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    Or Just Curl Up with a Spine-Tingling Webster's Collegiate

    cheerbee.jpgQuote: "It’s captivating, just sitting down there and watching these kids spelling words you’ve never heard before." ESPN spokesman Mac Nwulu in the AP.

    Figure of Speechanacoluthon  (an-a-COL-u-thon), the  grammar  shift.

    The National Spelling Bee has finally made it to prime time TV.  ABC will air the finals next month.  But ESPN has been airing America’s nerdiest sport for years.  The network’s spokesman uses an anacoluthon (“lacking order”) to describe the thrill of witnessing word-stuffed pre-pubes wrestle with orthographic punctilios.  (Figaro can’t spell worth a damn, but he dares those punks to take him on in synonyms and neologizing.)

    The anacoluthon begins a sentence with a grammatical order that changes partway through — not "It’s captivating to sit…" but "It’s captivating, just sitting…"  The figure allows you to introduce a shift in scene, like blurring a movie frame before a dream sequence.

    Use it to hold your audience — you know — spellbound.

    Snappy Answer: "We’ll watch it for the foreign beer commercials and highly educated cheerleaders."

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    Reader Comments (3)

    How about the following quote:

    "They say the president shuffling his adminstration is liking rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. But I disagree. The administration is soaring. This is more like rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg."

    What rhetoric device is that?
    May 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNeo Lombardi
    Well, it's certainly a form of irony. And you could say it's a syncrisis. But the quote (Colbert Report?) could use more figuring. The ideal contrast lays clause right next to each other in an isocolon. For both, see this: http://www.figarospeech.com/it-figures/2006/3/24/invading-the-bleak-wasteland-called-can-ah-dah.html.
    May 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    President Bush looked very uncomfortable with Colbert's satire. I liked Colbert's comment that if 68% of the people are unhappy with the job Bush is doing, then doesn't that logically mean that 68% are happy with the job he is not doing?
    May 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJMack

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