Style-based Sentences

Source:  The New Strategy of Style by Winston Weathers and Otis Winchester

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This was the first style-centric handout I gave my Composition classes years ago.  It shares many of the styles found on the other style sheets, and some of these I later pulled off for The New Strategy of Style handout.

 1.  The Repetition Sentence (with key word repeated)
Use this to add emphasis to a word and to make an otherwise drab sentence have style.  Instead of "If you don't like yourself, you won't get along with people," write
2.  The Repeated Word Sentence (Epizeuxis)
To add emphasis, rhythm, and focus to a sentence, repeat a word with the repetitions in close proximity.  What part of speech being repeated doesn’t matter.
3.  The Repeated-Word Sentence (with Extended Definition)
By repeating a word several times, it's possible to suggest compulsiveness, anger, boredom, and irritation.
4.  The Repositioned-Adjective Sentence
Instead of placing the adjective before the noun, position it after the noun like some foreign languages do.
Some religions have disdain for all things worldly.
5.  The Rhetorical Question
This sentence was originally a statement, but after conversion to a question, it takes on a grander tone.  It can be asked in a positive or negative form but actually remains a statement with an obvious or expected answer.
6.  The Interrupted Sentence (The Explanation)
This type of sentence can draw attention to the portion following the interruption or act as a brake on the sentence rhythm.
7.  The Interrupted Sentence (The Aside)
A parenthetical statement that by digressing from the main point adds increased importance to what follows as well as a new tone.

8.  The Structured Series (Balance)
Parallel structure and length in a series of words (three or more items long) is an isocolon.  Between two items, it is a balance.   These can be single word modifiers, phrases, or clauses.
9.  The Compound-Balance Sentence
By balancing a compound sentence, you increase the effect.

10.  The Structured Series (Tricolon)
One of the more famous stylistic devices, it consists of three parts, which can be words, phrases, clauses or sentences.  Caesar's "I came, I saw, I conquered" and Lincoln's "of the people, by the people, and for the people" are examples.

11.  The Structured Series (Four-Part)
This is a four item series of equal unit length.

12.  The Symmetrical Sentence
This usually short sentence features a balance like that of a seesaw with the verb being the balancing point.  The words on either side are equal in length and usually short, and the balance can be intensified by using the same part of speech or words that sound the same.  Linking verbs work well as balancing points, but action verbs work also.

13.  The Negative-Positive Sequence
By phrasing a sentence in a "not this, but that" format, you give the second half special importance and acknowledge the contrary argument .

14.  The Positive-Negative Sequence
By giving the positive first, the negative is stressed.
15.  The Antithesis (an-TITH-e-sis)
A balance of opposites can emphasize contrasts.

16.  The Antimetabole (an-ti-me-TAB-o-le)
A two- part series with two elements composes one part of the balance and their reverse forming the second.

17.  The Asyndeton (a-SYN-de-ton)
By eliminating the conjunction in a series of items, you make the items seem to occur as a single event rather than make the last seem more important.

 18.  The Polysyndeton (poly-SYN-de-ton)
This is similar to the asyndeton except that each item in a series is separated by a conjunction.

19.  The Anaphora (a-NAPH-or-a)
By beginning each item in series with the same words, you intensify their meaning and emphasis.

20.  The Epistrophe (e-PIS-tro-phe)
This involves ending each time in a series with the same words.  Its effect is to illustrate the common denominator between items.

 21.  The Symploce (SYM-plo-ce)
This is a combination of the anaphora and epistrophe.  The items in the series begin and end with the same words.

22.  The Anadiplosis (a-na-di-PLO-sis)
This can be achieved in several ways:
1) By ending one item in a series with the words that begin the next
2) By ending a phrase or clause with the words that begin the next
3) By ending a sentence...

 23.  The Circular Sentence (Epanalepsis, ep-a-na-LEP-sis)

24.  The Circular Sentence (Modified Epanalepsis)
Rather than employ the same word, some form of the word is used.

25.  The Figurative Sentence (Simile)
By comparing an idea with a highly picturable object, person, or event, it becomes imaginable.  Using like or as to compare two things creates a simile.

26.  The Figurative Sentence (Metaphor)
This is basically a simile without like or as.  “Our mortal life is a rough sea” is an example.  By being subtler and simply implying the comparison, an implied metaphor is possible.  The rough seas of our mortal life often threaten our happiness.

27.  The Figurative Sentence (Reification)
This means making an abstract idea into a concrete thing.  In the example, English literature, an abstract idea becomes fire, a concrete, tangible event.

28.  The Figurative Sentence (Personification)
This is comparing a nonliving or inanimate object with something alive.

29.  The Complex Figurative Sentence
This sentence features several clauses full of figurative types.

30.  The Alliterative Sentence
The repeated use of the beginning sounds of words can make a sentence more memorable.  Limit alliterated words or the effect can be comical.

31.  The Rhythmical Sentence
This is a sentence with a more obvious flow and cadence than most sentences.  Use it for special effect but avoid lengthy use.

32.  The Metrical Sentence (Four Beats)
This is a sentence with regular, patterned accents.  In a poem  it would be iambic tetrameter, four duh-DUM beats in a row.

33.  The Metrical Sentence (Various Beats)
Rather than strictly follow one metrical pattern, more than one is followed.
May in Venice is better than April, but June is best of all. - Henry James
(Trochaic and iambic)  

A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices, by Robert Harris  (Still good as of 9-18-08)

 These have fancy Greek names, but their definitions won't be Greek to you with very little study..

34. Parallelism
When portions of a sentence follow the same grammatical pattern, these portions have parallelism. The portions, which can be any parts of speech, can as short as two nouns with the same number of adjectives and participles modifying them…
Or entire clauses…

35.  Chiasmus
This could be called “reverse parallelism.”  The pattern set by the first group of words is reversed by the second group to form a sort of mirror image.

36.  Hypophora
Unlike a rhetorical question, a hypophora is a question raised by the writer that he or she actually answers.  Raising a question the reader might be considering and answering it in several sentences is a solid writing technique.

 37.  Procatalepsis
Anticipating an objection and answering it, permits an argument to continue moving forward while taking into account points or reasons opposing either the train of thought or its final conclusions. Often the objections are standard ones:

38. Metabasis
This consists of a brief statement of what has been said and what will follow. It might be called a linking, running, or transitional summary, whose function is to keep the discussion ordered and clear in its progress:      

39. Distinctio
This is an explicit reference to a particular meaning or to the various meanings of a word, in order to remove or prevent ambiguity. To make methanol for twenty-five cents a gallon is impossible; by "impossible" I mean currently beyond our technological capabilities.

 40. Apophasis (also called praeteritio or occupatio)
This asserts or emphasizes something by pointedly seeming to pass over, ignore, or deny it. This device has both legitimate and illegitimate uses. Legitimately, a writer uses it to call attention to sensitive or inflammatory facts or statements while he remains apparently detached from them.
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