Word of the Day from Merriam-Webster Online:
: the raising of an issue by claiming not to mention it
I think this would be a good way to add a hook in a sentence or a paragraph. For example, Joe (we are beginning to have feelings about Joe – not sure if they’re good or bad) wants to needle his sister but doesn’t want to bring up the subject directly, so he uses apophasis.
Sarah set the last side dish on the table and sat down next to her new boyfriend, Larry. “Eat up,” she said with a smile.
Everyone helped themselves to whatever was in front of them, passing dishes, and commenting on how good everything smelled.
Tina, his wife, plopped an extra helping of Lima beans on his plate because she knew he didn’t like them.
“Thanks, honey.” He made a face at her.
“They’re good for you,” she said in that saccharine voice she used for ‘special’ occasions. He wondered what was up.
She stared at him, trying to get him to do something.
‘What?’ he mouthed at her.
She tapped her glass.
Oh. He raised his glass. “To Larry. Welcome to the family zoo. I hope the lionesses don’t scare you off.”
Sarah shot him a panicked glance, and Tina kicked him under the table.
“What Joe was trying to say was, we’re glad you could join us,” Tina added.
Larry smiled and everyone clinked glasses. “Thank you,” he said after a sip of white wine, “it’s good to be here. As for lionesses,” he wiped his lips on his napkin, “I enjoy wildlife.”
Joe snorted before he could help himself. “You’ll get one.”
Sarah gave him a look of disgust that Larry saw. He looked between them, clearly wondering what was going on. Sarah distracted him by asking for him to pass the salt.
The song Bungle in the Jungle popped into Joe’s head.
“Larry, do you like Jethro Tull?”
“Oh Joe, don’t bring up that ancient music. Larry’s from this century.” Tina smiled some sugar at Larry, who gave a tentative smile in response and took a big sip of wine.
“Larry and I are going to see Nicki Minaj with his little brother Chuck next week.”
It was Joe’s turn to say, “Who?”
The women at the table rolled their eyes at him, and Larry shook his head. “Chuck’s friends with the sound engineer at the Emporium. We’re getting in free. Rap is not necessarily my favorite, but it’s okay. Most of the kids at my school listen to it, so I’ve gotten to at least recognize some of the groups.”
“Your school? Are you a teacher?” Tina asked.
Larry finished what he was chewing and swallowed before answering. That earned him some points at the table.
“I teach biology to 9th graders.”
“That ought to be a challenge,” Joe said.
“They’re good kids mostly. Just a little wound up. Weren’t you at that age?”
It was Joe’s turn to sip. He glanced over the rim of his wine to see both Sarah and Tina giving him the hairy eye.
“Oh sure. I was a little monster.” Joe said.
Tina shook her head and gave some attention to her plate, and Sarah looked daggers at him.