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PSSA Review

Literary terms from the 8th grade PSSA

TermDefinition
affix word parts added to words to change their meanings
root base word part with a simple meaning
prefix affix added at the beginning of a root
suffix affix added to the end of a root
main idea main point of a nonfiction text
theme the main point that the reader takes away from a literary work
cause and effect a text structure in which the writer presents an event or condition that causes things to happen
compare/contrast a text structure in which the writer discusses the similarities and/or differences of two or more things
question and answer a text structure in which the writer asks questions about the topic & answers them
sequential order a text structure in which the writer lists events in the order they occurred
classification a text structure in which the writer groups similar things into categories
spatial order a text structure in which the writer puts things in order based on location
order of importance a text structure in which the writer lists facts & details starting with most important
induction a text structure in which the writer begins with specific ideas leading to a general idea
deduction a text structure in which the writer starts with a general idea and becomes more specific
infer to make an educated guess using available evidence
generalizations a broad statement about a topic that can be applied to more than one situation
author's purpose the author’s reason for writing a text
fact a statement that is true and can be checked for accuracy
opinion a personally held belief or judgment
bandwagon effect persuades by suggesting that “everyone else is doing it”
name calling makes unsupported accusations
stereotyping uses commonly held but oversimplified images of groups
snobbery suggests people can be better than others by acting or thinking a certain way
ordinary folks connects the author with simple values and down-to-earth people
glittering generalities words that sound patriotic, attractive, or catchy but don’t mean anything
scientific claim uses high-tech or scientific claims without providing evidence
testimonial tells you to base your decision on someone else’s opinion
scare tactics describes possible negative effects that make people act out of fear
guilt by association implies that friends or relatives of those who fail or do wrong must also be bad
alliteration the repetition of initial consonant sounds
allusion a reference in literature to a familiar person, place, or event
antonym a word that is the opposite of another word
autobiography the story of a person's life written by him or herself
bias a judgment based on a personal point of view
biography the story of a person's life written by someone else
characterization the method an author uses to reveal characters' personalities
climax the turning point in a story; the moment when the conflict is most intense
conflict a struggle between two opposing forces
dialogue conversation between people in a literary work
expository text with the purpose of informing
first person a point of view where the main character tells the story; uses "I" and "me"
foreshadowing dropping hints about what is to come
free verse poetry with without rhyme or meter; sounds like everyday speech
hyperbole an exaggeration or overstatement
imagery language that paints a picture and appeals to the five senses
irony verbal sarcasm OR when the unexpected happens
metaphor a comparison between two unlike objects without using "like" or "as"
meter the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem
mood the emotion of a work
narrative writing that tells a story
omniscient an all-knowing narrator
onomatopoeia a word that imitates sound
personification assigning human qualities to nonhuman things
plot the action and structure of a story
rhythm the beat of a poem
rising action the part of a story when the tensions are rising
exposition the part of a story that introduces characters, setting, and conflict
falling action the part of a story when the tensions are easing
resolution the end of a story when a conflict is resolved
setting the time and place where a story occurs
simile comparing two like things by using a word of comparison
symbol one thing that stands for another
synonym two words that have similar meanings
third person a point of view from an outsider's perspective
tone the attitude an author takes toward his/her audience and characters
Created by: jkramm