Lee A. Sonnino — Groupings of Figures

The following groupings are provided by Lee A. Sonnino in A Handbook to Sixteenth-Century Rhetoric (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968): 247-66. They have been cross-linked to the silva rhetorica where definitions and examples can be found.

Figures of addition—digression etc.

Figures of admission and concession

Figures which amplify the importance of the subject of discourse

Figures of appeal to the audience (by threat or promise or entreaty)

Figures for beginning

Figures of comparison and similitude

Figures of contrast

Figures of description

Figures which directly address someone

Figures which distort the truth (see also figures which exaggerate)

Figures involving doubt or hesitation

Figures which lead to a certain emotion

Figures for emphasizing different points

Figures for ending

Figures which exaggerate or diminish

Figures of exclamation

Figures which heap things up

Figures which imitate

Figures of implication

Figures which list things (enumeration or summation)

Figures which depend upon logical forms

Figures which involve memorable phrases or deeds

  • dictu commoratio
  • exemplum
  • experientia
  • proverbium
  • sententia

Figures which are narratives

Figures of omission, including refusals to speak

Figures of personal abuse or accusation

Figures which involve a play on words

Figures of premeditation

  • adinventio
  • ante occupatio
  • antirresis
  • praeexpositio
  • praeparatio
  • praesumptio
  • transmissio

Figures which ask questions

Figures by which the speaker recommends himself to the hearer—by praise, thanks, etc.

  • bendictio
  • comprobatio
  • gratiarum actio
  • ignocentia
  • libera vox
  • medela
  • necessitas
  • obsecratio
  • promissio
  • purgatio

Figures of repetition


Figures which cause variations in style

  • brachiepeia
  • extenuatio
  • familiaritas
  • libera vox

Figures which vary the normal syntax

Vices and faults

Figures which alter the form or grammatical status of a word

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
Please cite "Silva Rhetoricae" (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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