A rhetorical figure can be defined as an artful deviation in the form taken by a statement. Since antiquity dozens of figures

Abstract

A rhetorical figure can be defined as an artful deviation in the form taken by a statement. Since antiquity dozens of figures have been catalogued, ranging from the familiar (rhyme, pun) to the obscure (antimetabole). Despite the frequent appearance of rhetorical figures in print advertisements, their incorporation into advertising theory and research has been minimal. This paper develops a framework for classifying rhetorical figures that distinguishes between figurative and non-figurative text, between two types of figures (schemes and tropes), and among four rhetorical operations that underlie individual figures (repetition, reversal, substitution, destabilization). These differentiations in the framework are supported by preliminary validation data and linked to suggested consumer responses. The paper concludes by considering the theoretical import of the proposed framework for future research on rhetorical structure in advertising.

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