Expeditio


Expeditio (ex-pe-di’-ti-o): After enumerating all possibilities by which something could have occurred, the speaker eliminates all but one (=apophasis). Although the Ad Herennium author lists expeditio as a figure, it is more properly considered a method of argument [and pattern of organization] (sometimes known as the “Method of Residues” when employed in refutation[, and “Elimination Order” when employed to organize a speech. The reference to ‘method’ hearkens back to the Ramist connection between organizational patterns of discourses and organizational patterns of arguments]).

Where did you get that beautiful diamond ring? No, don’t tell me–let me guess. Either you bought it, found it, stole it, or somebody gave it to you.  Now, let’s see . . . There’s no way you’d buy something like that for yourself–you’re the cheapest person I know.  If you found it, I know you’d would’ve handed it over to lost and found–at any rate you wouldn’t be showing it off like it’s yours–you’d be telling everybody you found it and you’d be looking for its owner. There’s no way you’d ever steal anything–I’ve known you since we were kids. So, all I can say is: Who gave it to you? What’s up? Wow! Life is good!

  • Post your own expeditio on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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