This post is part of a series on rhetorical devices. For other posts in the series, please click this link. For a comprehensive, step-by-step overview of how to write a speech outline, please see this post.
Device: Antanagoge (pronounced an-tana-goji)
Origin: From the Greek ἀνταναγωγή meaning “anti” (against) and “anagoge” (leading up).
In plain English: Turning a negative into a positive.
- By turning a negative into a positive—for example, by using the positive aspects of something to counterbalance its negative aspects—we can use this device to change people’s minds.
- Antanagoge is an effective way to respond to criticism.
- We use it more often that we might realize in daily conversation.
- The device is also known as compensatio.
- Note that you can use antanagoge in the “opposite direction”. In other words, if you are against a proposition, you can offset the stated benefits by showing that the costs or other negative impacts offset those benefits.
- Another, unfortunate, use of antanagoge is something that is all too common in political discourse these days. It occurs in the following situation: When Person A cannot respond to the accusations of Person B, Person A instead makes a counter-accusation against Person B.
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
“Many are the paines and perils to be passed / But great is the gaine and glorie at the last.”
— Source unknown
My car is old and ugly, but it is reliable and runs great.
Yes, this is going to be a lot of work. But it will be worth the effort because we will be a stronger, more sustainable company after we are finished.
In the ongoing debate about what restrictions should be put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19, we see the widespread use of antanagoge.
- Those in favour of a lockdown acknowledge that it will cause economic hardship but that we will save lives and finally control the pandemic.
- Those against a lockdown acknowledge that it will save lives but that the economic costs are too great and will cause other serious problems (job loss, stress, domestic violence, other health problems).