Apagoresis (a-pa-gor’-e-sis): A statement designed to inhibit someone from doing something. Often uses exaggeration [or hyperbole] to persuade. It may combine an exaggeration with a cause/effect or antecedent/consequence relationship. The consequences or effects of such a phrase are usually exaggerated to be more convincing.
Dad: If you don’t stop doing that every night, your thing will wear down to a tiny nub and you’ll never get a chance to use it the way God intended—as a procreation implement, like the bull out there in the corral with his thing. Did you ever see him do to himself what you do to your self? Of course, the answer is “No.” Big Ted’s not a pervert. He’s a bull. And if people find out what you’re doing, you might be hauled off to the State Mental Institution for unnatural impulses and self abuse. Then, you will have a permanent record. You won’t be able the get a decent job, and your mother, God bless her, will be humiliated and will never leave the house again.
Son: So Dad, how do you know what I do in bed at night?
Dad: There’s a spy cam hidden in your room. It’s the best way I know to monitor your nocturnal habits and take measures when they overstep the limits of propriety, as your nightly self-abuse certainly does. We should’ve had this talk a lot sooner, but I hate confrontations. I’m glad we finally got around to it.
Son: You’re a pervert. I’m shocked, hurt, angered and disgusted, you scumbag creep. I’m getting the hell out of here and checking into a shelter until they can find me a foster home. I’m packing. You better stay out of my way asshole! Your days as a voyeur are done. You may be hearing from the police very soon. Now, get the hell out of my way!!
Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.
Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available on Kindle under the title The Book of Tropes.