Useful rhetorical devices

The use of rhetoric in essays allows improving and crystallizing argument as well as making them more persuasive. The first rhetorical technique to learn is litotes, a form of understatement which denies the opposite statement. For instance, saying that "Daily exercises are not easy", the author uses litotes, which allows placing emphasis upon the sentence of perceived importance.

The second d technique is parallelism, a very flexible method, which can be used practically in all types of academic papers. Parallelism brings together similar components or aspects of the same object or issue. For instance, "learning new and unusual experience is similar to diving into cold water" or "the researcher assumes that the percentage of suicides is lower in White American population, confirms his hypothesis through conducting his own study and automatically repudiates the argument of his predecessors". Parallelism can be used with nouns, verbs and adjectives, its main aspect is listing similar elements.

Zeugma is a similar rhetorical device, which implies using a connection between several parts of speech by another part of speech. This means, zeugma might include using several verbs with one subject or several objects with one verb. For instance: "Jenny excels at mathematics, Tom at sports, Mary at literature". Zeugma, as one can see, involves using a briefer version of the sentence and avoids repetition of the same verb, so this device is aimed at improving the composition and syntax of the sentence.

Antithesis is another interesting and convenient tool, as it two or more elements to each other. It is common for individuals to categorize and organize their thoughts searching for similarity or opposition, and antithesis allows reinforcing the sentence as a key issue to discuss without asking a question. For instance: "John's short and allegedly boring journey had a strong and long-lasting influence on his worldview". Further, the author can discuss the reasons for the lack of correspondence between the nature of the trip and the strength of John's experience without explaining "The essay will be discussing the reasons…" or asking questions that overload the essay. The meaning of antithesis lies in its major properties, which are combination and contrast of two elements, which thus help the reader notice this antithetical relationship (which might be overlooked if this technique is not used).

Historical present is a technique that involves the use of present tense when citing works, written in the past. For instance, one can state: "Machiavelli assumes that Christianity made people lazy". This technique places the events of the past into the present times and thus increases their relevance nowadays. When speaking about historical facts, biographical information about the birth and death should be used in past tense, whereas it is acceptable to say: "In 1986 the poet leaves England" (writes a book, marries and so forth). The major advantage of this technique is that it approaches the event to the writer.

Appeals to ethos, logos and pathos are the basic techniques to employ when creating a speech, persuasive and argumentative papers. In academic writing, the use of unsubstantiated emotional claims (pathos) is barely acceptable, and in order to appeal to emotions, it would be reasonable to include a striking or interesting fact, which would be relevant in the paper. For instance, when speaking about a war, it is useful to provide the number of lives the conflict took. In order to influence the reader's ethos, it is necessary to include the ethical side of the issue, argue the degree of its appropriateness to the society. Appealing to logos, the writer normally uses research data, references to credible sources as a logical support for the argument. Logos is "responsible" for knowledge, so it is the object of appeal in research and informative papers.

Procatalepsis is a device that refers to making prognoses, deriving from factual situation. These prognoses ca be both positive and negative, and it is recommended that the writer, employing this technique, is able to foresee the threats and dangers of the situation. For instance, "This development campaign is generally successful, but it is unlikely to have a cultural influence on national minorities because acculturation-related measures are not included". Importantly, procatalepsis relies on pure facts, which become the source of prognosis, but it would be unreasonable to build predictions on the basis of assumptions or hypotheses.

Personifcation is one of the strongest techniques to employ in descriptive papers or narratives. This tool allows metaphorically representing animals, inanimate objects or events as human-beings. For instance, in order to reinforce the role of revolution the author can refer to it as to a person: "She substantially improved the state of underprivileged". This tool can also be viewed as a legitimate appeal to the reader's pathos.

Finally, historical analogy as a rhetorical device can be used to exemplify the situations, which took place in the past, and compare them to the current events, find similarity and, if necessary, create a prognosis. Historical analogy is a vital part of national identity, so the use of this technique is likely to be noticed and appreciated. Historical analogy can be applied to practically any science, it allows finding the trends of development and compare certain periods to the present day. For instance, the war on terrorism could be compared to a crusade,. Apart from historical analogy, the writer can use metaphorical analogy as well as contrast, e.g. events can be compared or contrasted to natural phenomena, both from the position of the nature of the process and its outcomes.

Further information on Writing Tips:

- Avoiding common problems
- Time management and organization of the writing process
-> Useful rhetorical devices
- Recommendations for a successful and interesting paper

Submit your request

Essay Guide provides professional assistance with all writing assignments.