An Introduction to Correctio

Correctio (etymologically from Latin, signifying “correction,” or “amendment”), is a kind of redefinition that occurs when we make correction or amendment to a word or phrase just employed, with a more appropriate word(s); or a further specifying of meaning, especially by stating clearly what something is, or what is not.

Basic Formulae of Correctio — Correctio is usually expressed by means of these formulae:

  • “I wanted to say, more correctly …,”
  • “I don’t know how better to say it …,”
  • “unless you would rather call it …,”
  • and other similar expressions. — (Giambittista Vico, The Art of Rhetoric: [Institutiones Oratoriae, 1711-1741])
Notable Examples
    Correctio, especially dicti correctio (diction correction) prevails when we remove what has been said and replaces it with a more appropriate word as does Terence’s Menedemus:
  • “I have an only son, a mere lad. Ah, what do I say? Have …? Son? No, I had a son, Chremes; whether I have one now I can’t tell,”
  • Likewise Cicero in Philippicae:
  • “Caius Caesar, a young man, or rather almost a boy … collected a very stout army of the invincible class of veterans, and lavished his patrimony – though I have not used the proper phrase; for he did not lavish it, he invested it in the salvation of the State.”

Correctio is closely related to EpanorthosisOpens in new window and other related Figures of DefinitionOpens in new window, and it is usually embeded as a parenthesis – an interruption, or in form of a climax.

Further Readings:
Silver Rhetoricae: CorrectioOpens in new window
The Art of Rhetoric: (Institutiones Oratoriae, 1711-1741) by Giambattista Vico | CorrectioOpens in new window
Dictionary of Rhetorical Terms by Gregory T. Howard | CorrectioOpens in new window