Litotes


Litotes (li-to’-tees): Deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite. The Ad Herennium author suggests litotes as a means of expressing modesty (downplaying one’s accomplishments) in order to gain the audience’s favor (establishing ethos).

Finding your kitten was no big deal, and driving 20 miles out of my way to bring him home to you was the least I could do.  I can’t imagine you offering me a reward!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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