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AP Language and Composition

Rhetorical Devices
* = important terms to memorize. All others = terms for reference
Schemes of Construction
Schemes of Balance
*Parallelism: similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases, or clauses This basic principle of grammar and rhetoric demands that equivalent things be set
forth in coordinate grammatical structures: nouns with nouns infinitives with infinitives and adverb clauses with adverb clauses.
a. !"for the support of this declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of #ivine $rovidence we mutuall% pledge to each other our &ives our 'ortunes and our
sacred (onor)*The #eclaration of +ndependence
b. !"the love of libert% ,ur% trial the writ of habeas corpus and all the blessings of free government".)*-ohn .andolph of .oano/e !Speech on the 0ree/ 1ause.)
c. !So -ane% waited a bloom time and a green time and an orange time.)*2ora 3eale (urston Their Eyes Were Watching God
d. !+t will be long before our larger life interprets itself in such imagination as (awthorne4s such wisdom as 5merson4s such poetr% as &ongfellow4s such prophec% as
6hittier4s such grace as (olmes4s such humor and humanit% as &owell4s.)*6illiam #ean (owells
!socolon is a scheme of parallel structure which occurs when the parallel elements are similar not onl% in grammatical structure but also in length 7number of words or even number of
s%llables8. This is ver% effective but a little goes a long wa%.
a. !(is purpose was to impress the ignorant to perple9 the dubious and to confound the scrupulous.)
b. !An envious heart ma/es a treacherous ear.)*2ora 3eale (urston Their Eyes Were Watching God
*Antithesis " the #u$taposition of contrasting ideas, often in parallel structure The contrast ma% be in words or in ideas or both. 6hen used well antithesis can be ver% effective
even witt%.
a. !6hat if + am rich and another is poor*strong and he is wea/*intelligent and he is benighted*elevated and he is depraved: (ave we not one 'ather: (ath not one 0od
created us:)*6illiam &lo%d 0arrison !3o 1ompromise with Slaver%)
b. !;our forefathers crossed the great water and landed on this island. Their numbers were small. The% found friends and not enemies. The% told us the% had fled from their
own countr% for fear of wic/ed men and had come here to en,o% their religion. The% as/ed for a small seat. 6e too/ pit% on them granted their request< and the% sat down
amongst us. 6e gave them corn and meat< the% gave us poison in return.)*.ed -ac/et =>?@
Schemes of unusual or inverted wor/ order
*Anastrophe " inversion of the natural or usual word order This deviation can emphasize a point of it can ,ust sound aw/ward. +t is most effective if the author rarel% writes
aw/wardl% because when set among wellAstructured sentences it emphasizes the inverted phrase.
a. !As the saint of old sweetl% sang B+ was glad when the% said unto me let us go into the house of the lord<4 so ought we to be glad when an% opportunit% of doing good is
presented to us.)*1otton Cather !The .eward of 6ellA#oing)
b. !As/ not what %our countr% can do for %ou as/ what %ou can do for %our countr%.)*-ohn '. Denned% +naugural speech.
*Parenthesis " insertion of some ver%al unit in a position that interrupts the normal syntactical flow of the sentence Ene obvious wa% to use parenthesis is to use the
punctuation mar/ 7parenthesis8. (owever there are other wa%s to insert a comment into a sentence. Ene might use commas or dashes for e9ample. The parenthetical remar/
however is off on a tangent cut off from the thrust of the sentence and grammaticall% unrelated to the sentence.
a. !Those two spots are among the dar/est of our whole civilization*pardon me our whole culture 7an important distinction +4ve heard8 which might sound li/e a hoa9 or a
contradiction but that 7b% contradiction + mean8 is how the world moves: not li/e an arrow but a boomerang.)*.alph 5llison Invisible Man
b. !And the% went further and further from her being attached to her b% a thin thread 7since the% had lunched with her8 which would stretch and stretch get thinner and thinner
as the% wal/ed across &ondon< as if one4s friends were attached to one4s bod% after lunching with them b% a thin thread which 7as she dozed there8 became haz% with the
sound of bells stri/ing the hour or ringing to service as a single spider4s thread is blotted with rainAdrops and burdened sags down. So she slept.)*Firginia 6oolf Mrs.
Apposition " placing side %y side two coordinate elements, the second of which serves as an e$planation or modification of the first !n grammar, this is the appositive or
ver%al cluster
a. !The mountain was the earth her home.)AA.udolfo Ana%a Albuquerque
b. !(ere was the source of the mista/en strateg%*the reason wh% activists could also easil% ignore class and could consider race alone a sufficient measure of social
oppression.)*.ichard .odriguez The Hunger o Me!ory
Schemes of Emission
*&llipsis " deli%erate omission of a word or of words which are readily implied %y the conte$t 6hile this can ma/e clear economical sentences< if the understood words are
grammaticall% incompatible the resulting sentence ma% be aw/ward.
a. !So singularl% clear was the water that when it was onl% twent% or thirt% feet deep the bottom seemed floating on the airG ;es where it was even eighty feet deep. 5ver% little
pebble was distinct ever% spec/led trout ever% hand4s breadth of sand.)*Car/ Twain "oughing It
b. !And he to 5ngland shall along with %ou.)*Sha/espeare Ha!let +++ iii
Asyndeton " deli%erate omission of con#unctions %etween a series of related clauses The effect of this device is to produce a hurried rh%thm in the sentence.
a. !+ came + saw + conquered.)*-ulius 1aesar
b. !The% ma% have it in well doing the% have it in learning the% ma% have it even in criticism.)*Catthew Arnold
Polysyndeton " deli%erate use of many con#unctions The effect of pol%s%ndeton is to slow down the rh%thm of the sentence.
a. !+ said !6ho /illed him:) and he said !+ don4t /now who /illed him but he4s dead all right) and it was dar/ and there was water standing in the street and no lights and
windows bro/e and boats all up in the town and trees blown down and ever%thing all blown and + got a s/iff and went out and found m% boat where + had her inside Cango
De% and she was all right onl% she was full of water.)*5rnest (emingwa% !After the Storm)
b. !En and on she went across $iccadill% and up .egent Street ahead of him her cloa/ her gloves her shoulders combining with the fringes and the laces and the feather
boas in the windows to ma/e the spirit of finer% and whims% which dwindled out of the shops on to the pavement as the light of a lamp goes wavering at night over hedges in
the dar/ness.)*Firginia 6oolf Mrs. Dalloway
Schemes of .epetition
*Alliteration "repetition of initial or medial consonants in two or more ad#acent words Hsed sparingl% alliteration provides emphasis. Everused it sounds sill%.
a. !Alread% American vessels has been searched seized and san/.)*-ohn '. Denned% #roiles in $ourage
b. +t was the meanest moment of eternit%.)*2ora 3eale (urston Their Eyes Were Watching God
c. !(er !3o #eals for #rug #ealers) campaign helped rall% the different constituencies around her.)*.udolfo Ana%a Alburquerque
*Assonance " the repetition of similar vowel sounds, preceded and followed %y different consonants, in the stressed sylla%les of ad#acent words
a. !6hales in the wa/e li/e capes and AlpsIJua/ed the sic/ sea and snouted deep.)*#%lan Thomas !Ballad of the &ong &egged Bait)
b. !.efresh %our zest for living.)*advertisement for 'rench &ine Ships
*Anaphora " repetition of the same word or groups of words at the %eginnings of successive clauses This device produces a strong emotional effect especiall% in speech. +t
also establishes a mar/ed change in rh%thm.
a. !6e shall fight on the beaches we shall fight on the landing grounds we shall fight in the fields and in the streets we shall fight in the hills.)*6inston 1hurchill speech in
the (ouse of 1ommons -une =KL?
b. !6h% should white people be running al the stores in our communit%: 6h% should white people be running the ban/s of our communit%: 6h% should the econom% of our
communit% be in the hands of the white man: 6h%:)*Calcolm M.
&pistrophe " repetition of the same word or group of words at the ends of successive clauses &i/e anaphora epistrophe produces a strong rh%thm and emphasis.
a. !But to all of those who would be tempted b% wea/ness let us leave no doubt that we will be as strong as we need to be for as long as we need to be.)
b. !6hen we first came we were ver% man% and %ou were ver% few.) .ed 1loud
&panalepsis " repetition at the end of a clause of the word that occurred at the %eginning of the clause &i/e other schemes of repetition epanalepsis often produces or
e9presses strong emotion.
a. Blood hath bought blood and blows have answer4d blows:I Strength match4d with strength and power confronted power.*6illiam Sha/espeare %ing &ohn
Anadiplosis " repetition of the last word of one clause at the %eginning of the following clause
a. !The crime was common common be the pain.)*Ale9ander $ope !5loise to Abelard)
b. !Aboard m% ship e9cellent performance is standard. Standard performance is subAstandard. SubAstandard performance is not permitted to e9ist.)*1aptain Jueeg (erman
6ou/4s The $aine Mutiny
c. !Trees and building rose and fell against a paleAblue clouded s/% beech changed to elm and elm to fir and fir to stone< a world li/e lead upon a hot fire bubbled into var%ing
shapes now li/e a flame now li/e a leaf of clover.)*0raham 0reene 'rient E(press
*Clima$ " arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of increasing importance
a. !Core than that we re,oice in our sufferings /nowing that suffering produces endurance endurance produces character and character produces hope and hope does not
disappoint us because 0od4s love has been poured into our hearts through the (ol% Spirit which has been given to use.)*St. $aul .omans
Antimeta%ole " repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order
a. !Ene should eat to live not live to eat.)*Coliere )*Avar
b. !As/ not what %our countr% can do for %ou< as/ what %ou can do for %our countr%.)*-ohn '. Denned% +naugural Address
c. !The 3egro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the 3egro to free him from his guilt.)*Cartin &uther Ding -r. from a speech delivered in
d. !The truth is the light and light is the truth.)*.alph 5llison Invisible Man
*Chiasmus 7the !crissAcross)8 " reversal of grammatical structures in successive phrases or clauses 1hiasmus is similar to antimetabole in that it too involves a reversal of
grammatical structures in successive phrases of clauses but it is unli/e antimetabole in that it does not involve a repetition of words. Both chiasmus and antimetabole can be used to
reinforce antithesis.
a. 59alts his enemies his friends destro%s.*-ohn #r%den !Absalom and Achitophel)
Polyptoton " repetition of words derived from the same root
a. !But in this desert countr% the% ma% see the land being rendered useless b% overuse.)*-oseph 6ood Drutch The Foice of the #esert
b. !6e would li/e to contain the uncontainable future in a glass.)*&oren 5isele% from an article in Harper*s Carch =KNL
*(etaphor " implied comparison %etween two things of unli)e nature
a. !The s%mbol of all our aspirations one of the student leaders called her: the fruit of our struggle.)*-ohn Simpson !Tianamen Square)
b. !A breeze blew through the room blue curtains in at one end and out the other"twisting them up toward the frosted weddingAca/e a ceiling and the rippled over the wineA
colored rug ma/ing a show on it"A'. Scott 'itzgerald The Great Gatsby
*Simile " e$plicit comparison %etween two things of unli)e nature
a. !The night is bleeding li/e a cut.)*Bono
b. !4Ah m%G4 said 5ustacia with a laugh which unclosed her lips so that the sun shone into her mouth as into a tulip and lent it a similar scarlet fire.)*Thomas (ard% The "eturn
o the +ative
*Synecdoche " figure of speech in which a part stands for the whole
a. The British crown has been plagued b% scandal.
b. There is no word from the $entagon on the new rumors from Afghanistan.
(etonymy " su%stitution of some attri%utive or suggestive word for what is actually meant
a. !+ have nothing to offer but blood toil tears and sweat.)*6inston 1hurchill =KL?
b. !+n 5urope we have the cold shoulder to #e 0aulle and now he gives the warm hand to Cao TseAtung.)*.ichard 3i9on =KN?
Antanaclasis " repetition of a word in two different senses
a. !;our argument is sound nothing but sound.)*Ben,amin 'ran/lin
b. !+f we don4t hang together we4ll hang separatel%.)*Ben,amin 'ran/lin
Paronomasia " use of words ali)e in sound %ut different in meaning
a. !As/ for me tomorrow and %ou will find me a grave man.)*6illiam Sha/espeare "o!eo and &uliet
b. !The Bustle: A #eceitful Seatful.)AAAFladimir 3abo/ov )olita
Syllepsis " use of a word understand differently in relation to two or more other words, which it modifies or governs
a. !There is a certain t%pe of woman who4d rather press grapes than clothes.)*Advertisement for $ec/ P $ec/
b. !The in/ li/e our pig /eeps running out of the pen.)*Student paper
Anthimeria " su%stitution of one part of speech for another
a. !+4ll unhair th% head.)*6illiam Sha/espeare Antony and $leopatra
b. !Ce dictionar%ing heavil% B6here was the one the% were watching:4)*5arnest (emingwa%, The 0reen (ills of Africa
Periphrasis *autonomasia+ " su%stitution of a descriptive word of phrase for a proper name or of a proper name for a ,uality associated with the name
a. !The% do not escape -im 1row< the% merel% encounter another not less deadl% variet%.)*-ames Baldwin 3obod% Dnows C% 3ame
b. !+n his later %ears he became in fact the most scarif%ing of his own creatures: a Jui9ote of the 1otswolds") Ti!e referring to 5vel%n 6augh
*Personification *prosopesis+ " investing a%stractions or inanimate o%#ects with human ,ualities
a. !The night comes crawling in on all fours.)*#avid &ower%
b. !And indeed there will be timeI'or the %ellow smo/e that slides along the streetI.ubbing its bac/ upon the window panes.)*T.S. 5liot !The &ove Song of -. Alfred $rufroc/)
*-yper%ole " the use of e$aggerated terms for the purpose of emphasis or heightened effect
a. !+t rained for four %ears eleven months and two da%s.)*0abriel 0arcia Carquez 'ne Hundred -ears o .olitude
b. !6e wal/ed along a road in 1umberland and stooped because the s/% hung so low.)*Thomas 6olfe )oo/ Ho!eward, Angel
*Litotes. deli%erate use of understatement
a. !&ast wee/ + saw a woman fla%ed and %ou will hardl% believe how much it altered her appearance for the worse.)*-onathan Swift A Tale o a Tub
*Rhetorical ,uestion " as)ing a ,uestion, not for the purpose of eliciting an answer %ut for the purpose of asserting or denying something o%li,uely
a. !+sn4t it interesting that this person to whom %ou set on %our /nees in %our most private sessions at night and %ou pra% doesn4t even loo/ li/e %ou:)*Calcolm M
b. !6asn4t the cult of -ames a revealing s%mbol and s%mbol of an age and societ% which wanted to swell li/e him in some false world or false art and falso culture:)*Ca9well
0eismar Henry &a!es and His $ult
c. !;ou sa% there is but one wa% to worship and serve the 0reat Spirit. +' there is but one religion wh% do %ou white people differ so much about it:)*.ed -ac/et =>?@ speech
*!rony " use of a word in such a way as to convey a meaning opposite to the literal meaning of the word
a. !This plan means that one generation pa%s for another. 3ow that4s ,ust dand%.)*(ue% $. &ong
b. !B% Spring if 0od was good all the proud privileges of trench lice mustard gas spattered brains punctured lungs ripped guts asph%9iation mud and gangrene might be
his.)*Thomas 6olfe )oo/ Ho!eward Angel
*/nomatapoeia " use of words whose sound echoes the sense
a. !Snap crac/le popG)*1ommercial
b. !"'rom the clamor and the clangor of the bellsG)*5dgar Allan $oe !The Bells)
*/$ymoron " the yo)ing of two terms which are ordinarily contradictory
a. !The unheard sounds come through each melodic line e9isted of itself stood out clearl% from all rest and its piece and waiting patientl% for the other voices to spea/.)*
.alph 5llison Invisible Man
b. !Still wa/ing sleep that is not what it isGIThis love + feel that feel no love is this.)*6illiam Sha/espeare "o!eo and &uliet
*Parado$ " an apparently contradictory statement that nevertheless contains a measure of truth
a. !And %et it was a strangel% satisf%ing e9perience for an invisible man to hear the silence of sound.)*.alph 5llison Invisible Man
b. !Art is a form of l%ing in order to tell the truth.)*$ablo $icasso
6ebsites to stud% e9amples and gain slightl% different definitions which might help:
=. http:IIwww.virtualsalt.comIrhetoric.htm
O. http:IIwww.u/%.eduIASI1lassicsIrhetoric.html
Q. http:IIfacstaff.bloomu.eduI,tomlinsIrhetoricalRdevices.htm
L. http:IIwww.nt.armstrong.eduIterms.htm
Adapted and e9cerpted from 5dward $.-. 1orbett and .obert -. 1onnors4 $lassical "hetoric or the Modern .tudent. E9ford Hniversit% $ress. +SB3: ?=K@==@LOO