10 rhetorical devices used in political messages

Though some speech devices are obvious to spot during election season, many are more obscure. How many of these do you recognize?

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

In an election year, it’s tough to tune out all the pervasive and invasive political messaging.

It’s on social media, newsfeeds, TV, radio, pop-up ads that you can’t close fast enough. Although I’m not particularly interested in politics, I am intrigued by the ways candidates use rhetorical devices in their messages.

Many of us are familiar with the more common rhetorical devices, such as hyperbole, allusion and analogy; others are more obscure. Next time you hear a political message, see if you detect any of these rhetorical devices.

RELATED: Speechwriters, join our new LinkedIn group and meet the world’s best executive communicators. Get FREE tips and strategies, too.

1. Allusion— an indirect or casual reference to a historical or literary figure, event or object.

Example: I guess we’re all waiting for a Mr. Darcy to come along.

2. Antiphrasis— the use of a word opposite to its proper meaning; irony.

Example: Sheila quietly yelled at Scott for not telling her about the system outage.

3. Apophasis— accentuating something by denying that it will be mentioned.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.