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Antanagoge

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Antanagoge

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Antanagoge occurs where a negative point is balanced with a positive point.

Example

Yes, I know I've lost my job, but I'm so looking forward to spending time at home.

So you live alone? It must be nice to be able to do what you want.

You are doing good work, though you are not involving others enough. I still think you can become our most valued team member.

She died, and her enemies cried 'How glad we were to know her.'

Discussion

When we talk or think about negative things we experience uncomfortable feelings associated with that thing. This is particularly true if it is a memory, but also happens empathetically when others talk about negative things.

As a result, we often avoid talking about negative things, both because of the effect on us and also because of the effect on others (there is a strong social rule about not causing emotional distress to others). If we must say something negative, then we will balance it up with something positive.

If we must criticize another person, one method is to soften the blow by starting with a positive comment. We may also end with a positive, 'sandwiching' the negative with positive comments before and after.

Antanagoge may also be used as a deliberate device in poetry or prose to highlight an obvious negative under the guise of a positive. This uses the contrast principle to throw the negativity into stark relief.

Classification: Falsehood, Hidden

See also

Values, Empathy, Contrast principle

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