Rhetorical Terms
Group 3

1.     Diction-  style of speaking or writing determined by
the choice of words by a speaker or a writer. (“Diction – Examples and
Definition of Diction.” Literary Devices, 11 Mar. 2015,

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Example- “You just hold your
head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t
you let ’em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change.” (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)

Function –Here, Atticus is
speaking to Scout. In this choice of wording, it shows the close relationship
Atticus has with Scout. He uses phrases such as “don’t let ’em get your goat”
casually in order to let Scout know that she shouldn’t let others bother her. She
needs to think before she plays out her actions.


2.     Epistrophe-  a figure of speech
that involves the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of
successive clauses or sentences. Epistrophe is also known as epiphora or antistrophe. The word epistrophe comes from the
Greek for “return.”  (Epistrophe Examples
and Definition.” Literary Devices, 30 Oct. 2015, www.literarydevices.com/epistrophe/.)

Example- “Ah, distinctly I
remember it was in the bleak December;

And each separate
dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the
morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow

From my books
surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—

For the rare and
radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—

Nameless here for
evermore.” (“The Raven” Edgar Allen Poe)

Function- Here, Poe uses
Epistrophe in order to stick to his specific rhyme scheme. He repeats “Lenore”
twice within two stanzas to show that he cannot move on past his beloved
Lenore. He repeats her name throughout the entire poem as well as rhyming with
other words. He then puts the quote “Nameless here for evermore” which totally
defeats his purpose of naming his wife Lenore throughout the poem.

Ethos- represents
credibility, or an ethical appeal, which involves persuasion by the character
involved. (“Ethos – Examples and Definition of Ethos.” Literary Devices, 16
Dec. 2017, literarydevices.net/ethos/.)

Example- “My old studies in
alchemy,” observed he, “and my sojourn, for above a year past, among a people
well versed in the kindly properties of simples, have made a better physician
of me than many that claim the medical degree. Here, woman! The child is
yours—she is none of mine—neither will she recognize my voice or aspect as a
father’s. Administer this draught, therefore, with thine own hand.” (The
Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne)

Function- Here, the stranger
is trying to get Hester Prynne to trust him with her case. He is stating that
because of his studies in alchemy, he is better than most physicians that claim
a medical degree and everyone else. He establishes credibility here in order
get Hester Prynne to trust him on her case. He uses credibility to establish
how good he is.

4.     Euphemism- a polite or mild word
or expression used to refer to something embarrassing, taboo, or unpleasant.
Euphemisms are especially common in reference to bodily functions and illegal
behavior, and to substitute for curse words. (“Euphemism Examples and
Definition.” Literary Devices, 30 Oct. 2015, www.literarydevices.com/euphemism/.)

Example- “You know the truth,
and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro
men are not to be trusted around women—black or white. But this is a truth that
applies to the human race and to no particular race of men. There is not a
person in this courtroom who has never told a lie, who has never done an
immoral thing, and there is no man living who has never looked upon a woman
without desire.” (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)

Function- Here, Lee uses the
euphemism of “negroe’. This is a euphemism that was used to describe the race
of African Americans. During this time period this is the word that was
commonly used. Lee uses this euphemism quite a few times throughout the novel
in order to use words that associate and are appropriate to the time period
they are used in.


5.     Euphony- refers to the quality
of being pleasant to listen to. Euphony generally comes about through a
harmonious combination of sounds and words. An author can create euphony in
many different ways, such as using pleasant vowel and consonants, or by
employing other literary devices, such as rhythm, rhyme, consonance, and
assonance to create an overall harmonious sound to a work of literature. (“Euphony
Examples and Definition.” Literary Devices, 30 Oct. 2015, www.literarydevices.com/euphony/.)

Example- “Then, methought,
the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer

Swung by Seraphim
whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.

“Wretch,” I cried,
“thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee

Respite—respite and
nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;

Quaff, oh quaff this
kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”

Quoth the Raven
“Nevermore.” (“The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe)

Function- The tone of Poe’s
poem “The Raven” is depressing and dark. Yet, he writes and chooses his use of
words intelligently. Instead of the poem seeming dark the whole time while the
reader reads the poem, Poe’s word choice makes the poem pleasant and
interesting. Instead of readers getting bored by depressing thoughts, readers
are intrigued to continue reading because of how Poe words his sentences.


6.     Fallacy- a display of faulty
reasoning that makes an argument invalid, or a faulty belief based on an
unsound argument. Many fallacies are deceptive in that they may appear to be
based on sound reasoning and seem to follow good logic. (“Fallacy Examples and
Definition.” Literary Devices, 30 Oct. 2015, www.literarydevices.com/fallacy/.)

Example- “The state has not
produced one iota of medical evidence to the effect that the crime Tom Robinson
is charged with ever took place. It has relied instead upon the testimony of
two witnesses whose evidence has not only been called into serious question on
cross-examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. The
defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is.” (To Kill a
Mockingbird by Harper Lee)

Function- The fallacy here is
saying that Tom Robinson is definitely a criminal just because he is black. He
is saying that Tom Robison needs to be treated fairly and not unfairly just
because of his race.

7.     Foreshadowing- a literary device
in which a writer gives an advance hint of what is to come later in the story.
Foreshadowing often appears at the beginning of a story, or a chapter, and
helps the reader develop expectations about the coming events in a story. (“Foreshadowing – Examples and Definition of Foreshadowing.” Literary
Devices, 14 Aug. 2017, literarydevices.net/foreshadowing/.)

Example- “Life were better ended by their
hate, Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love” (“Romeo and Juliet” by William

Function-  Here, this is a foreshadow of how Romeo
will end up killing himself in the end to be with his one true love. He is
saying that he would rather die than live his life without his true love.
Everyone knows that in the end, the star-crossed lovers kill themselves in the
end in order to spend eternity together.

Hyperbole- a figure of speech that
involves an exaggeration
of ideas for the sake of emphasis. (“Hyperbole – Examples and
Definition of Hyperbole.” Literary Devices, 15 Aug. 2017,

Example-  “Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my
hand? No. This my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making
the green one red.” (Macbeth By
William Shakespeare)

Macbeth feels regret after killing the king, so he is saying that not even the
greatest ocean could wash the sin off of is hands. One really can’t wash sin
away. He is stuck with the sin of killing the king until he dies. Since he cant
wash his sin away he feels sincere regret and even begins to wonder why he even
killed the king.


to use figurative language
to represent objects, actions, and ideas in such a way that it appeals to our
physical senses. (“Imagery – Examples and Definition of Imagery.” Literary
Devices, 15 Aug. 2017, literarydevices.net/imagery/.)

Example-  “O, she doth teach the torches to burn

seems she hangs upon the cheek of night

Like a
rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear …” (Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare)

Function- Here,
Romeo is describing Juliet as the most beautiful creature he has ever seen. He
uses imagery to describe her beauty to the audience. He also is describing how
she shines bright, even in the darkest of nights.


Irony- a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their
intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. (“Irony –
Examples and Definition of Irony.” Literary Devices, 15 Aug. 2017,

Example- “Go ask
his name: if he be married.

grave is like to be my wedding bed.” (Romeo
and Juliet by William Shakespeare)

Function- Here, Juliet is using an
example of verbal irony by stating that if Romeo is married than she would
rather die than marry someone else. This is irony because everyone knows that
she kills herself in the end in order to be able to be with her one true love.