Litterary Terms and Glossary for AP Language and Composition

  1. Active Voice
    The subject of the sentence performs the action. Anthony drove while Toni searched for the house
  2. Allusion
    An indirect reference to something the reader is supposed to be familiar.
  3. Alter-ego
    A character that is used by the author to speak the author’s own thoughts. (Do not confuse with persona)
  4. Anecdote
    A brief recounting of a relevant episode
  5. Antecedent
    The word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun. An AP question might read: "What is the antecedent for "it"?
  6. Classicism
    Art or literature characterized by a realistic view of people and the world
  7. Comic relief
    when a humorous scene is inserted into a serious story, in order to lighten the mood somewhat. The “gatekeeper scene” in Macbeth is an example of comic relief.
  8. Diction
    Word choice
  9. Colloquial
    Ordinary or familiar type of conversation
  10. Connotation
    Implied meaning of a word
  11. Denotation
    The literalmeaning of a word
  12. Jargon
    The diction used by a group which practices a similar profession (Chem talk)
  13. Vernacular
    • 1. Language or dialect of a particular country.
    • 2. Language or dialect of a regional clan or group.
    • 3. Plain everyday speech
  14. Didactic
    A term used to describe litterature that teaches a specific lesson or moral or provides a model of correct behavior or thinking.
  15. Adage
    A folk saying with a lesson. “A rolling stone gathers no moss.”
  16. Allegory
    A story in which characters, things, and events represent qualities or concepts. Animal Farm, by George Orwell, is an allegory.
  17. Aphorism
    A terse statement which expresses a general truth or moral principle “God helps them that help themselves,” and “A watched pot never boils.”
  18. Ellipsis
    • The deliberate omission of a word or phrase from prose done for effect by the author. “The whole
    • day, rain, torrents of rain.” The term ellipsis is related to ellipse, which is the three periods used to show
    • omitted text in a quotation.
  19. Euphemism
    A more agreeable or less offensive substitute for generally unpleasant words or concepts.“Physically challenged,” in place of “crippled.”
  20. Figurative Language
    writing that is not meant to be taken literally.
  21. Analogy
    • a comparison of one pair of variables to a parallel set of variables“America is to the world as the
    • hippo is to the jungle.”
  22. Hyperbole
    Exaggeration. “My mother will kill me if I am late.”
  23. Idiom
    A common, often used expression that doesn’t make sense if you take it literally. “I got chewed out by my coach.”
  24. Metaphor
    Making an implied comparison, not using “like,” as,” or other such words. “My feet are popsicles.”
  25. Metonymy
    Replacing an actual word or idea, with a related word or concept. “Relations between London and Washington have been strained,”
  26. Synecdoche
    A kind of metonymy when a whole is represented by naming one of its parts, or vice versa. “The cattle rancher owned 500 head.” “Check out my new wheels.”
  27. Simile
    Using words such as “like” or “as” to make a direct comparison between two very different things. “My feet are so cold they feel like popsicles.”
  28. Synesthesia
    a description involving a crossing of the senses “A purplish scent filled the room.”
  29. Personification
    Giving human-like qualities to something that is not human. “The tired old truck groaned as it inched up the hill.”
  30. Foreshadowing
    When an author gives hints about what will occur later in a story.
  31. Genre
    The major category into which a literary work fits.
  32. Gothic
    Writing characterized by gloom, mystery, fear and/or death.
  33. Imagery
    Word or words that create a picture in the reader's mind.
  34. Invective
    A long, emotionally violent, attack using strong, abusive language.
  35. Irony
    When the opposite of what you expect to happen does.
  36. Verbal irony
    When you say something and mean the opposite
  37. Dramatic irony
    When the audience of a drama, play, movie, etc. knows something that the character doesn't
  38. Situational irony
    Found in the plot of a book, story, or movie. Sometimes it makes you laugh because it's funny how things turn out. (For example, Johnny spent two hours planning on sneaking into the movie theater and missed the movie. or when he finally did manage to sneak inside he found out that kids were admitted free that day).
  39. Juxtaposition
    Placing things side by side for the purposes of comparison.
  40. Mood
    The atmosphere created by the literature
  41. Motif
    a recurring idea in a piece of literature.
  42. Oxymoron
    When apparently contradictory terms are grouped together (stupid smart person)
  43. Pacing
    The speed or tempo of an author’s writing
  44. Paradox
    A seemingly contradictory situation which is actually true.“You can't get a job without experience, and you can't get experience without getting a job.”
  45. Parallelism
    Sentence construction which places equal grammatical constructions near each other, or repeats identical grammatical patterns
  46. Anaphora
    Repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences or clauses in a row.“I came, I saw, I conquered.”
  47. Chiasmus
    When the same words are used twice in succession, but the second time, the order of the words is reversed. “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
  48. Antithesis
    Two opposite or contrasting words, phrases, or clauses, or even ideas, with parallel structure. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”
  49. Syllepsis
    When a single word governs or modifies two or more other words,“The butler killed the lights, and then the mistress.”
  50. Parenthetical Idea
    Parentheses are used to set off an idea from the rest of the sentence.
  51. Parody
    An exaggerated imitation of a serious work for humorous purposes.
  52. Persona
    A fictional mask that tells the story or narrator
  53. Poetic device
    A device used in poetry to manipulate the sound of words, sentences or lines.
  54. Alliteration
    The repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of words. Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore
  55. Assonance
    • The repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds.
    • From the molten-golden notes
  56. Consonance
    • The repetition of the same consonant sound at the end of words or within words.
    • Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door
  57. Onomatopoeia
    • The use of a word which imitates or suggests the sound that the thing makes.
    • Snap, rustle, boom, murmur
  58. Internal rhyme
    • When a line of poetry contains a rhyme within a single line.
    • To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!
  59. Slant rhyme
    • When a poet creates a rhyme, but the two words do not rhyme exactly . they are merely similar.
    • I sat upon a stone, / And found my life has gone.
  60. End rhyme
    • When the last word of two different lines of poetry rhyme.
    • Roses are red, violets are blue, / Sugar is sweet, and so are you.
  61. Rhyme Scheme
    • The pattern of a poem
    • a b a b c d c d:
  62. Stressed and unstressed syllables
    In every word of more than one syllable, one of the syllables is stressed, or said with more force than the other syllable(s). unhappiness
  63. Meter
    A regular pattern to the syllables in lines of poetry.
  64. Free verse
    Poetry that doesnt have much meter or rhyme.
  65. Iambic pentameter
    • Poetry that is written in lines of 10 syllables, alternating stressed and unstressed syllables.
    • Shall I compare thee to a summer.s day?
  66. Sonnet
    A 14 line poem written in iambic pentameter. Usually divided into three quatrains and a couplet.
  67. Polysyndeton
    • When a writer creates a list of items which are all separated by conjunctions
    • “I walked the dog, and fed the cat, and milked the cows.”
  68. Pun
    When a word that has two or more meanings is used in a humorous way. “My dog has a fur coat and pants!”
  69. Rhetoric
    The art of effective communication.
  70. Aristotle’s Rhetorical Triangle
    The relationships, in any piece of writing, between the writer, the audience, and the subject.
  71. Rhetorical Question
    Question not asked for information but for effect.
  72. Romanticism
    Art or literature characterized by an idealistic, unrealistic view of people and the world, and an emphasis on nature.
  73. Sarcasm
    A generally bitter comment that is ironically or satirically worded.
  74. Satire
    A work that reveals a critical attitude toward some element of life to a humorous effect.
  75. Sentence
    a group of words that expresses a complete thought.
  76. Appositive
    A word or group of words placed beside a noun or noun substitute to supplement its meaning (Bob, the lumber yard worker, spoke with Judy, an accountant from the city
  77. Clause
    A grammatical unit that contains both a subject and a verb.
  78. Balanced sentence
    A sentence in which two parallel elements are set off against each other like equal weights on a scale.
  79. Compound sentence
    Contains at least two independent clauses but no dependent clauses.
  80. Complex sentence
    Contains only one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.
  81. Cumulative sentence
    When the writer begins with an independent clause, then adds subordinate elements.
  82. Periodic sentence
    When the main idea is not completed until the end of the sentence.
  83. Simple sentence
    Contains only one independent clause.
  84. Declarative sentence
    States an idea
  85. Imperative sentence
    Issues a command
  86. Interrogative sentence
    Sentences incorporating interrogative pronouns (what, which, who, whom, and whose
  87. Style
    The choices in diction, tone, and syntax that a writer makes
  88. Symbol
    Anything that represents or stands for something else.
  89. Syntax
    Grammatical arrangement of words
  90. Theme
    The central idea or message of a work
  91. Thesis
    The sentence or groups of sentences that directly expresses the author's opinion
  92. Tone
    A writer's attitude toward his subject
  93. Litotes
    a particular form of understatement, generated by denying the opposite of the statement which otherwise would be used.
  94. Argument
    a piece of reasoning with one or more premises and a conclusion
  95. Conclusion
    the end result of the argument
  96. Aristotle's appeals
    Pursuading the audiance using ethos, logos, and pathos.
  97. Ethos
  98. Pathos
  99. Logos
  100. Concession
    Accepting at least part or all of an opposing viewpoint
  101. Conditional Statement
    an if-then statement
  102. Contradiction
    both cannot be true, one of them must be false.
  103. Counterexample
    an example that runs opposes a generalization
  104. Deductive argument
    An argument in which it is thought that the premises provide a guarantee of the truth of the conclusion.
  105. Fallacy
    A fallacy is an attractive but unreliable piece of reasoning
  106. Ad hominem
    Latin for "against the man
  107. Appeal to the bandwagon
    everyons else is doing it
  108. Straw man
    mischaracterizes his opponent's view, and then defeats the mischaracterized argument
  109. Bad analogy
    Claiming that two situations are highly similar, when they aren't
  110. Cliche thinking
    Using as evidence a well-known saying, as if it is proven, or as if it has no exceptions.
  111. False cause
    Assuming that because two things happened, the first one caused the second one.
  112. Hasty generalization
    A generalization based on too little or unrepresentative data.
  113. Non Sequitur
    A conclusion that does not follow from its premises; an invalid argument.
  114. Slippery slope
    The assumption that once started, a situation will continue to its most extreme possible outcome.
  115. Inductive argument
    An argument in which it is thought that the premises provide reasons supporting the probable truth of the conclusion.
  116. Sound argument
    • 1.the line of reasoning from the premises to the conclusion is valid
    • 2.that the premises are true.
  117. Unstated premises
    Not every argument is fully expressed
  118. Valid argument
    the conclusion logically follows from the premises.
Card Set
Litterary Terms and Glossary for AP Language and Composition
Glossary of Terms for AP Test