LawProse Lesson #345: Presidential-Debate Bingo.

LawProse Lesson #345: Presidential-Debate Bingo.

The modes of argument are as old as civilization: the ancient Greeks and Romans devised names for various rhetorical devices. Appeal to the pocketbook? The technical term is argumentum ad crumenam. Appeal to pity? It’s argumentum ad misericordiam. Use of rebuke or reproach? It’s epiplexis. A totally unsupported assertion? It’s an ipse dixit. The invocation of a looming catastrophe? It’s an argumentum in terrorem.

Professor Bryan Garner has assembled 48 categories into a game of bingo, with five different bingo cards available. You can play during the September 29 debate. He will be live-tweeting the debate, calling out the bingo numbers each time one of the candidates employs a device (@BryanAGarner).

It’s a great way to learn the modes of argument and some of the most common rhetorical devices. Download your bingo cards and key here. You’ll need to review that key a couple of times beforehand!

Then listen well.

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  • framing issues that arrest the readers' attention;
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He teaches dozens of techniques that make a big difference. Most important, he shows you what doesn't work—and why—and how to cultivate skillfulness.

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