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 pattern of arguments]).

Me: Why are you going to school today?

1. To hang out with friends?

2. To make trouble?

or

3. To learn something?

Number One is a waste of time. Number Two is a total disaster. That leaves number three–learning is school’s purpose!

So, “to learn something” is why you’re going to school today. Right?

You: Yes, Ma.

Me: Good! You’re on your way to fame and fortune!

You: Yes, Ma.

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

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

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