Correctio

Correctio is a rhetorical stylistic device which can be encountered in all literary genres. The Correctio describes that a statement is immediately withdrawn and replaced by a weaker or stronger expression. The stylistic figure is therefore a self-correction, in order to reinforce a statement and to relate it to the metaphrase.

The term can be derived from Latin and translated with correction. As a result, the translation of the stylistic means shows what is at issue: the correction [of a statement, usually a weaker expression being replaced by a stronger one]. Let us look at an example.

You look good, yes, you are beautiful!
The above example is not taken from any work but fictitious. Correctio is evident in this case because the adjective is relativized in the following, and is replaced by the beautiful word. Thus, the speaker, in this case a lyrical ego, has independently corrected itself and strengthened the statement.

You love, Madame?
No, you worship, carry on hands!
This example comes from the German-French poet Heinrich Heine. In this case it is the verb love, which is supplemented by further expressions and thus strengthened. In this respect, we are dealing with a double correction and a three-part increase in what is said (→ Klimax).

Who steal the cherries?
It was the child, the child from before!
Here we have to do with a special form of Correctio, namely the metaphrase. This means that an expression is replaced in retrospect, but a synonym of the word is used. It is not only that a statement is corrected by the speaker, but replaced by a meaning-equivalent word (perhaps to concretize the expression).

Note: Correctio is therefore always a form of correction by the speaker. In most cases, this correction is made directly on what has been said, which sometimes also leads to a sentence break. In principle, however, the Correctio can only be used in the following sentence (“We have let him put a stone, for example a monument to us, a landmark!”, Grillparzer).

Effect and function of Correctio
In principle, it is difficult to attribute a unique effect to a stylistic device. Then we run the risk of always reducing this effect and not checking whether it actually does. Nevertheless we would like to give some hints.

Brief overview: Effect and function of Correctio
In rhetoric, the Correctio means the fact that the speaker is correct. Usually, this happens immediately after a statement has been made, which is why the original sentence may be interrupted or terminated grammatically differently.
Such a correction can have the effect that the respective statement is strengthened. Very often, a weaker expression is replaced by a stronger one, since what has been said has not yet taken root.
If the Correctio is formed by means of a synonyms, that is, a word which is equivalent to the one replaced, one calls the style figure metaphrase.

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