Stylistic Devices: An Illustrated Primer, Part III

Isocolon: The joining of phrases of nearly identical structure and length (think The Human Centipede, but w/ fused sentences instead of people).

Fig 2.6 Isocolon

Disjunctive Proposition: An offering of two explanations/outcomes, only one of which can be true; the other is necessarily false.  NB: Often used to misleadingly narrow the field of discussion.  Always be on the lookout for further possibilities!

2.7 Disjunctive Proposition

Syncresis: The appearance of contrasting parallel clauses in tandem.  Compares the subjects of the sentence, while Antithesis focuses on differing predicates and participles.

Example: “A coward dies a thousands deaths; a hero dies but once.”

III.  Syntax

English already has some fairly strict rules regarding word order and sentence construction– definitely more stringent that the laws that governed Greek or Latin.  Still, the language allows some flexibility, and some arrangements are certainly clearer and more eloquent than others.  The rules that govern syntax are more subtle than what we have discussed previously, and are designed to appeal to the subconscious mind.  The syntax is the casing in which the vivid picture of the argument is framed, and while in casual observation it may go largely unnoticed, were it to be absent, the resulting loss of structure and emphasis could only degrade to the impact of the centerpiece.

Anastrope: The placement of an adjective directly after the noun it modifies.

Fig. 3.1 Anastrope

Syllepsis: A single word (most often a verb) is used to join two different ideas or phrases, in which the word is applied with a slightly different meaning to each.

Example: Everyone has an ass-hole, but not everyone has to be one.

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