What is an Antanagoge?

It is simply a figure in rhetoric, wherein if there is a negative point in a statement, then there is also a positive point to balance it. But sometimes, it is also used when a person is not able to reply aptly to a the points in an argument, so the person then uses a tangentially related counter-argument to oppose the other person’s accusation in either speech or writing without directly responding to the initial point(s). This “bringing up” of some other point that isn’t related to the initial point is where the modern word is derived, which in Ancient Greek meant “a leading or bringing up.”

Antanagoge Examples

There are two ways in which an antanagoge is used in speech or writing. We shall see examples for both the usages.

1) As a balancing statement

ie, “You are actually doing some good work here, but I think you should involve the other people more in what you do. You have the potential to become a highly valued member of the team.”

Here, even though the person was praised for doing good work, he’s also being told to involve others more. Positive and negative (encouragement), both in one statement.

or, “It’s a hard time for me as I’ve just lost my job, but I’m still looking forward to our vacation after all this time.”

The negative is losing the job, and the positive is that he is still looking forward to the vacation.

or, “Did you know that she lives alone? Yet she tells me that she enjoys her life to the fullest.”

While the woman living alone is a negative point, she is also enjoying her life, which is the positive point.

2) As a counter-argument

Person 1: I love cookies, they’re delicious, easy to pack and make a great snack.

Person 2: Cookies are riddled with sugar and fat and shouldn’t be eaten.

So, this is what the rhetoric device, antanagoge is and how it is used in writing and speech to better evoke a thought or to make a point.