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These commonly used rhetorical devices are designed to change the way you think. Photo: fizkes (Shutterstock) We’re surrounded with loaded language. Whether it’s mass media, politics, or the people around us, someone is always trying to use words and phrases to support their agenda and to change our minds in bad faith. Ali Almossawi’s An Illustrated Book of Loaded Language uses beautiful pen and ink drawings by Alejandro Giraldo and a metaphorical conflict between badgers and rabbits to lay out some of the ways language is shaped by those in power to influence the way we think and subtly reinforce the status quo. And making the opposing forces into cartoon animals allows the reader to think about deeply ingrained prejudice expressed in language without taking personal affront, making the rhetoric easier to spot. While the book is mainly concerned with public discourse—headlines, news writing, political speak—the rhetorical tricks described are rampant in our personal and professional lives too, whether it’s your spouse subtly gaslighting you with fake apologies, or your boss trying to get you to work on Sunday because your office is “like a family.” The power of the passive voice I’m sure your high school English teacher taught you to avoid using the passive voice in your writing. It makes your sentences weak. But if the point is to make your sentence weak, the passive voice can be a powerful tool, especially if you want absolve someone of responsibility. Public relations arms of police departments do it […]