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RHETORIC

WHAT IS IT?
• Public speakers use rhetorical devices to
sound more convincing, they want to move
their audience and appeal to them to gain
their support.
• Rhetorical devices are the pillars of
persuasive language and can be found in
many texts although they are mostly
associated with political speeches.
APPEAL
All speeches contain 3 essential ingredients:

1. ETHOS: refers to the trustworthiness of
the speaker. What gives me the right to
stand before you? The speaker must
establish credit with the audience and
feel confident of their right to deliver that
speech to that audience.
1. APPEAL
2. PATHOS: this is the part of speech that
appeals to our emotions. Whenever
speakers make you feel patriotic, afraid,
joyful or guilty – they are appealing to
your sense of emotion.
3. LOGOS: appeals to our sense of logic. It
generally takes the form of an argument
with several premises and a conclusion.
It also needs to carry a degree of validity
and certainty.
1. APPEAL
PARALLELISM: useful for speeches and for
writing. They are writing structures that
are grammatically parallel. They allow
the reader and listener to understand
your points better because they flow
more smoothly.
e.g. “if there is anyone out there who still
doubts…who still wonders…who still
questions…”
2. HYPOPHORA
HYPOPHORA: A technique where the
speaker first asks a question and then
answers it. Questions can be embedded in
a sentence and need not be direct.
e.g. “If there is anyone out there who still
doubts that America is a place where all
things are possible, who still wonders if the
dream of our founders is alive…tonight is
your answer”
3. REPETITION
REPETITION: is generally very effective in
creating a sense of structure and power.
Repeating small phrases in speeches can
ingrain an idea in the minds of your
audience.
e.g. “…tonight is your answer.
It’s the answer told by…”
4. ANTITHESIS

ANTITHESIS: In oder to tell people what
you believe in, it is useful and effective
to tell them what you do NOT believe in.

e.g. “there are no red states or blue
states, there are only the United States
of America”.
5. FIGURATIVE SPEECH
FIGURATIVE SPEECH: People like to think
in metaphors. Figurative speech tends to
work best when set off by concrete
images.

e.g. “…to put their hands on the arc of
history and bend it once more toward the
hope of a better day.”
6. TRICOLON AND POLYSYNDETON
TRICOLON AND POLYSYNDETON: a
tricolon is a sort of list of three,
creating a cumulative sensation which
has a powerful effect.
e.g. “…the backyards…and the living
rooms…and the front porches…”
• The use of and between each and every
item listed stresses the importance of
every item.
7. JUXTAPOSITION
JUXTAPOSITION: is when two things of
opposite nature are mentioned together.

e.g. “the not-so-young people who braved
the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock
on doors of perfect strangers”

• This helps convince the audience of their
dedication.
8. ALLUSION
ALLUSION: is when your speech echoes
another speech or famous phrase. By
using allusion, you not only associate
yourself with the ideas of the original text
but also create a bond with the audience
by evoking shared knowledge.
e.g. “government of the people, by the
people, and for the people”.
• Lifted from Lincoln’s Gettysburg
Address in 1863.
9. SYNTAX
VARIED SENTENCE LENGTH: Varying the
length of your sentences is always a good
way to strengthen any writing style.

e.g. “It drew strength from the not-so-
young…has not perished from the Earth.
This is your victory.
PROJECT
• CHOOSE A PUBLIC SPEAKER AND AT
LEAST THREE OF THEIR SPEECHES.
• ANALYSE ALL THE SPEECHES AND
TRY AND ESTABLISH A PATTERN OF
TECHNIQUES USED.
• YOU WILL HAVE TWO FINAL TASKS:
– PRESENT THE SPEAKER AND THE
RESULT OF YOUR ANALYSIS
– CONSTRUCT A SPEECH IN THEIR STYLE
ABOUT A TOPIC OF YOUR CHOICE.