What important rhetorical devices do I need to know?

2 min readdecember 15, 2021

Brandon Wu

Brandon Wu


AP English Language ✍🏽

224 resources
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Important Rhetorical Devices for AP Lang

The AP English Language exam requires identification and analysis of rhetorical devices in the FRQs and MCQs sections.
Need a review on rhetorical analysis, check out this study guide overview about Rhetorical analysis!

Here is a list of ten important rhetorical devices that will likely show up on your AP Language exam:
  • Analogy 📖  - Comparing two things based on structure; used to explain a complex idea in simpler terms. (Example: The movie was a roller coaster ride of emotions).
  • Antithesis ✅ ❌ - Two opposite ideas are parallelly constructed in a sentence to show contrast. (Example: Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing.)
  • Diction 📚 - Using specific word choice to achieve an effect (Example: using thy/thee/wherefore to imply a Shakesperean mood)
  • Ethos 👔 - Appealing to expert testimony or authority (Example: 9 out of 10 dentists recommend X Toothpaste)
  • Juxtaposition 😄 😢 - Placing two ideas together for contrast (Example: I thoroughly hate loving you.)
  • Logos 💻 - Appealing to reason/logic (Example: According to a meta-analysis of thousands of Americans, more than 90% of people sleep with their eyes closed.)
  • Pathos 😠 - Appealing to emotion (Example: Our country is the motherland!)
  • Rhetoric 📝 - Use of spoken or written word to convey ideas (Example: Nearly anything in AP Lang is 'rhetoric')
  • Syntax 💡 - The way sentences are grammatically structured, such as length (Example: I was frightened for my life, as the footsteps grew louder and louder, closer and closer. Then it was silent. I whimpered.)
  • Tone 🗣 - The author's attitude towards a subject (Example: Can someone tell me what is going on instead of keeping secrets? - signifies an annoyed tone)
This is not a complete list, but these ten figurative devices can serve as a guiding tool for your AP English Language exam preparation.

Browse Study Guides By Unit
🤔Exam Skills
🥇Unit 1 – Claims, Reasoning, & Evidence
🗂️Unit 2 – Organizing Information for a Specific Audience
👀Unit 3 – Perspectives & How Arguments Relate
🔚Unit 4 – How writers develop arguments, intros, & conclusions
🎀Unit 5 – How a writer brings all parts of an argument together
👥Unit 6 – Position, Perspective, & Bias
🥊Unit 7 – Successful & Unsuccessful Arguments
😎Unit 8 – Stylistic Choices
😈Unit 9 – Developing a Complex Argument
📚Study Tools

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