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What is rhetoric and why is it used?

Eric Morgan

in Exams and Tests

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Kaitlin Dean on July 20, 2019

The art of persuasion , Rhetoric is the art of speaking or writing effectively . It can also mean skill in effective speaking or writing. According to Princeton's online dictionary: . using language effectively to please or persuade . grandiosity: high-flown style; excessive use of ornamentation verbal; "the grandiosity of his prose"; "an excessive ornateness of language" . palaver: loud and confused and empty talk; "mere rhetoric" . study of the technique and rules for using language effectively (especially in public speaking) . Knowing this, it should be obvious why an author or speaker would wish to use! To be able to speak or write effectively makes you a better writer or speaker. This is what the dictionary says: . The rhetoric is used in any piece of writing that you want to make it more effective. Rhetorical speech or writing is most effective in argumentative or persuasive pieces, because you can make a connection with the reader or listener and convince them of your opinion. . Here are some of the most common types of rhetorical writing - a complete list is linked below: . Alliteration - using the same sound to begin several words in sequence, such as "Vini, Vidi, Vici" or "Peter Piper Picked a peck of Pickled Peppers." . Anaphora - the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several successive clauses, sentences or lines. One of the best examples is Winston Churchill's famous speech: "we shall not flag or not. We will go until the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we 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. We shall never surrender." . Antithesis - contrasting opposite ideas or words in a balanced construction, such as Charles Dickens, with the famous quote from A Tale of Two Cities : "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way." . Assonance - the repetition of the same sounds in words close to each other, as in The Lord's Prayer : "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done." . Cacophony - a harsh union of sounds, such as "we want no parlay with you and your grisly gang who work your wicked will," from another of the speeches of Churchill. . Climax - the organization of the words or phrases in ascending order of energy, such as "To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield", from Ulysses of Tennyson . . Euphemism - the substitution of a more acceptable or less offensive phrase that can be unpleasant or embarrassing, such as "going to powder my nose" instead of "go to the bathroom", or "passed away" in place of "dead." . Hyperbole - exaggeration for effect or emphasis, such as "I could eat a horse", or "I'm going to die if you ever leave me." . Irony - saying one thing but meaning another; the expression of something contrary to the intended meaning. The example most frequently cited is the speech of Marc Anthony in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar : But Brutus says he was ambitious, and Brutus is an honorable man." Verbal irony can also depend on the tone of the voice, especially in sarcasm. . Litotes - understatement, such as "War is not healthy for children and other living beings." . Metaphor - implied comparison achieved through a figurative use of the word; it shows how two things are alike, such as Shakespeare, with the famous quote of Macbeth ," Life's but walking shadow; a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage." . Metonymy: substitution of one word for another meaning which it suggests, such as "The pen is mightier than the sword" ("pen" means writing and "sword for war"). . Onomatopoeia - write the sound you hear, such as "achoo," or "ahem." . Oxymoron - an apparent paradox achieved by the juxtaposition of two statements that seem to be opposites, such as Hamlet's "I must be cruel only to be kind," by Shakespeare. . Paradox - a statement that seems to be in contradiction with the common sense, but usually makes sense if you think about it, as George Bernard Shaw's phrase "What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young." . Personification - the attribution of human characteristics to inanimate objects or impersonal ideas, such as Lord Nelson's speech, "England expects every man to do his duty." . Simile - an explicit comparison between two things; that tend to use the words "like" or "as". Examples include "My love is like a red, red rose," and "as alike as two peas in a pod." . Tautology - the repetition of an idea in a word, a phrase, or a sentence, such as Abraham Lincoln, in the famous phrase, "With malice toward none, with charity toward all."


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