from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Linguistics See comment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The part of a sentence that provides further information regarding the topic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See the extract.


From Greek rhēma, something said, word, subject of a speech (modeled on theme); see wer-5 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • I think he sees focus as a synonym of topic (rheme?), and not as a synonym of what you have to say about it.

    P is for Passive « An A-Z of ELT

  • Again: rheme (by which Peirce meant a relation of arbitrary adicity or arity) was a first, proposition was a second, and argument was a third.

    Nobody Knows Nothing

  • Independent of syntactic word order, theme-rheme or topic-comment sentence structure has the potential to affect the presentation of semantic elements in most languages.

    Themes and rhemes and XSV: Smiled as the wonder I pondered

  • A technical explanation of two syntactic phenomena: word order and topic-prominent languages' systematic tools for effecting theme-rheme structures.

    Themes and rhemes and XSV: Smiled as the wonder I pondered

  • Most languages can adopt theme-rheme structure idiosyncratically — as for English, we often use as for theme constructions — but topic-prominent languages use systematic changes in syntax or even dedicated morpological elements such as the Japanese clitic particle -wa to mark themes and to set them apart from rhemes.

    Themes and rhemes and XSV: Smiled as the wonder I pondered

  • Further, just as we can think of a rheme as an unsaturated predicate, and a dicent as a proposition, we can think of the delome as an argument or rule of inference.

    Peirce's Theory of Signs

  • And finally, since that sign will also determine an interpretant it can be classified as either a rheme, a dicent, or a delome.

    Peirce's Theory of Signs

  • Whenever we understand a sign in terms of qualities it suggests its object may have, we generate an interpretant that qualifies its sign as a rheme.

    Peirce's Theory of Signs

  • To reward the saint for the information, they tear a rag off the shirt and hang it on the briers near by; "where," says the writer, "I have seen such numbers as might have made a fayre rheme in a paper-myll."

    Three Thousand Years of Mental Healing

  • Much I have written, and it comes to this: The very oddity of object-first syntax in universal human grammar, plus the absence of systematic theme-rheme tools in standard English which, unlike its east Asian variants and the local languages that influence them, is not a topic-prominent language, plus the availability of stylistic variant orders in English that throw entire phrases to the front of sentences for rhetorical effect — all this makes syntactic inversion a striking and powerful poetic device in English.

    Themes and rhemes and XSV: Smiled as the wonder I pondered


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