ENG 170w – Glossary of Terms

Rhetorical Terms and Essay

Epizeuxis: repetition of one word (for emphasis): (Definition found on http://virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm, by Robert A. Harris)

“almostontheL: Missed Connections
Please please see this.”

The epizeuxis device is used in the repetition of the word “please” to show readers how strongly the author feels about wanting someone else to see the message.


Simile is a  comparison between two different things that resemble each other in at least one way. In formal prose the simile is a device both of art and explanation, comparing an unfamiliar thing to some familiar thing (an object, event, process, etc.) known to the reader.
When you compare a noun to a noun, the simile is usually introduced by like: (Definition found on http://virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm, by Robert A. Harris)

almostontheL Missed Connections
You had a unique, striking, Kate Hudson-like look to your face. One of those smiles that just kind of stayed there.”

The simile is found in the Kate Hudson reference. The subject looks similar to Kate Hudson to the author.


Amplification involves repeating a word or expression while adding more detail to it, in order to emphasize what might otherwise be passed over. In other words, amplification allows you to call attention to, emphasize, and expand a word or idea to make sure the reader realizes its importance or centrality in the discussion. (Definition found on http://virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm, by Robert A. Harris)

almostontheL Missed Connections
you: wearing a black hoodie and a black vneck shirt exposing a tasteful amount of well groomed chest hair garnished with a silver chain.”
The amplification is found in the details the author uses (e.g. black hoodie (as opposed to just hoodie), black vneck shirt (as opposed to just black shirt), exposing a tasteful amount (as opposed to just exposing), well groomed chest hair (as opposed to chest hair), etc).


Rhetorical question (erotesis) differs from hypophora in that it is not answered by the writer, because its answer is obvious or obviously desired, and usually just a yes or no. It is used for effect, emphasis, or provocation, or for drawing a conclusionary statement from the facts at hand. (Definition found on http://virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm, by Robert A. Harris)

“almostontheL Missed Connections
If you insisted on staring so intensely, why did you not talk to me? here is your one and only chance, lanky sweet boy with fixed gear bike.”

The rhetorical question is the part “why did you not talk to me?”. The author did not mean to ask just this question or have it answered.


Allusion is a short, informal reference to a famous person or event: (Definition found on http://virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm, by Robert A. Harris)

almostontheL Missed Connections
I think the subway is a creepy place to talk up women, but you were a classic woman, you even had your eyes painted like Cleopatra.”

The allusion is to Cleopatra and to how she wore her makeup and the distinct look she achieved. The author is saying the subject’s eyes look similar to Cleopatra’s.


Eponym substitutes for a particular attribute the name of a famous person recognized for that attribute. By their nature eponyms often border on the cliche, but many times they can be useful without seeming too obviously trite. Finding new or infrequently used ones is best, though hard, because the name-and-attribute relationship needs to be well established. Consider the effectiveness of these: (Definition found on http://virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm, by Robert A. Harris)

almostontheL Missed Connections
saw you chasing an apple down the L train this morning. I thought, “Eve, you Minx. Seems you can’t get out of this garden fast enough.'”

The Eponym used is the author’s reference to Eve. I doubt the author meant to describe the subject with the negative qualities of Eve, but rather make a reference to the apple in the garden and make a joke.

Alliteration is the recurrence of initial consonant sounds. The repetition can be juxtaposed (and then it is usually limited to two words): (Definition found on http://virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm, by Robert A. Harris)

“almostontheL Missed Connections
Reddish brunette, green eyes, ruby red lips, working the 1950s Mad Men vibe pretty hard.”

The alliteration is in the “ruby red” part of the sentence. The alliteration adds emphasis to the imagery of red lips and is perhaps expressing a feature of the subject that he found hard to forget.


“Honey Pie” by Haruki Murakami is centered around three best friends, two guys and one girl. Our main male character is in love with the female character (and the feelings are unknowingly reciprocated), but the second male character ends up marrying the female character. I felt that for my short story the theme that best describes it would be a missed connection (in a way). The main male character and the main female character have always loved one another, but due to a hesitancy on his part, they were not able to form the relationship they wanted.

For my assignment, I decided to search “missed connections” on Twitter. That led me to a twitter channel called almostontheL which amassed quotes and one-liners from missed connections on the L train ads on Craigslist. Most of the missed connections were well written and used rhetoric successfully and quite effectively. I believe the amplification rhetoric was the most successful. Most of the tweets used a lot of detail in describing the subjects and this is essential in these kinds of communications because details are all anyone has to go on in order to look for the subject and reconnect. A lot of allusion was also used by the authors of the quotes because they often referred to a book or a song or artist the subject was reading or listening to. I believe the nature of describing a missed connection allows writers to use even more rhetoric than usual (compared with regular day to day conversation) in order to highlight the moment or the person they are describing and the more they use the more specific they can be about the person they are seeking out which gives them a better chance to do so.

A few were unsuccessful in that they seemed too over-the-top or too tacky and cliche. A tweet in particular that I listed above that used Eponym was the weakest of all that I chose for this assignment. I don’t think the author used “Eve” in the traditional way eponym might be usually used. The author was calling his subject Eve mainly because of the apple and its relation to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, but I think it fell short in the sense that Eve was perceived as a negative female influence in Adam and Eve, and in this missed connection I don’t think the author was aiming for that connotation.



NOVEMBER 2, 2011

The rhetorical element of simile is similar to Freud’s theory of condensation because a simile serves a symbol for something else, a substitute of sorts. Condensation is Freud’s theory that many ideas in our dreams are packed into small, brief, ideas that are then presented to us in dreams, standing in place of all the meanings and ideas that our dreams should have, but are coded into something more succinct and compact. A simile, while fundamentally different, still serves as symbol for something else and makes comparisons and summations much easier–which is what Freud’s condensation does.

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