Literary Terms

  1. Alliteration
    the repetition of the initial consonant sound
  2. Allusion
    a bief reference assumed to be known by the audience
  3. Ambiguity
    multiple meanings
  4. Anadiplosis
    last word of first sentence is the first word of the following sentence
  5. Analogy
    a comparison where the complex is explained in terms of the simple
  6. Anaphora
    repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of succesive sentences
  7. Anecdote
    a short, personal account of some happening
  8. Antecedent
    word referred to by a pronoun
  9. Anticlimax
    a sudden drop after a build up
  10. Antithesis
    opposing ideas are presented in parallel structure
  11. Aphorism
    a short statement that expresses a general truth or a moral principle
  12. Apostrophe
    directly addressing an absent or personified object
  13. Asyndeton
    no conjunctions
  14. Chiasmus
    verbal crisscrossing
  15. Clause
    a grammatical unit that contains a subject and a verb
  16. Cliche
    an overused expression
  17. Colloquialism
    informal speech
  18. Connotation
    implied, suggested meaning
  19. Damning with Faint Praise
    a positive statement with a negative implication
  20. Deductive Reasoning
    forming a conclusion
  21. Denotation
    dictionary meaning
  22. Diction
    word choice
  23. Didactic
    inclined to instruct
  24. Digression
    temporarily sidetracking
  25. Ellipsis
    indicates something has been left out
  26. Euphemism
    sugar coating
  27. Extended Metaphor
    metaphor of great length
  28. Figurative Language
    writing that is not literal
  29. Genre
    category or type
  30. Hyperbole
    over exaggeration
  31. Imagery
    • sensory details
    • visual: sight
    • auditory: sound
    • tactile: touch
    • olfactory: smell
    • gustatory: taste
  32. Inductive Reasoning
    Start with a conclusion
  33. Inference
    a reasonable conclusion
  34. Invective
    verbal attack
  35. Inverted Syntax
    reversing the normal word order
  36. Irony
    • a contrast between what is stated and what it really means
    • verbal: words literally state the opposite meaning
    • situational: events turn out the opposite of what's expected
    • dramatic: audience knows more than character
  37. Litotes
    affirmative is expressed by negating the contrary
  38. Loose Sentence
    main idea is at the beginning
  39. Malapropism
    hummorous misuse of a word
  40. Metaphor
    two things are compared without using like or as
  41. Metonymy
    object is substituted for something closely associated
  42. Mixed Metaphor
    metaphor that doesn't work
  43. Mood
  44. Non Sequitur
    a statement that does not follow logically from what preceded it
  45. Onomatopoeia
    words that imitate sounds
  46. Oxymoron
    contradictory terms are combined
  47. Paradox
    seems self-contradictory, but actually makes sense
  48. Parallel Structure
    using the same pattern
  49. Parody
    imitation of characteristic style of another work in humor or satire
  50. Pedantic
  51. Personification
    Giving an inanimate object human characteristics
  52. Periodic Sentence
    main idea is at the end
  53. Persuasive Appeals
    • techniques used for the purpose of getting others to accept a position on a topic
    • logos: appeal to logic
    • pathos: emotional appeal
    • ethos: appeal of one's character
  54. Point of View
    the way in which something is viewed
  55. Polysyndeton
    repetition of conjunctions
  56. Red Herring
    a distraction
  57. Rhetoric
    art of using words effectively and eloquently
  58. Rhetorical Question
    used to emphasize a point
  59. Sarcasm
    bitter, caustic language that is meant to hurt or ridicule
  60. Satire
    literary work that ridicules other works
  61. Simile
    comparison using like or as
  62. Symbol
    something that stands for another thing
  63. Synecdoche
    a part of something is used to represent the whole
  64. Syntax
    the arrangement of words in a sentence
  65. Theme
    central idea or message
  66. Thesis Statement
    sentence that expresses the author's opinion
  67. Tone
    the author's attitude toward his or her material
  68. Transition
    a word or phrase that links different ideas
  69. Understatement
    representing something as much less than it is
  70. Wit
    intellectually amusing language
Card Set
Literary Terms
AP Lang