Rhetorical Devices: Schemes, Tropes, Repetition

Posted: March 12, 2014 in Rhetorical Analysis, Writing Advice
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Aristotle defined rhetoric as “the ability to see or identify in any given circumstance the available means of persuasion.” Thus, rhetoric is the art of argument and discourse to convince other of what we believe. There are three avenues of persuasion.

  • Logos, or logic
  • Pathos, or emotional appeal
  • Ethos, or trustworthy charisma and authority

A good writer knows how to use these persuasive avenues in relation to the audience. This concept is called the rhetorical triangle consisting of the author, the text, and the audience. Learn more about the rhetorical triangle by watching the video produced by David Wright at Furman University.

For examples of these three forms of persuasion and how they factor into your audience, view Dr. Wheeler’s argument for not putting a dog in the microwave or allowing children to play with power tools.

If you decided, “Hey! I need some one to give me money” you’d probably choose all three forms of persuasion and still not be effective at convincing the bank, your parents, or a stranger on the street. That’s where Schemes, Tropes, and Repetition come into play. These three techniques can artfully change the patterns of sentence structures and the meanings of words. There are hundreds of these in existence. Refer to Silva Rhetoricae or A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices or Daily Writing Tips for a complete list.  To get you started, consult the upcoming list of terms, definitions, and examples for Schemes, Tropes, and Repetition. Use these tactics to manipulate and enhance your language for delivering an effective bottom-line message. Knowing how to manipulate these rhetorical devices means you have great mastery over the English language. I have to commit these to memory for several of my graduate classes, so if you want to be a master wordsmith (or a total nerd) you can do the same.

If you’re unfamiliar with these Schemes, Tropes, and Repetition techniques, I’d be more than happy to answer your questions about their appropriate usage. Just drop me a message in the comments section, or you can email me using the form below!


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