Enthymeme


Enthymeme (en’-thy-meem): 1. The informal method [or figure] of reasoning typical of rhetorical discourse. The enthymeme is sometimes defined as a “truncated syllogism” since either the major or minor premise found in that more formal method of reasoning is left implied. The enthymeme typically occurs as a conclusion coupled with a reason. When several enthymemes are linked together, this becomes sorites. 2. A figure of speech which bases a conclusion on the truth of its contrary. [Depending on its grammatical structure and specific word choice, it may be chiasmus].


It’s raining, you better wear a raincoat or take an umbrella. Before you go, you better turn the heat down on the roast. While you’re out, can you get me a bottle of Pirate’s Butt? We’re supposed to eat dinner by six, please try to be there. Ok, see you later. I’ll be here practicing my clapping. I’m tired of everybody looking at me during the applause at the end of a performance. I really don’t know why slapping the palm of my hand while I hold it stationary warrants my fellow audience members’ disdain. I could see how, if I slapped my knee or forehead, or pounded my chest, I would garner glares or have people look at me with wrinkled up noses like I smell bad.

So there I sat, slapping my palm. I needed to do something more than practice!

The next day, I went to see Dr. Rondo, a highly respected applausiologist who recently moved here from Attica. My session was amazing. First, he told me to stop clapping until I am cured. He told me people would think I was some kind of critic who didn’t like the performance. That strategy worked so well that I have quit clapping altogether. Now, people ask me why I held back on clapping for a given performance. I alway use the same adjectives and phrases: dull, bumbling, unremarkable, without merit, bad lighting, and many more.

My reputation spread, and now, I’m the drama critic at our local newspaper the Tuckertown Canary. We used to be a coal mining town, that’s where the canary came from. Since I’ve been at the Canary, I’ve never given a positive review. In order to try to take on the positive side of criticism, I’m going back to Dr. Rondo to try to get my clapping fixed. My daughter’s senior play is coming soon. She’s the star. I can’t let her down. I need to develop the perfect clap: a clap that will project love and caring, enthusiasm and acceptance.


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

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