Tag Archives: examples


Dialogismus (di-a-lo-giz’-mus): Speaking as someone else, either to bring in others’ points of view into one’s own speech, or to conduct a pseudo-dialog through taking up an opposing position with oneself.

He’s shaping up to be the greatest President the United States of America has ever had! But you say it’s doubtful, Donny–so doubtful.

Ha! That’s not true. Look at the loyalty, the love, the affection!

Ok–Donny says it’s true: he’s making America great again in his own special way.

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


Dianoea (di-a-noe’-a): The use of animated questions and answers in developing an argument (sometimes simply the equivalent of anthypophora).

What’s the matter with me? Nothing’s the matter with me. What’s the matter with you? Nothing’s the matter with you.

This is the question: What’s the matter with us? We need to take mutual responsibility for our relationship.

Is it me? No!

Is it you? No!

It’s us! We need to figure out together what we need to do next.

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


Diaphora (di-a’-pho-ra): Repetition of a common name so as to perform two logical functions: to designate an individual and to signify the qualities connoted by that individual’s name or title.

President Trump is not President Trump when he lies about his predecessors. Rather, he’s a despicable fool with no business being in the White House.

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


Diaporesis: Deliberating with oneself as though in doubt over some matter; asking oneself (or rhetorically asking one’s hearers) what is the best or appropriate way to approach something [=aporia].

Should I stay or should I go? I want to know.

If I stay I will be stuck here.

If I go I will be stuck there.

Maybe ‘being stuck’ is beside the point. The question is, stuck here or stuck there? Where would I rather be stuck? Here or there?

What does ‘here’ have that ‘there’ doesn’t have, and vice versa?

Hmmm. Here is here and there is there. Or, put another way, there is not here and here is not there. But, if I went there it would be here, and here would be there.

I guess I should ask: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being here versus being there? But, we all know that one person’s advantages are another person’s disadvantages–or that something can be an advantage and a disadvantage to the same person.

Anybody have any ideas?

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


Diaskeue (di-as-keu’-ee): Graphic peristasis (description of circumstances) intended to arouse the emotions.

He had his dirty hand outstretched: filthy fingernails pointed directly at me. His eyes were glassy and bloodshot and there was a fleck of spit hanging from his chapped lower lip. His beard was out of control, like some kind of genetically modified weed patch. He smelled like urine and his clothes were ready to disintegrate. He wore no shoes.

“What are you looking for? Chevy? Ford? Mazda? VW? We have a really good selection of preowned cars.”

My God! He was a used car salesman! I turned and ran.

He called after me: “Jeep? Chrysler? Volvo?”

I kept running and didn’t look back.

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


Diasyrmus (di’-a-syrm-os): Rejecting an argument through ridiculous comparison.

You say that eating sand is a great way to lose weight. If that’s what you think, you should try drinking wet cement. Eating sand. Drinking wet cement. Equally good strategies if you want to gain weight and die.

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


Dicaeologia (di-kay-o-lo’-gi-a): Admitting what’s charged against one, but excusing it by necessity.

Yes, I took your car. My mother was having a heart attack. I saw the keys in the ignition. I put her in the car. I drove the car to the hospital. Thankfully, I saved her life.

I apologize for taking your car, but saving my mother’s life was more important than finding you and asking for your permission. I am sorry.

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

A paper edition of The Daily Trope, entitled The Book of Tropes, is available for purchase on Amazon for $9.99 USD. It contains over 200 schemes and tropes with their definitions and examples of each. All of the schemes and tropes are indexed, so it’s easy to find the one you’re looking for. Not only that, the examples of schemes and tropes may prompt you to try to create your own examples as a writing/speaking exercise, and use them as springboards for creating longer narratives.

Dirimens Copulatio

Dirimens Copulatio (di’-ri-mens ko-pu-la’-ti-o): A figure by which one balances one statement with a contrary, qualifying statement (sometimes conveyed by “not only … but also” clauses). A sort of arguing both sides of an issue.

Protagoras (c. 485-410 BC) asserted that “to every logos (speech or argument) another logos is opposed,” a theme continued in the Dissoi Logoi of his time, later codified as the notion of arguments in utrumque partes (on both sides). Aristotle asserted that thinking in opposites is necessary both to arrive at the true state of a matter (opposition as an epistemological heuristic) and to anticipate counterarguments. This latter, practical purpose for investigating opposing arguments has been central to rhetoric ever since sophists like Antiphon (c. 480-410 BC) provided model speeches (his Tetralogies) showing how one might argue for either the prosecution or for the defense on any given issue. As such, [this] names not so much a figure of speech as a general approach to rhetoric, or an overall argumentative strategy. However, it could be manifest within a speech on a local level as well, especially for the purposes of exhibiting fairness (establishing ethos [audience perception of speaker credibility]).

This pragmatic embrace of opposing arguments permeates rhetorical invention, arrangement, and rhetorical pedagogy.

I love a sunny day! Not only that, I love a cloudy day. The sun is warm. The clouds are cool. Feeling this way, I feel at home with the weather–I feel at home in the world.

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

A paper edition of The Daily Trope, entitled The Book of Tropes, is available for purchase on Amazon for $9.99 USD. It contains over 200 schemes and tropes with their definitions and examples of each. All of the schemes and tropes are indexed, so it’s easy to find the one you’re looking for. Not only that, the examples of schemes and tropes may prompt you to try to create your own examples and use them as springboards for creating longer narratives.


Distinctio (dis-tinc’-ti-o): Eliminating ambiguity surrounding a word by explicitly specifying each of its distinct meanings.

Fire: Burning material (campfire)

Fire: To make something move very fast (fire a fastball)

Fire: To be dismissed from your job (you’re fired)

You’re not burning.

You’re not throwing pitches.

Actually, you’re fired.

A paper edition of The Daily Trope, entitled The Book of Tropes, is available for purchase on Amazon for $9.99 USD. It contains over 200 schemes and tropes with their definitions and at least 2 examples of each. All of the schemes and tropes are indexed, so it’s easy to find the one you’re looking for. Not only that, the examples of schemes and tropes may prompt you to try to create one scheme or trope per day, starting with abating.



Distributio (dis-tri-bu’-ti-o): (1) Assigning roles among or specifying the duties of a list of people, sometimes accompanied by a conclusion.  (2) Sometimes this term is simply a synonym for diaeresis or merismus, which are more general figures involving division.

Ok: Ed, you handle the paper. Al, you handle the metal. I’ll handle what we can’t recycle. The transfer station’s open on Wednesdays from 3.30-5.30. I’ll drive what we have there and dump it off in person.

Are we ready?

  • A paper edition of The Daily Trope, entitled The Book of Tropes, is available for purchase on Amazon for $9.99 USD. It contains over 150 schemes and tropes with their definitions and at least 2 examples of each. All of the schemes and tropes are indexed, so it’s easy to find the one you’re looking for.

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



Ecphonesis (ec-pho-nee’-sis): An emotional exclamation.

Sam: “Yaaaaaaa!”

Pat: “Calm down! It’s only a snake.”

Sam: “Yaaaaaaaaaaa!!”

Pat: “Look! It likes you. It’s coming toward you.”

Sam: “Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!”

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



Effictio (ef-fik’-ti-o): A verbal depiction of someone’s body, often from head to toe.

Note: This figure was used in forensic rhetoric (legal argumentation) for purposes of clearly identifying an alleged criminal. It has often been adapted to poetical uses.

He was around nine feet tall. He had long brown shaggy hair and a reddish beard around one foot long. His eyes were yellow and his teeth were sharply pointed. He had a golden hoop erring in each of his ears. His hands looked like flesh-covered vises. He was wearing a beautiful gray hand-tailored suit and a Brooks Brothers tie with pictures of martinis printed on it. His shoes were brown and made of some kind of reptile skin–most likely alligator–most likely very expensive

It was my first day at work and Mr. Adams was my boss!  I couldn’t wait to start working with him, learning from him, and possibly becoming good friends.

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


Ellipsis (el-lip’-sis): Omission of a word or short phrase easily understood in context.

When the going gets tough . . . . Got it? It’s time to help Sisyphus push that piece of crap up the hill to the garage. I can’t believe he bought a used KIA from one of those roadside rip-off car lots. He’s too vain to call a tow truck. This is his punishment.

But why the hell are we helping him? Hmmm–oh well: when in need . . .

Let’s go.

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

Buy a print version of The Daily Trope! The print version is titled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99 (or less).


Enantiosis (e-nan-ti-o’-sis): Using opposing or contrary descriptions together, typically in a somewhat paradoxical manner.

Tomorrow I shall kill. The blood will flow, yet many people will be grateful. They will be grateful for the cuts of meat to sacrifice to the soft white clouds moving across the blue sky, to the light breezes that make tree branches hardly sway in the summer heat, and the empty quiet battlefields blessed with the quiet of peace: to Nuada, god of the sky, the wind, and war.

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


Enigma (e-nig’-ma): Obscuring one’s meaning by presenting it within a riddle or by means of metaphors that purposefully challenge the reader or hearer to understand.

We are living in strange times–times that are riddled with the prospect for riddles!


Q: Poor people have it. Rich people need it. If you eat it you die. What is it?

It is kind of like health insurance.

The answer is nothing. It does not quite fit, but it’s good enough to make my point.

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


Ennoia (en-no’-i-a): A kind of purposeful holding back of information that nevertheless hints at what is meant. A kind of circuitous speaking.

The dirty dishes are piled high in the sink. There’s a sponge and some detergent right there by the faucet. If you put water on a dish and rub it with a soapy sponge something amazing happens! It gets clean. A whole pile of dirty dishes could get clean this way!

Are you getting any interesting ideas related to soap, water, sponges and dirty dishes?

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


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].

1. It’s noon. Let’s eat!

2. If tranquility should be pursued, tumult should be avoided.

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


Epanorthosis (ep-an-or-tho’-sis): Amending a first thought by altering it to make it stronger or more vehement.

I really like coffee ice cream. No. Actually, I love coffee ice cream.  Wait! The truth is, I worship coffee ice cream! Each time I eat it, I pray to it. I pray that it won’t drip on my t-shirt, give me pimples, or make my sinuses hurt.

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


Epenthesis (e-pen’-thes-is): The addition of a letter, sound, or syllable to the middle of a word. A kind of metaplasm. Note: Epenthesis is sometimes employed in order to accommodate meter in verse; sometimes, to facilitate easier articulation of a word’s sound. It can, of course, be accidental, and a vice of speech.

I’m a snappy finger pop-a-ping man. Any ideas what that means? In any case, you better watch out or you’ll come under my spell.

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


Epergesis (e-per-gee’-sis): Interposing an apposition, often in order to clarify what has just been stated.

My dog, canis lupus familiaris poop & run, had done it again. He dropped a clandestine crap bomb on my neighbor’s front lawn. My neighbor found it with his shoe. My neighbor is dancing on one foot and yelling obscenities.

Should I venture over there with a baggie and some paper towels? I can feign righteous indignation at ‘whatever dog’ did it and hopefully protect my dog from my neighbor’s wrath.

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


Epexegesis (ep-ex-e-ge’-sis): When one interprets what one has just said. A kind of redefinition or self-interpretation (often signaled by constructions such as “that is to say. . .”).

I ask: Who put the peach in impeach? Who put the suit in lawsuit?

I don’t know the answer to my question, but I think there’s some impeaching and law-suiting on the horizon. That is to say, I think Trump’s going to get what suits him, and it will be peachy!

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


Epicrisis (e-pi-cri’-sis): When a speaker quotes a certain passage and makes comment upon it.

Related figures: anamenesis–calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author from memory–and chreia (from the Greek chreiodes, “useful”) . . . “a brief reminiscence referring to some person in a pithy form for the purpose of edification.” It takes the form of an anecdote that reports either a saying, an edifying action, or both.

Joseph Campbell tells us: “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

If we take his advice to heart we can finally get rid of life coaches, high school guidance counsellors, tarot card readers, haruspices and everybody else who tries to make the unknowable future knowable by virtue of having a plan!

Ironically though, Campbell’s advice is sort of future-directed, and lays out a plan: a plan not to have a plan. Accordingly, it seems that as far as we’re able to consider the future, we are stuck with planning–even if it’s not to have a plan.

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


Epilogus (e-pi-lo’-gus): Providing an inference of what is likely to follow.

We’ve tried everything. Nothing’s worked. We all know what that means.

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


Epimone (e-pi’-mo-nee): Persistent repetition of the same plea in much the same words.

X: I want a car. Can I please have a car? I’m begging you for a car. I need a car. All my friends have cars. Please, just one little car. I’ll even take a used car. Can’t I have a car?

Y: Some day you will have a car, but not now. You don’t even have a driver’s license yet! After you get a license, we’ll start talking about a car. In the meantime, please, no more asking.

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


Epiplexis (e-pi-plex’-is): Asking questions in order to chide, to express grief, or to inveigh. A kind of rhetorical question [–the speaker does not expect an answer].

What is North Korea up to? Will its threats ever be carried out? Is the Chubby Dictator going to launch a missile attack?

These are questions that we’d like to get definitive answers for, but the Chubby Dictator is a blustering enigmatic idiot.

However, if the past is a predictor of the future, it is most likely the case that North Korea is up to nothing–that the threats will not be carried out and the Chubby Dictator will launch no missiles, but rather, he will continue to launch insults directed toward the US & most likely toward President Trump (whose chain is easily yanked).

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