Language Device List

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Ad Hominem
An argument based on the failings of an adversary rather than on the merits of the case; a logical fallacy that involves a personal attack.

Allegory
Extending a metaphor so that objects, persons, and actions in a text are equated with meanings that lie outside the text.

Alliteration
The repetition of an initial consonant sound.

Allusion
A brief, usually indirect reference to a person, place, or event--real or fictional.

Ambiguity
The presence of two or more possible meanings in any passage.

Analogy
Reasoning or arguing from parallel cases.

Anaphora
The repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or verses.

Antithesis
The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases.

Aphorism
(1) A tersely phrased statement of a truth or opinion. (2) A brief statement of a principle.

Apostrophe
A rhetorical term for breaking off discourse to address some absent person or thing.

Appeal to Authority
A fallacy in which a rhetor seeks to persuade not by giving evidence but by appealing to the respect people have for the famous.

Appeal to Ignorance
A fallacy that uses an opponent's inability to disprove a conclusion as proof of the conclusion's correctness.

Argument
A course of reasoning aimed at demonstrating truth or falsehood.

Assonance
The identity or similarity in sound between internal vowels in neighboring words.

Asyndeton
The omission of conjunctions between words, phrases, or clauses (opposite of "polysyndeton").

Chiasmus
A verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first but with the parts reversed.

Circular Argument
An argument that commits the logical fallacy of assuming what it is attempting to prove.

Claim
An arguable statement.

Clause
A group of words that contains a subject and a predicate.

Climax
Mounting by degrees through words or sentences of increasing weight and in parallel construction with an emphasis on the high point or culmination of a series of events.

Colloquial
Characteristic of writing that seeks the effect of informal spoken language as distinct from formal or literary English.

Comparison
A rhetorical strategy in which a writer examines similarities and/or differences between two people, places, ideas, or objects.

Concession
An argumentative strategy by which a speaker or writer concedes a disputed point or leaves a disputed point to the audience or reader to decide.

Confirmation
The main part of a text in which logical arguments in support of a position are elaborated.

Connotation
The emotional implications and associations that a word may carry.

Deduction
A method of reasoning in which a conclusion follows necessarily from the stated premises.

Denotation
The direct or dictionary meaning of a word, in contrast to its figurative or associated meanings.

Dialect
A regional or social variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary.

Diction
(1) The choice and use of words in speech or writing. (2) A way of speaking, usually assessed in terms of prevailing standards of pronunciation and elocution.

Encomium
A tribute or eulogy in prose or verse glorifying people, objects, ideas, or events.

Epiphora
The repetition of a word or phrase at the end of several clauses.

Ethos
A persuasive appeal based on the projected character of the speaker or narrator.

Euphemism
The substitution of an inoffensive term for one considered offensively explicit.

Exposition
A statement or type of composition intended to give information about (or an explanation of) an issue, subject, method, or idea.

Extended Metaphor
A comparison between two unlike things that continues throughout a series of sentences in a paragraph or lines in a poem.

Fallacy
An error in reasoning that renders an argument invalid.

False Dilemma
A fallacy of oversimplification that offers a limited number of options...
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