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Innis College Courses
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Vikki Visvis

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LECTURE – November 11
Rhetorical Question
-if merely asked for effect, with no answer expected
-purpose: question encodes answer; answer already embedded
-can make a claim
-IN ACADEMIC WRITING: If using rhetorical question, then must provide an
oWhat do you do if you have this and this?” The answer will be the thesis
oCan be used to set up a rebuttal – for counter-argument
-Audience also important – you want the audience to answer the way you intend
the question to be answered
oCannot assume your answer will be consistent with audience
oEnsure that the answer is encoded in the audience, their values, etc.
Otherwise, provide evidence to provide support
-Be careful not to be absurd ***
-To get the reader to think, query, and conclude along with the writer
-Emphasis, provocation, or drawing conclusion
-the number three significant in a Western, European culture/literature
-parallel structure: all nouns, or all verbs, or all adjectives, etc.
-same syntactic structure for Franklin example, Bentley example
-rhythm in Bentley example
-inversion of the parallelism
-balance or order – less boring than obvious parallelism
-excellent for conclusions
-how speakers or writers say what they say
-classical rhetoricians classify style into grand, mean, and plain
opast: style was connected to class and occasion and specific genres
-present: occasion has influence
-ornate style
osuited to theatrical performances
oseems artificial, paradoxical, and complex
opuns, and far-fetched metaphors
oelaborate rhetoric, with decorative details – flowery speech of today
excessive metaphors, adjectives, etc.
ovocabulary elevated
opurple prose” – term of literary criticism; texts written overly
extravagantly, flowery
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