literary terms

  1. imagery
    the sensory detials or figurative language used to describe, arouse emotion, or represent abstractions. on a physical level, imagery uses terms related to the five senses: visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, and olfactory.
  2. figurative language
    writing or speech that is not intended to carry literal meaning and is usually meant to be vivid and imaginative.
  3. personification
    a figure of speech in which the author presents or describes concepts, animals, or inaminate objects by endowing them with human attirbutes or emotions.
  4. allusion
    a direct or indirect reference tos omething which is presumably commonly known, such as an even, a book, myth, place, or work of art. allusions can be historical, literary, religious, topical, or mythical.
  5. simile
    an indirect comparison that uses like or as to link the differing items in the comparison. (your eyes are like the stars.)
  6. metonymy
    a term from the greek meaning "changed label" or "substitute name" metonymy s a figure of speech in which the name of one object is substituted for that of another closely associated with it. for example, a news release that claims "the White House declared" rather than "the Preseident declared" is using a metonymy.
  7. asyndeton
    a lack of conjunctions between coordinate phrases, clauses, or words. "they dove, splashed, floated, splashed, swam, snorted."
  8. paradox
    a statement that appears tp be self-contradictory or opposedto common sens, but upon closer inspection conatains some degree of thruth or validity.
  9. polysyndeton
    the repetition of conjunctions in a series of coordinate words, phrases, or clauses. "we lived and laughed and loved and left."
  10. dashes
    a mark of puncutation (-) used to set off a word or phrase after an independent clause or to set off words, phrases, or clauses that interrupt a sentence.
  11. epithet
    using an appropriate adjective to caracterize a person or thing. (can include racist terms)
  12. onomatopoeia
    a figure of speech on which natural sounds are imitated in the sounds of words. simple examples include such words as buzz, hiss, hum, crack, whinny, murmur.
  13. euphemism
    from the greek for "good speech" euphemisms are a more agreeable or less offensive substitute for a generally unpleasant word or concept.
  14. cariature
    a verbal description the purpose of which is to exaggerate or distort for comic effect a person's distinctive physical features or other characteristics
  15. metaphor
    a direct comparison between dissimilar things. "your eyes are stars"
  16. zeugma
    use of a word to modify or govern two or more words although its use may be grammatically or logically correct with only one. "you held your breath and the door for me"
  17. hyperbole
    a figure of speech using deliberate exaggeration or overstatement
  18. analogy
    a similarity or comparison between two different things or the relationship between them. an analogy can explain something unfamiliar by associating it with or pointing out its similarity to something more familiar
  19. atmosphere
    the emotional nod created by the entirety of a literary work, established partly by the setting and partly by the author's choice of objects that are described. even such elements as a description of the weather can contribute to the atmosphere. frequently atmosphere foreshadows events
  20. colloquialism
    the use of slang or informalities in speech or writing. not generally acceptable for formal writing, colloquialisms give a work a conversational, familiar tone colloquial expressions in writing include local or regional dialects
  21. symbol
    general anything that represents itself and stands for something else. usually a symbol is something concrete such as an object action character or scene that represents something more abstract
  22. theme
    the central idea or message of a work or the insight it offers into life
  23. tone
    similar to mood, tone describes the author's attitude toward his material the audience or both
  24. italics
    a style of typeface in which letters are slanted to the right. "talking to the moon:) this is printed in italics"
  25. irony
    • the contrast between what is stated explicity and what is really meant, or the difference between what appears to be and what is actually true. in general there are three major types of irony used in language:
    • 1. verbal irony: when the words literally state the opposite of the writer's( or speaker's) meaning
    • 2. situational irony: when events turn out the opposite of what was expected; when what the characters and readers think ought to happen is not what does happen
    • 3. dramatic irony: when facts or events are unknown to a character in a play or piece of fiction but known to the reader, audience, or other characters in the work.
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literary terms