a choice of words
I recently read a good introduction to rhetoric, and decided to write a summary, so I won’t forget it straight away.
The author starts by pointing out how people tend to think of rhetoric only as how we say things, when it is really about both the form and content of what we say – it concerns both lexis (how) and logos (what).
To convince our audience, we have to appeal to something in them. That can be:
- logos reason
- pathos emotion
- ethos character/values
And then there is circumstance:
- kairos the occasion
- decorum appropriate wording
We are also told of five canons of rhetoric:
- memory how information is recalled
Now, the useful part. I didn’t read that text just for fun. I wanted tools for writing, and here they are. My goal is to go through this list often, and try out all the concepts in my texts.
|expletives||extra words, for emphasis|
|similies, analogies, metaphors, metonymy, personification
|litotes||understatement + denial of opposite|
|asyndetons and polysyndetons||creative use of and|
|parallelism and chiasmus||describe two things as equal, or different|
|apophasis||pretending to not talk about something|
|hyperbatons||creative word ordering|
So, whenever you want to sound convincing, just choose an item from this list, maybe find some examples in the original article, and put it into your own text.
Oh, and remember to let me know if it worked 😉
The article described: Paul Newall, 2005, Rhetoric, The Galilean (link)
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