially out of a stupor or boredom.

Stirring others by one’s own vehement feeling.

inter se pugnantia
Using direct address to reprove someone before an audience openly.

Expressing complaint and seeking help.

A prophecy of evil. As the term’s name connotes, this can be “ominous” in tone.

Expressing joy for blessings obtained or an evil avoided.

A speech or figure designed to arouse emotion.

A threat against someone, or something.

The use of several synonyms together to amplify or explain a given subject or term. A kind of repetition that adds force.


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