By Nancy Roe
Would you like your writing to stand out? Would you like the reader to evoke emotion when reading your prose? Would you like to be a New York Times bestseller? Have you tried using rhetorical devices in your writing?
What exactly is a rhetorical device? A rhetorical device is a use of language that creates a literary effect. A rhetorical device is a linguistic tool that employs a particular type of sentence structure, sound, pattern.
By using rhetorical devices, you add power to your words. You evoke emotion. You strengthen your persuasive skills. While I’ve found a list of over 160 rhetorical devices, I’m giving you my top 10.
Anaphora: Repeating a word or phrase at the beginning of 3 or more successive clauses or sentences. The first three are always in a row. (Refer to the first three sentences in this article.)
Asyndeton: In a list of 3 or more, no conjunctions, just commas. (Refer to the third sentence in the second paragraph.)
Polysyndeton: In a list of 3 or more, just conjunctions, no punctuation. Example: His teeth were large and pointed and discolored.
Epistrophe: Repeating the last word or final phrase 3 or 4 or more times of consecutive phrases or sentences in a row. Example: Airplanes are fascinating. Rockets are fascinating. Pogo sticks are not fascinating.
Conduplication: Start a sentence with a key word from a previous sentence. Example: Jack is impossible to work with. Impossible to tell the truth.
Alliteration: Alliteration is repeating initial consonant sounds. Example: My burger was bitter and burned.
Onomatopoeia: Use words that imitate the sound the word describes. Examples: whoosh, plunk, splat, and whap.
Personification: Attributing animal or inanimate objects with human attributes. Using personification can make for a stronger, more interesting read. Example: The cameras gobbled our images.
Zeugma: In zeugma, the last item is out of sync with the others. It carries power. Example: Barbara grabbed her purse, her water, and her steely resolve.
Assonance: Similar vowel sounds repeated in successive or proximate words containing different consonants. They can be in the same sentence or successive sentences. Example: loosey goosey, name game, or hair repair.
Will you be adding any of these rhetorical devices to your next piece of writing?
Nancy Roe has self-published six books and currently working on her seventh. Nancy has served as a panelist at the Killer Nashville International Writer’s Conference, speaking on the subjects of self-publishing, minor characters, and dialogue. Nancy is a Midwest farm girl at heart and currently lives in Tennessee with her husband and four-legged child. Website: www.NancyRoeAuthor.com; Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NancyRoeAuthor; Twitter:http://twitter.com/NancyRoeAuthor; Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/NancyRoeAuthor; Books: www.NancyRoeOnAmazon.com