Antithesis rhetorical figure

While style is probably best learned through wide reading, comprehensive analysis and thorough practice, much can be discovered about effective writing through the study of some of the common and traditional devices of style and arrangement. By learning, practicing, altering, and perfecting them, and by testing their effects and nuances for yourself, these devices will help you to express yourself better and also teach you to see the interrelatedness of form and meaning, and the psychology of syntax, metaphor, and diction both in your own writing and in the works of others.

The rhetorical devices presented here generally fall into three categories: those involving emphasis, association, clarification, and focus; those involving physical organization, transition, and disposition or arrangement; and those involving decoration and variety. Sometimes a given device or trope will fall mainly into a single category, as for example an expletive is used mostly for emphasis; but more often the effects of a particular device are multiple, and a single one may operate in all three categories.


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Parallelism, for instance, helps to order, clarify, emphasize, and beautify a thought. Occasionally a device has certain effects not readily identifiable or explainable, so I have not always been able to say why or when certain ones are good or should be used. My recommendation is to practice them all and develop that sense in yourself which will tell you when and how to use them.

Lots of practice and experimentation are necessary before you will feel really comfortable with these devices, but too much practice in a single paper will most assuredly be disastrous. A journal or notebook is the best place to experiment; when a device becomes second nature to you, and when it no longer appears false or affected--when indeed it becomes genuinely built in to your writing rather than added on--then it may make its formal appearance in a paper.

Remember that rhetorical devices are aids to writing and not ends of writing; you have no obligation to toss one into every paragraph. Further, if used carelessly or excessively or too frequently, almost any one of these devices will probably seem affected, dull, awkward, or mechanical. But with a little care and skill, developed by practice, anyone can master them, and their use will add not just beauty and emphasis and effectiveness to your writing, but a kind of freedom of thought and expression you never imagined possible.

Antithesis - Definition and Examples | LitCharts

Practice these; try them out. Do not worry if they sometimes ring false at first. Play with them--learn to manipulate and control your words and ideas--and eventually you will master the art of aggressive instruction: keeping the reader focused with anaphora, emphasizing a point with an expletive, explaining to him with a metaphor or simile, organizing your work in his mind with metabasis, answering his queries with hypophora or procatalepsis, balancing possibilities with antithesis.

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You will also have gone a long way toward fulfilling the four requirements mentioned at the beginning: the devices of decoration and variety will help make your reader pay attention, the devices of organization and clarification will help him understand your points, the devices of association and some like procatalepsis will help him believe you, and the devices of emphasis, association, beauty, and organization will help him remember.

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Antithesis Examples

Asyndeton consists of omitting conjunctions between words, phrases, or clauses. In a list of items, asyndeton gives the effect of unpremeditated multiplicity, of an extemporaneous rather than a labored account:. Generally, asyndeton offers the feeling of speed and concision to lists and phrases and clauses, but occasionally the effect cannot be so easily categorized. Consider the "flavor" of these examples:. Gettysburg Address , world-famous speech delivered by U.

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Abraham Lincoln at the dedication November 19, of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of one of the decisive battles of the American Civil War July 1—3, Figure of speech, any intentional deviation from literal statement or common usage that emphasizes, clarifies, or embellishes both written and spoken language. Forming an integral part of language, figures of speech are found in primitive oral literatures, as well as in polished poetry and prose….

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Antithesis (Grammar and Rhetoric)

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