Rhetoric is the art of persuasive spoken or written discourse that was developed in Ancient Greece. Rhetorical techniques use several methods to influence, convince, and please an audience. Here are some examples of the types of rhetorical devices that you should know.

Amplification

Refers to an expansion of details do provide a clarification of a fact or point e.g. we are rich, we are brother, we own several malls

Anadiplosis

It is the repetition of words that are located at the end of clauses or phrases and at the beginning of the next e.g. I lack words, words to express how I feel.

Anaphora

This is the repetition of a word at the start of consecutive sentences, clause, or phrases e.g. I saw, I stood, I walked

Hyperbole

Used to exaggerate things or a figure of speech that emphasizes a point e.g. I’m as hungry as a starving hyena.

Litotes

The device makes an understatement by refuting the opposite of a phrase or word that should have been used e.g. the company’s terms and regulations are not disagreeable to us.

Metaphor

A metaphor compares two by directly stating that one is the other e.g. my riches are my wealth or your eyes are the windows of your soul.

Metanoia

It is an important device that qualifies or corrects a statement e.g. You are the prettiest woman in this town, not the entire world.

Metonymy

It’s a kind of metaphor used in comparing something with another, but both are closely related e.g. the knights will forever remain loyal to the crown.

Onomatopoeia

These are words in sentences that are used to imitate the sound they describe i.e. hydrogen gas burns with a pop sound.

Oxymoron

This is simply a two-word paradox, for example, seriously stupid, near miss, really funny

Parallelism

Features in sentences where words used have a similar structure, for example, I went to the shop, I parked my bike, and bought a cookie.

Simile

It compares an object to another i.e. he smokes marijuana like a chimney every day.

Understatement

It makes concepts less valuable than they really are, for example, the bomb destroyed my bicycle.

Bdelygmia

Used to show an abusive language or express abhorrence and hatred for a person i.e. I hate proud women. Were you born this stupid, or is scoring 30% in science is the best performance from you?

Tricolon

It is a series of three parallel phrases, clauses, and statements, for example, tell me I forget, teach me I remember, involve me and I learn.

Asyndeton

It refers to the absence of conjunctions such as I have a wife, she cannot cook, I cannot cook too, I will never cook.

Diatyposis

Used when offering advice, for example, please live to do good because you do to others will also be done unto you.

Pleonasm

It refers to the use of redundancy for the sole purpose of emphasizing e.g. I saw it with my own eyes, she heard it with her own ears.

Chiasmus

This is the reversal of the correct words in a sentence with two parallel phrases, for example, I went to the city, to the village went she.

Repetition

It is the purposeful or conscious replication of phrases and sentences to stress a point.

Rhetorical questions

Questions that one should not expect answers, for example, why are you so stupid?

This is a ever growing but perpetually incomplete of the various rhetorical devices. If you have any you’d like to contribute, or you have some favorite examples of the ones above, go ahead and write them in the comments below. The comments are also a good place to practice with rhetorical devices, and let others critique and review your work.