figures of division
figures of speech
groupings index

There exist certain general terms for division which are applied at various levels of the system of rhetoric. Each of these could be considered synonymous withe the Topic of Invention: Division and have been used as methods of Amplification.

  • merismus
    The dividing of a whole into its parts.
  • diaeresis (#1)
    The logical division of a genus into its species.
  • distributio (#2)
    A synonym for diaeresis or merismus

Certain figures of division provide order within a speech (Compare Parts of an Oration: Partitio, Propositio):

  • eutrepismus
    Numbering and ordering the parts under consideration.
  • enumeratio
    Dividing a subject into its adjuncts, a cause into its effects, or an antecedent into its consequents.
  • taxis
    To divide a subject up into its various components or attributes.
  • distributio (#1)
    Assigning roles among or specifying the duties of a list of people, sometimes accompanied by a conclusion
  • dialysis
    To spell out alternatives.
  • expeditio
    After enumerating all possibilities by which something could have occurred, the speaker eliminates all but one.
  • dilemma
    Offering to an opponent a choice between two (equally unfavorable) alternatives.
  • prosapodosis
    Providing a reason for each division of a statement.

Certain figures describe divisions within a word

  • diaeresis (#2)
    Dividing one syllable into two.
  • tmesis
    Interjecting a word or phrase between parts of a compound word or between syllables of a word.

Certain figures describe syntactical or semantic divisions within a sentence, such as the zeugma figures. All of the zeugma figures depend upon a division in how one word is applied to or governs other words in a sentence and by using division carry a sort of distributive function:

  • zeugma
    One part of speech governs two or more other parts of a sentence.
  • syllepsis
    When a single word that governs or modifies two or more others must be understood differently with respect to each of those words.

Other figures simply depend upon some internal sort of division to operate:

  • synecdoche
    A whole is represented by naming one of its parts (genus named for species), or vice versa (species named for genus).
  • hendiadys
    Expressing a single idea by two nouns instead of a noun and its qualifier
  • Figures of Summary

See Also

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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