Paraphrase Tool


Updated Mar 11, 2023

Exploring the Power of Correctio: A Rhetorical Device that Evokes Persuasion


In the realm of persuasive communication, oratory skills play a crucial role in captivating audiences and effectively conveying a message. Rhetorical devices, such as correctio, provide speakers and writers with a powerful tool to emphasize a point and persuade their audience. Correctio, derived from the Latin word "corrigere" meaning "to correct," involves acknowledging and then immediately revising or retracting a statement to enhance its impact. In this article, we will dive into the fascinating world of correctio, exploring its purpose, effectiveness, and providing notable examples.

Purpose of Correctio

Correctio is primarily used to emphasize a particular point, often by highlighting its limitations or downplaying its significance initially. By immediately correcting or revising the statement, speakers or writers can create a stronger impact on the audience. Correctio, when employed skillfully, can enhance persuasion, evoke critical thinking, and even establish credibility by demonstrating humility and a willingness to recognize and rectify mistakes.

Examples of Correctio in Action

Example 1: Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" Speech

One of the most iconic speeches in history, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, employed correctio to emphasize the urgency of the civil rights movement. In his speech, King states:

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism."

By first drawing attention to the "luxury of cooling off" and the "tranquilizing drug of gradualism," King underscores the need for immediate action. Through correctio, he powerfully conveys the message that delaying progress is not an option.

Example 2: Steve Jobs' Stanford University Commencement Speech

During his 2005 Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs utilized correctio to share his personal experiences and inspire graduates. He said:

"I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again."

Here, Jobs initially presents his firing from Apple as a negative event. However, through correctio, he swiftly retracts this perception by highlighting the positive outcome it brought. This technique allows Jobs to emphasize the transformative power of adversity and encourage the audience to embrace life's unexpected turns.

Effectiveness of Correctio

Correctio serves as a powerful rhetorical device due to its ability to engage the audience, create emphasis, and evoke emotional responses. By acknowledging and revising a statement, speakers or writers demonstrate thoughtfulness, humility, and credibility. This technique can appeal to the audience's sense of logic and encourage critical thinking as they reassess their own beliefs or perspectives.

Moreover, correctio can enhance the memorability of a message. By presenting a statement, correcting it, and replacing it with a stronger alternative, speakers or writers create a contrast that lingers in the minds of the audience. The element of surprise and the shift in perspective can leave a lasting impact, ensuring the key message remains with the audience long after the speech or piece of writing concludes.


Correctio, a powerful rhetorical device, enables speakers and writers to captivate audiences, emphasize key points, and evoke persuasion. By acknowledging and revising a statement, correctio adds depth, impact, and credibility to communication. Through notable examples from renowned speeches, such as Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" and Steve Jobs' Stanford University commencement address, we have witnessed the effectiveness of this technique in action.

As we continue to explore the vast world of rhetoric, it becomes clear that mastering the art of correctio can elevate one's ability to influence and persuade. By embracing this technique, we empower ourselves to connect with audiences, challenge preconceived notions, and leave a lasting impression.

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