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Rhetoric – the art of using words to persuade an audience

In this article you'll learn about how politicians use repetition and imagery to move their audience emotionally.

There are four basic ways to move an audience emotionally:

  1. Anaphora: The repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of a sentence or phrase.

  2. Epistrophe: The repetition of a word or phrase at the end of a sentence or phrase.

  3. Alliteration: The repetition of words that have the same first consonant.

  4. Imagery: Words and phrases that form clear pictures, sounds or sensations of touch and taste in your mind.

Let’s see if we can see them in extracts of a speech that Barack Obama gave in 2008.

  1. Anaphora:

….All of the candidates in this race have good ideas and all are patriots who serve this country honorably.

But the reason our campaign has always been different, the reason we began this improbable journey almost a year ago is because it’s not just about what I will do as president. It is also about what you, the people who love this country, the citizens of the United States of America, can do to change it.

  1. Alliteration:

…power of millions of voices calling for change._ We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics

  1. Epistrophe:

We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

  1. Imagery:

power of millions of voices calling for change.

Now go to the quiz on Rhetoric.

This article is from the free online

EAL: English Language for Nature Conservation and Sustainability

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