Rhetorical Devices that Make Messages Memorable

Anaphora – the repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning lines for emphasis or rhetorical effect (“She didn’t speak, she didn’t stand, she didn’t even look up when we came in.”)

Epistrophe or epiphora – the repetition of the same word or phrase at the end of successive lines for emphasis or rhetorical effect (“that government of the people, by the people, for the people”)

Alliteration – the use of several words that begin with the same or similar consonants (“They are part of the finest fighting force that the world has ever know.” ~ President Barack Obama)

Anadiplosis – the last word or phrase is repeated to begin the next. (“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” ~Yoda)

Antithesis – the use of words or phrases that contrast with each other to create a balanced effect (“Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”)  Brutus: “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Assonance – the use of several words that contain the same or similar vowel sounds (“how now brown cow,” “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done.”)

Asyndeton – omits conjunctions, which helps to increase the tempo and highlight a specific idea.

(“He was a bag of bones, a floppy doll, a broken stick, a maniac.” ~Jack Kerouac)

Epanalepsis – repeats the beginning word of a clause or sentence at the end. The beginning and the end are the two positions of strongest emphasis in a sentence, so by having the same word in both places, you call special attention to it.  (“In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.”-John 16:33 or Only the poor really know what it is to suffer; only the poor.”)

Epizeuxis – repetition of one word for emphasis (Polonius: “What are you reading?” Hamlet: “Words, words, words.”)

Hyperbole – deliberate and obvious exaggeration used for effect. (“He mentioned it a million times.”)

Metaphor – a figurative expression of implicit comparison which does not use the words like or as. (Jesus said, “I AM the bread of life.”)

Musical elements – rhyme, rhythm, meter

Onomatopoeia – the use of words that imitate the sound associated with their meaning (“hiss,” “buzz,” “crash,” “boom”)

Parallelism – the deliberate repetition of words or sentence structures for effect (“Easy come; easy go.” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”)

Personification – attributing human qualities to objects or abstracts (“the whistling wind”)

Simile – a phrase that draws a comparison between two different things, containing the word like or as (“He is as sturdy as a rock.”)

Tricolon – a series of three parallel elements (“I came, I saw, I conquered…”)