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    The Figurative Love Potion

     Dear Figaro,
    This Christmas I plan to ask a woman to marry me. We’ve been dating for two years, and I’m 99% sure of success, but want to do this thing right, rhetorically speaking. Any advice?

    Dear Nup,

    As the great orator Gorgias (we call him “Gorgeous”) would say, it’s best to drug her. Not through drugs per se, but through figures of speech. That’s how Paris talked Helen into the affair that launched those thousand ships.

    A  great figure for the occasion is the anadiplosis, the build-on figure, which begins each new clause or sentence with the words that end the previous one, e.g.:

    “The more I’ve come to know you, the more you’ve become a true friend. And the more you’ve become a friend, the more my love grows. And the more it grows, the more I want it to continue to grow forever. Will you marry me?”

    Trust Figaro. Say it with an absolutely straight face, with utter sincerity, and your beloved—along with romantic immortality—will be yours.


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    Reader Comments (6)

    Why is the anadiplosis superior to, say, the chiasmus--your favorite figure, right, Fig?
    December 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSara
    Yes, the chiasmus is Figaro's fave. But it's better in an adversarial position, because it flips the opponent's argument. "Let's not avoid marriage, or marriage shall avoid us." Not the best of proposals.

    On the other hand, the anadiplosis implies a growing, building relationship, bricks of love built upon one another to form a worth edifice of marriage.

    December 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    OK, but do you really want to be spouting figures of speech at the woman you love? Wouldn't a simple "Will you marry me?" be more effective?
    December 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRic
    Depends what you mean by "effective," Ric. The woman is 99% likely to say yes no matter what, so there's little need for persuasive deliberative argument. Instead, the goal here should be to say something memorable. An elegant turn of phrase can serve as a virtual engagement ring--another tie that binds. An heirloom, even, if the story gets passed down through the generations.

    And, believe Figaro, the woman will remember what you say.

    December 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    h! sir... can you help me and give me some figures of speech about love, wherein a girl is really in love with a very popular guy? i will be really glad if you do.... thanks...!
    September 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrosselyn suscana
    but would that be true love or not
    March 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteremily

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