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2009-10

AP Rhetorical Devices and Strategies

QuestionAnswer
A concept or value that cannot be seen which the writer usually tries to illustrate by comparing it metaphorically to a known, concrete object Abstraction
The subject of the sentence performs the action. This is a more direct nd preferred style of writing in most cases, but not all. (ex. The boy grabbed his books and went to school.) Active voice
Attacking another person's argument by attacking the person rather than the issue Ad Hominem Argument
Words that describe nouns Adjectives
A story or description that has a second meaning. This is portrayed by creating charatcers, settings and/or events which represent abstract ideas such as hope, freedom, evil, etc. Allegory
The repetition of initial identical consonant sounds. Or, vowel sounds in successive words or syllables that repeat Alliteration
An indirect reference to something (usually a literary text, although it can be other things commonly known such as plays, movies, t.v. shows) with which the readers is supposed to be familiar. Allusion
An event or situation that may be interpreted in more than one way. Also, the manner of expression of such an event or situation may be ambiguous. Artful language may be ambiguous. Unintentional ambiguity is usually vagueness. Ambiguity
An analogy is a comparison to a directly parallel case. When a writer uses an analogy, he or she argues that a claim reasonable for one case is reasonable for the analogous case. Analogy
Word order. Syntax
The use of symbols or anything that is meant to be taken both literally and as representative of a higher and more complex significance. Symbolism
A fictional voice that a writer adopts to tell a story, determined by subject matter and audience. Persona
A figure of speech that uses the name of an object, person, or idea to represent something with which it is associated, such as using “the crown” to refer to a monarch. Metonymy
Main theme or subject of a work that is elaborated on in the development of the piece; a repeated pattern or idea Motif
The excessive pride or ambition that leads a tragic hero to disregard warnings of impending doom, eventually causing his or her downfall. Hubris
Reversing the normal subject - verb - complement order Inverted Sentence
A literary technique in which the author gives hints about future events. Foreshadowing
A verbally abusive attack. Invective
A type of literary work, such as a novel or poem; there are also subgenres, such as science fiction novel or sonnet, within the larger genres. Genre
Indicated by a series of three periods, the ellipsis indicates that some material has been omitted from a given text. It could be a word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, or a whole section. Ellipsis
A brief tale used in medieval times to illustrate a sermon or teach a lesson. Exemplum
An appeal to emotions. Pathos
A sentence that is not grammatically complete until its last phrase, such as, “Despite Glen’s hatred of his sister’s laziness, he still cared for her.” Periodic Sentence
A juxtaposition of two unlike things to create ambiguity through contradiction. Oxymoron
Used by the writer to whisper a witty aside to the reader. Parenthesis
An event, object, custom, person, or thing that is out of order in time. Anachronism
The word for which the pronoun stands. Antecedent
Broad parody; whereas a parody will imitate and exaggerate a specific work, such as Romeo and Juliet, a burlesque will take an entire style or form, such as myths, and exaggerate it to ridiculousness. Burlesque
An error in logical thinking that involves repeating the assertion endlessly without support. Circular Reasoning
Descriptive writing that greatly exaggerates a specific feature of a person’s appearance or facet of personality. Caricature
A form of logical thinking to analyze when one is asked to evaluate the persuasive devices used by the author. General statements believed to be true are applied to specific situations - the result is a conclusion about a specific situation. Deductive Reasoning
A riddle whose answer is or involves a pun; it may also be a paradox or a difficult problem. Conundrum
The picturing in words of something or someone through detailed observation of color, motion, sound, taste, smell, and touch; one of the four modes of discourse. Description
A type of writing that is preachy or bossy. Didactic
A brief, clever, and usually memorable statement. Epigram
Word choice used by the author to persuade or convey tone, purpose, or effect. Diction
A direct comparison in which an unknown item is understood by directly comparing it to a known item. Metaphor
The use of words that sound like what they mean, such as hiss or boom. Onomatopoeia
One story in a system of narratives set in a complete imaginary world that once served to explain the origin of life, religious beliefs, and the forces of nature as supernatural forces. Myth
A short tale that teaches a moral; similar to but shorter than an allegory. Parable
The “personality” of a piece of writing. Voice
The main idea of a piece of writing. It present the author’s assertion or claim. Thesis
A word or phrase that links one idea to the next and carries the reader from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph. Transition
The time and location of the story. May be used to create conflict, atmosphere, mood, or character. Setting
A figure of speech in which part of something is used to represent the whole, such as using “boards” to mean a stage or “wheels” to mean a car. Synecdoche
The central idea or “message” of a literary work. Theme
Harsh, caustic, personal remarks to or about someone; less subtle than irony. Sarcasm
Exposition, description, narration, persuasion. Rhetorical Modes
A literary device in which a question is asked that actually requires no answer. Rhetorical Question
Mode of writing based on ridicule, that criticizes the foibles and follies of society and the human condition. Satire
Metaphorically represents an animal or inanimate object as having human attributes, attributes of form, character feeling, behavior, and so on. Personification
A mistake in reasoning. Logical fallacy
A sentence that is grammatically complete before its end, such as “Thalia played the violin with an intensity never before seen in a high school music class”; the sentence is grammatically complete after violin. Loose Sentence
Language that contains figures of speech, such as similes, metaphors, and personifications that make imaginative, rather than literal comparisons or associations. Figurative Language
The process that moves from a given series of specifics to a generalization. Induction
The immediate revelation to the audience of the setting and other background information necessary for the understanding of the plot’ also, explanation—one of the modes of discourse. Exposition
A sustained comparison, often referred to as a conceit. The extended metaphor is continued throughout a piece of writing. Extended Metaphor
A short descriptive narrative, usually a poem, about idealized country life—also called a pastoral. Idyll
Placing two items side by side to create a certain effect, reveal an attitude, or accomplish a purpose. Juxtaposition
A statement that seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd. (Thoreau: “I have never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”) Paradox
A work that ridicules the style of another work by imitating and exaggerating its elements. Parody
A conclusion one can draw from the presented details. Inference
A situation or statement in which the actual outcome or meaning is the opposite of what was expected. Irony
The principles and styles admired in the classics of Greek and Roman literature, such as objectivity, sensibility, restraint and formality. Classicism
Showing similarities and/or differences Comparison Contrast
Something said or done that provides a break from the seriousness of the story, poem, or play. (Think of the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet.) Comic Relief
Harsh, awkward, or dissonant sounds used deliberately in poetry or prose. The opposite of euphony Cacophony
A persuasive fallacy in which the writer assumes the reader will automatically accept an assertion without proper support. Begging the Question
Having clear connection among all the parts. This is achieved by using a clear organizational format and by providing appropriate connecting devices. Coherence
The use of a quotation at the beginning of a work or section of the work that hints at the theme. Epigraph
A device that enables a writer to refer to past thoughts, events, episodes. Flashback
A succession of harmonious sounds used in poetry or prose; the opposite of cacophony Euphony
The influence or result of something, using such rhetorical strategies as arguments, assumptions, attitudes, contrast, diction, imagery, pacing, or repetition. Effect
Plain everyday speech; the language or dialect of a particular country, clan, group, etc. Vernacular
A statement that says less than what it means. Opposite of hyperbole. Extreme use of subtlety. Understatement (litotes)
A personal presentation of events and characters, influenced by the author’s feelings and opinions. Subjectivity
An author’s characteristic manner of expression. Style
The characteristic emotion or attitude of an author toward the characters, subject and audience. Tone
Recurrent syntactical similarity. In this structural arrangement several parts of a sentence or several sentences are developed and phrased similarly to show that the ideas in their parts or sentences are equal in importance. Parallelism
A form of argumentation, one of the modes of discourse; language intended to convince through appeals to reason or emotion. Persuasion
A term used to describe writing that borders on lecturing. It is scholarly and academic and often overly difficult and distant. Pedantic
Harsh or grating words that do not go together. Dissonance
The repetition of identical consonant sounds before and after different vowel sounds, as in boost/best; it can also be seen within several compound words, such as fulfill or Ping-Pong. Consonance
A style of writing characterized by conciseness and brevity. Economy
Words that have implied meaning, emphasizing the feelings or subjectivity that surrounds the word. Connotative Language
An example of writing that says a lot with a few words. Conciseness
The process by which the writer reveals the personalities of the people of the work. Characterization
A brief, sometimes clever saying that expresses a principle, truth or observation about life. (Think Benjamin Franklin). Aphorism
The repetition of vowel sounds between different consonants, such as neigh/fade. Assonance
Explanatory notes added to a text to explain, cite sources, or give bibliographical data. Annotation
A literary device in which the speaker directly addresses someone dead, someone missing, an abstract quality, or something non- human as if she/he/it were present. Apostrophe
A figure of speech in which the author over exaggerates to accomplish some purpose such as humor. Hyperbole
A speech given by one character; also, soliloquy. Monologue
Similar to tone, mood is the primary emotional attitude of a work. Mood
The process of reasoning. Logic
The art of using language effectively; involves 1) the writer’s purpose 2) his or her consideration of the audience 3) the exploration of the subject 4) arrangement and organization of the ideas 5) style and tone of expression 6) form. Rhetoric
An indirect comparison using like or as. Simile
A device used by a writer to emphasize an important character trait, theme, create parallel structure, speaker's attitude, provide transition, maintain persistence, focus attention on a person, place, thing, or idea. Repetition
The force or person working against the protagonist. Antagonist
A categorical statement made by the author, speaker, narrator, or character which generalizes an opinion about human nature. Assertion
An inference or conclusion, possibly based on evidence. Assumption
Placing the events in the order of occurrence. Chronology
A situation in which all parts of the presentation are equal, whether in sentences or paragraphs or sections of a longer work. Balance
Repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row. This is a deliberate form of repetition and helps make the writer’s point more coherent. Anaphora
A statement in which direct opposites are contrasted in the same sentence. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Antithesis
Assertions made based on facts, statistics, logical or objective reasoning, hard evidence, etc. Arguments
The recreation of regional spoken language such as a Southern dialect. Dialect
Synonymous with coherence. Unity
Make your essays more varied by beginning each sentence with more than the subject first. Variety
The main character of a literary work. Protagonist
A series of events in a literary work. Plot
The method or form of a literary work; the manner in which a work of literature is written. Mode
The telling of a story of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or drama; one of the four modes of discourse. Narration
An impersonal presentation of events and characters. Objectivity
A juxtaposition that makes a surprising connection between two seemingly different things. Conceit
It is a written digression, a time in a novel, when the author steps outside the story, speaking directly to the reader. Authorial Aside
A brief story used in an essay to illustrate a point. Often humorous. Anecdote
Support for an argument that is based on recognized experts in the field. Authority
A dominant technique in which the author analyzes reasons for a chain of events. Cause Effect Relationships
Traditional stories, songs, dance, and customs that are preserved among a people; folklore usually precedes literature, being passed down orally from generation to generation until recorded by scholars. Folklore
Diction that appeals to the five senses Imagery
A play on words based upon the multiple meanings of words Pun
The perspective from which the story is presented including first person, stream of consciousness, omniscient, limited-omniscient, and objective. Point-of-View
The substitution of a mild or less negative word or phrase for a harsh or blunt one. Euphemism
Spoken or written language, including literary works; the four traditionally classified modes of discourse are description, exposition, narration, and persuasion. Discourse
The author's way of stepping outside the story to make an assertion. Editorializing
The movement of a literary piece from one point to another or one section to another. Pacing
A type of conflict in which both choices have some negative connotations. Dilemma
A model of excellence. Paragon
The tension created in the story by the struggle or outcome of the struggle, on of the narrative devices to address the tone of the passage. (Human vs. Human, Self, Nature, Society) Conflict
Those elements that help create coherence in a written piece. Connective Tissue
Ordinary or familiar type of conversation. Colloquial
Created by: bowewj on 2009-03-04



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