RHETORIC: The art of sending and receiving messages using literary and rhetorical devices. 


  • What is the tone of the piece?
  • What is the purpose of the piece?
  • Who is the intended reader?
  • Is the text situational or universal? (Will it be read in 50 years?)
  • What is the mode of discourse? Satire? Persuasive? Narrative? Comparison and Contrast? Descriptive? Synthesis? A combination?
  • Which appeals are used?
  • How are the appeals created? 


  • POV: What point of view is used, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd? 
  • Voice: Passive or active?
  • Diction: Where does the author’s word choice add to the text? How is diction used?
  • Tone: What is the tone of the piece?                


  • Examine the author’s sentence structure? Are all sentences complete?
  • Simple (single independent clause)
  • Compound sentences (two independent clauses)?
  • Complex sentences (an independent clause joined with one or more dependent clause)?
  • Are there periodic sentences (details given before or in the middle of the basic elements of the sentence)?
  • Are there loose sentences (details given at the end of the basic sentence elements)?
  • Are sentences parallell
  • Are clauses independent or dependent. How/why are they used?


  • Voice—the persona to whom the reader is listening, made up by a writer’s diction and syntax.
  • Tone—the attitude a writer portrays toward the subject.
  • Diction—word choice
  • Syntax (Period Sentence; Loose Sentence)—the way in which sentences are arranged
  • Rhetoric—the language choices made by a speaker, writer, or listener in a given situation so that a message becomes purposeful.
  • Purpose—the goal of a writer or speaker or a work.
  • Ethos—The credibility of the speaker.
  • Pathos—The emotional weight of a piece.
  • Logos—The rationale or logic behind a piece.
  • Denotation—dictionary definition
  • Connotation—Implied meaning of a word
  • Euphemism: substitution of an agreeable or at least non-offensive expression for one whose plainer meaning might be harsh or unpleasant.
  • Cacophony: harsh joining of sounds. (ex: We want no parley with you and your grisly gang who work your wicked will. W. Churchill)
  • Hyperbole: exaggeration for emphasis or for rhetorical effect.
  • Parallel construction: Of words; of phrases; of clauses. Structure of words or sentences, related and close by, should remain similar in structure and function. (Molly enjoys running, reading, and writing. NOT Molly enjoys running, reading, and to write.)
  • Paradox: an assertion seemingly opposed to common sense, but that may yet have some truth in it. (ex: What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young. - George Bernard Shaw)
  • Double entendre: like a pun, a phrase that can be interpreted two ways.
  • Counterargument—The side opposing a writer’s premise.
  • Mode of discourse—Format of language choices to fit the purpose of a writer.
    • Satire—anecdote or narrative poking fun of man’s follies, with hopes that man doesn’t make the same mistake.
    • Refutation—mode of discourse in which primary goal of an author and method is to refute an opposing argument. Persuasive? Narrative? Comparison-contrast? Descriptive? Synthesis? A combination?)
  • Juxtaposition—placing two ideas, things, characters hear each other for the purpose of comparison

  Source: https://lyonsamstudies.weebly.com/rhetorical-devices.html