Argument Flashcards Preview

Rhetorical Terms > Argument > Flashcards

Flashcards in Argument Deck (38):


The character who opposes the interests of the protagonist.

Ex: In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien creates Lord Sauron as the antagonist to Frodo.



The repetition of a word or phrase whose meaning changes in the second instance.

Ex 1: "Your argument is sound...all sound." —Benjamin Franklin
The meaning of "sound" first appears to be "solid" or "reasonable"; in its repetition, it means something very different, "all air" or "empty"

Ex 2: "If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm." —Vince Lombardi
This means if you aren't fueled by enthusiasm for the job, you'll be fired from the job with no hesitation and great haste


Anticipated Objection

The technique a writer or speaker uses in an argumentative text to address and answer objections, even though the audience has not had the opportunity to voice these objections.

Ex: "You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air…You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory." (Winston Churchill)



The repetition of words in successive clauses in reverse grammatical order.

Ex: One should eat to live, not live to eat.



A person or character who makes a case for some controversial, even contentious, position.

Ex: In Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, Romeo makes a case for marrying Juliet, despite the controversy over the issue.



An elaborate statement justifying some controversial, even contentious, position.

Ex: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'" (Martin Luther King Jr.)



The direct address of an absent person or personified object as if he/she/it is able to reply.

Ex: "O' Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" (William Shakespeare)


Appeal to Authority

In a text, the reference to words, action, or beliefs of a person in authority as a means of supporting a claim, generalization, or conclusion.

Ex: Isaac Newton was a genius and he believed in God. Therefore, God must exist.


Appeal to Emotion

The appeal of a text to the feelings or interests of the audience.

Ex: If you don't graduate from high school, you will always be poor.


Argument by Analysis

An argument developed by breaking the subject matter into its component parts.

Ex: The Virginians failed miserably at initial colonization and suffered through disease, war, and famine because of their high expectations and greed, which also molded their colony socially and economically.
This is like what we had to do in Mr. Roberts' class for the thesis statement. We broke up our argument to address specific parts and details.



The omission of conjunctions between related clauses.

Ex: "This is the villain among you who deceived you, who cheated you, who meant to betray you completely." (Aristotle)
Non-Asyndeton Ex: "This is the villain among you who deceived you, who cheated you, and who meant to betray you completely." (Aristotle)
The use of a conjunction disqualifies it as an asyndeton.


Basic Topic*

One of the four perspectives that Aristotle explained could be used to generate material about any subject matter: greater or less, possible and impossible, past fact, and future fact. A basic topic is a premise where a certain line of reasoning can be applied to it as a way of classifying it and using it to answer some sort of question

Ex: Raising up the minimum wage is lesser or a bad thing, because it also causes the prices of things to change and if kept up will cause mass inflation and devaluation of the German currency as it did for Germany after the treaty of Versailles after they printed more money to pay off debts.
I used greater and lesser and past fact and future fact. As in if this happened in the past, then it will most likely happen in the future and the outcome is bad or lesser for everyone.



Within the planning act of the writing process, a technique used by a writer or speaker to generate many ideas, some of which he or she will later eliminate.

Ex: I brainstorm before history essays by writing down as many specific Exs as I can think of for the prompt.


Cloze Test

A test of reading ability that requires a person to fill in missing words in a text.

Ex: The SAT's language portion contains questions modeled in this way.


Common Topic*

One of the perspectives, derived from Aristotle's topics, used to generate material. The six common topics are definition, division, comparison, relation, circumstances, and testimony. A common topic is an arguing strategy used to win against something or prove your point better.

Ex 1: Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson's political opinions can be the subject of a common topic, such as division.

Ex 2: A method would be to compare your and your opponent's arguments to make the differences seem as small as possible and lessen their resistance towards the argument.

Ex 3: “Another line of argument is common to forensic and deliberative oratory, namely, to consider inducements and deterrents, and the motives people have for doing or avoiding the actions in question.”

Ex 4: “Another line is to apply to the other speaker what he has said against yourself.”

Ex 5: “Another method is to denounce calumny, by saying what an enormity it is, and in particular that it raises false issues, and that it means a lack of confidence in the merits of his case.”


Compound Subject

A sentence in which two or more nouns, noun phrases, or noun clauses constitute the grammatical subject of a clause

Ex: The dog and the cat scurried away from the approaching car.
Compound Subject: The dog and the cat



In ancient Roman oratory, the part of a speech in which the speaker or writer could offer proof, evidence, or demonstration of the central idea.

Ex: In Julius Caesar's speech, the confirmation was scattered throughout.



The struggle of characters with themselves, with others, or with the world around them.

Ex: In The Grapes of Wrath, migrants conflict with property owners.



The implied meaning of a word, in contrast to its directly expressed "dictionary meaning."

Ex 1: Home literally means one's house, but implies feelings of family and security.

Ex 2: Politician has a negative connotation of wickedness and insincerity while statesperson connotes sincerity.



Seeking help for one's writing from a reader.

Ex: I often consult my parents.


Dramatistic Pentad

The invention strategy, the method of coming up with material for the story, developed by Kenneth Burke, in which a speaker or writer creates identities, or goes into detail, for the rhetorical elements act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose in a situation, each of which is related to a question.



The emotional or psychological impact a text has on a reader or listener.

Ex: The Grapes Of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, causes the reader to have sympathy for migrant workers.



The omission of words, the meaning of which is provided by the overall context of a passage.

Ex: "Medical thinking . . . stressed air as the communicator of disease, ignoring sanitation or visible carriers" (Tuchman).



Repetition at the end of a clause of the word that occurred at the beginning of the clause.

Ex: Blood hath brought blood.



A word of phrase adding a characteristic to a person's name.

Ex: Alexander the Great.
The great is the epithet part.


Figurative Language

Language dominated by the use of schemes and tropes. It is non literal language, using stuff such as metaphors or similes.

Ex: "The ground is thirsty and hungry."



A part of the plot that moves back in time and then returns to the present.

Ex: In Oedipus Rex, both Oedipus and Iocaste recall previous events.



A point that a speaker or writer generations on the basis of considering a number of particular examples.

Ex: "All French people are rude."



A piece of writing classified by type.

Ex: Science Fiction.



Activities that writers use, during the writing process, to locate ideas and information.

Ex: For my research paper, I have investigated many sources in the library and online.



Writing or speaking that implies the contrary of what is actually written or spoken.

Ex 1: "Of course I believe you," Joe said sarcastically.

Ex 2: "I can't describe to you how surprised I was to find out I loved her…I even hoped for a while that she'd throw me over" (Fitzgerald 157).



In ancient Roman oratory, the part of a speech in which the speaker provided background information on the topic.

Ex: Julius Caesar used narration in many of his speeches.



The speed with which a plot moves from one event to another.

Ex: In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck paces the story somewhat slowly, interspersing it with main-idea chapters.



A set of similarly structured words, phrases, or clauses that appears in a sentence or paragraph.

Ex 1: The dog ran, stumbled, and fell.

Ex 2: "After two years I remember the rest of that day, and that night and the next day…" (Fitzgerald 17).



An insertion of material that interrupts the typical flow of a sentence.

Ex: The dog (which was black) ran, stumbled, and fell.


People's Topic

The English translation of konnoi topoi, the four topics that Aristotle explained could be used to generate material about any subject matter; also called basic topics.

Ex: Topics include justice, peace, rights, and movie theaters.


Periodic Sentence

A sentence with modifying elements included before the verb and/or complement.

Ex 1: "John, the tough one, the sullen kid who scoffed at any show of sentiment, gave his mother flowers."

Ex 2: After shopping at the mall, walking the dogs and washing the car, I finally got to stay in and relax.

Ex 3: In spite of heavy snow and cold temperatures, the game continued.



An artful variation from typical formation and arrangement of words or sentences. Schemes are figures of speech that deal with word order, syntax, letters, and sounds, rather than the meaning of words, which involves tropes.

Ex: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.