Rhetoric and rhetorical devices are used every day, sometimes unconsciously, to persuade those around us to see things from our point of view, and we are influenced by the rhetoric in advertisements and politicians’ speeches. Below are a few common examples. How many rhetorical devices did you use today?
10 Examples of Rhetoric in a Sentence
- “When you go out, such as to pick up your kids from school or do grocery shopping, don’t forget to turn the lights off. You can protect the environment too!” – A rhetorical device we all use every day is exemplum, which clarifies a certain term for the audience and provides a mental image of it to which they can relate. While “going out” has a general meaning, specific examples are provided (“picking up kids from school” and “grocery shopping”) to ensure that the message has gotten through to the audience.
- “I could hear them in the other room, chattering, clapping, rattling, banging, roaring.” – This sentence includes the rhetorical device asyndeton, with the items arranged in climactic order, from “chattering,” which implies a normal-level noise, up to “roaring,” which is a very loud sound, to create an auditory effect for the audience.
- “Our organic soup—Enjoyed even by the pickiest children!” – This sentence tries to convince you to buy a certain type of soup by using several key words and devices: “organic” (which implies “healthy”), “enjoy” (positive feeling), “the pickiest children” (hyperbole; the adjective is used in the superlative for emphasis).
- “I’m sure your wife will absolutely love this necklace!” – A jewelry seller may use this type of sentence to persuade a man to buy a piece of jewelry, by utilizing pathos by the use of the words “wife” and “love” and giving the client a feeling of certainty that he is making the right choice, though the use of “sure” and “absolutely.”
- “When the buyer heard that the floorboards needed replacing, the pipes were leaking, and there were holes in the roof, he paid for the apartment immediately, in cash. It makes sense: Apartments this run-down are hard to find.” – This sentence uses the rhetorical device irony to create a surprising and comic effect for the audience because the conclusion of the sentence differs from the audience’s expectations.
- “This was so much fun! I loved, loved, loved it!” – A person might use the rhetorical device epizeuxis by repeating the same word to emphasize how much he or she enjoyed a certain activity.
- “Graduating magna cum laude was no small accomplishment.” – By denying the opposite of what the speaker is trying to get across (that it was a great accomplishment), that is, using the rhetorical device litotes, the speaker emphasizes the greatness of said achievement.
- “How do we know that our product is the best? Why shouldn’t you buy from our competitors? What makes our product better than theirs? It’s simple: We have tested it on hundreds of volunteers who can certify it.” – A company might use this persuasive device, consisting of questions and answers, called hypophora, to raise the curiosity of the audience, get their attention and, ultimately, make them try the product.
- “He was like an old tool: Nobody wanted him anymore but kept him around just in case.” – The first part of this sentence consists of a simile that compares a person with an old tool to increase the interest of the audience and clarify the main idea (the fact that he wasn’t wanted anymore) in a creative way.
- “The declaration of the White House could be heard today on all radio stations.” – Metonymy is a rhetorical device that we encounter often. If the use of the device in this sentence is not clear to you, ask yourself how many times you have seen buildings making declarations. The “White House,” here, is used instead of “the United States President.” Thus, this metonymy expresses the idea that the declaration―whether it came from the president personally or from a spokesperson acting on behalf of the president―is the responsibility of the president.