Key Terms

The Art of The Euphemism (KT1)

In an attempt to persuade others, sugarcoat a harsh message, or cover the truth, a duplicitous tactic is employed to partially obscure or soften the meaning of a message. A euphemism is the deliberate substitution of a word or phrase for a less intense, more socially acceptable word or phrase.

This tactic can be observed in nearly every public statement from our government. We have witnessed President Bush swap out “death of innocent civilians” for “collateral damage.” President Obama has addressed the nation describing an attempt to “wipe [a location] clear of opposition forces” instead of “killing the enemy.”

The probability of encountering euphemisms in political speeches is significantly high. Practically every politician has polished the art of manipulating an audience with his rhetoric; however, this strategy is not limited only to those in the political circle. A person being remembered at a funeral did not “die” he “passed away.” Suspected criminals are never “tortured” they are simply undergoing “enhanced interrogation.”

Regardless of the context, euphemisms play an integral role in the way we communicate and serve as a means to either ignite or suppress emotions within us.


The Succinct Declaration: Aphorism (KT2)

Priceless insight, often comes to us in the most concise statements. Thought provoking wisdom articulated with few words is referred to as an aphorism.

“The starting point of all achievement is desire.”

“If you don’t control your mind someone else will.”

“Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.”

The above three aphorisms, when closely examined, present timeless wisdom that can apply to all of us if we choose to receive the message. Each statement above, and all aphorisms alike, contains a general truth expressed in a brief statement.


Scholarly Swag: Style (KT3)

In the world of writing, style encompasses the nitty gritty components surrounding what makes an author’s work effective. The strategic deployment of rhetorical techniques (specifically syntax, word choice, and tone) enhances the author’s message and ultimately constructs his style. Throughout my years of reading, I have observed the limited range of styles authors adopt. The stockbroker, the academic, the failed comic, and the hippie are four of the most common styles I have encountered.


Colloquialism Exposed (KT4)

Highlighting colloquial language at this point in our class is ideal since the objective of our latest project is to become more aware of the variations in the way we speak. Colloquial language refers to a particular type of speech in which slang and familiarity merge. This relaxed form of language will almost certainly never be found in academic writing, business reports, or reputable newspaper articles. Profanity, idioms, and contractions are all different prominent examples of colloquial language. In most cases, it is completely inappropriate to incorporate the above three examples into a professional conversation due to the possible impression of disrespect.


Motifs: The Recurring Element (KT5)

The implementation of strategic motifs has powerful effects on the strength and quality of a story. Motifs in a story are elements or anything with symbolic significance that are repeatedly observed. For instance, in To Kill a Mockingbird, many small town images are described in the text; thus, hinting at small town values and allowing readers to infer how certain events in the story are perceived by the characters. Motifs are directly intertwined with the emotions of the reader, therefore when used properly, motifs serve authors as a tool to manipulate readers’ emotions.


Once Upon a Time… (KT6)

Nearly all works of writing tactically include anecdotes of varying length to drive home the message of the author. Some writers find that brief anecdotes serve their purposes best since a direct message is easily conveyed; however, others believe that lengthy detailed anecdotes are most efficient in thoroughly illustrating points that readers should take away from the piece. Anecdotes are simply stories about an incident or person. Such stories are effective because they are conducive to the reader’s complete immersion in the author’s ideas. For instance, just last night I was reading a book discussing various sales tactics. The method discussed in chapter 9 was poorly presented but, with the help of two brief anecdotes, I was able to completely receive the author’s message.


The Flash Back (KT7)

There are moments in each of our lives that we imagine, incredibly realistically, that we are living in a moment from our past. For some it may be the exhilaration of finding out that a younger sister will be brought into the world. For others it’s the tranquil experience of laying down on a beach with the toasty sun beaming down on them from above. And yet for others it’s the horror of experiencing a major setback that drowns them in a dreary lake of negative emotions.

Nostalgia is the return in thought to a previous time. Often times we witness this in movies when the scene depicts a flashback in the character’s life (the lighting of the scene typically becomes very light in saturation). We can observe this in our own lives when we come across a scent and suddenly remember a event or person from our past. Frequently, there is an outside element that triggers this response; these triggers are so intense it makes us feel as though we are actually reliving that particular moment in time.

HAHAHA – Satire (KT8)

Any satirical piece of work contains the same elements of incorporating humor, irony, and exaggeration to enforce or disprove an idea. The vast majority of Saturday Night Live skits are in fact different examples of satire in action. These skits typically star impersonations of current prominent figures in a society and a certain circumstance where that person’s actions are unfavorable.

For instance, after President Trump was elected, Saturday Night Live created a skit with Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. In the skit, Putin gives Trump many gifts for his victory. One of these gifts was an animal clock that Putin said should be kept on Trump’s desk in the Oval Office. Due to the timeliness of this skit, it was implied that this clock was bugged to extract key information form critical meetings in the White House and deliver this information to the Kremlin.

Ad Hominem (KT9)

The act of directing an argument at a person as opposed to his or her argument is classified as an ad hominem logical fallacy. Logical fallacies are examples of faulty thinking; therefore, ad hominem arguments are examples of faulty thinking and weak arguments. A prominent example of ad hominem attacks could be observed during the Presidential Free for All of 2016. The leading candidates of both major political parties would launch attacks on each other that focused on the character and personality of the opposing candidate.

Moreover, the nature of ad hominem arguments is one of nasty hatred for the person featured in the attack. Ad hominem arguments force logic and reasoning to take the backseat while a clear distaste for another person guides the wheel.

Everyone Does It! Why Don’t You? (KT10)

The idea that there is a strong connection with the truthfulness of a claim and the amount of people who believe the claim is called an ad populum logical fallacy. According to this logical fallacy, if two billion people in the world believe that the sun is a candle, the notion that the sun is a candle must be true. Similarly, if only 17 people in the world believe that the sun is a star, these 17 people will be completely wrong. The amount of people who believe in a claim does not make the claim true; however, some people use this type of argument to justify their ideas, arguments, or actions.

Today, we commonly see ad populum logical fallacies on books like “NYT Bestseller!” or in commercials like “The Toyota Camry was the most sold automobile of 2015! Get yours today!” Any attempt to force an audience to conform could be considered an ad populum logical fallacy.