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Poetry terms

Key poetry language features and their definitions GCSE English Ormerod

Alliteration the first letter of a word is repeated in words that follow; the cold, crisp, crust of clean, clear ice.
Assonance the same vowel sound is repeated but the consonants are different; he passed her a sharp, dark glance, shot a cool, foolish look across the room.
Colloquial language that is used in speech with an informal meaning; 'chill', 'out of this world', 'take a rain check'.
Dialect the version of language spoken by particular people in a particular area, such as Scots.
Dialogue conversation between two people; sometimes an imagined conversation between the narrator and the reader.
Dissonance a discordant combinations of sounds; the clash, spew and slow pang of grinding waves against the quay.
Enjambment a device used in poetry where a sentence continues beyond the end of the line or verse. This technique is often used to maintain a sense of continuation from one stanza to another.
Hyperbole exaggerating something for literary purposes which is not meant to be taken literally; we gorged on the banquet of beans on toast.
Imagery similes, metaphors and personification; they all compare something 'real' with something 'imagined'.
Irony the humorous or sarcastic use of words or ideas, implying the opposite of what they mean.
Metaphor a word or phrase used to imply figurative, not literal or 'actual', resemblance; he flew into the room. Making a comparison without using 'like' or 'as'.
Onomatopoeia a word that sounds like the noise it is describing: 'splash', 'bang', 'pop', 'hiss'.
Oxymoron where two words normally not associated are brought together: 'cold heat' 'bitter sweet'.
Pathetic fallacy attributing human emotions or characteristics to inanimate objects or to nature; for example, angry clouds; a cruel wind.
Pathos language that evokes feelings of pity or sorrow.
Personification attributing a human quality to a thing or idea: the moon calls me to her darkened world.
Repetition the repetition of a word or phrase to achieve a particular effect.
Rhyme the way that words sound the same at the end of lines in poetry. Poems often have a fixed rhyme-scheme.
Rhythm a repetitive beat or metre within a poem.
Simile a phrase which establishes similarity between two things to emphasise the point being made. This usually involves the words 'like' or 'as'; 'he is as quick as an arrow in flight', 'as white as snow', 'like a burning star'.
Symbolism often objects, colours, sounds and places work as symbols. give us a good insight into the themes e.g. snakes are often symbols of temptation as in the story of Adam and Eve and white usually symbolises innocence
Tone the writer's tone or voice or atmosphere or feeling that pervades the text, such as sadness, gloom, celebration, joy, anxiety, dissatisfaction, regret or anger.
Register this is the common thread in an author's choice of language.
Anaphora repetition of a word or expression at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, sentences, or verses
Caesura a break, usually in the middle, of a line of poetry
End stopped line full stops at the end of lines that create short, clipped sentences.
Created by: masih-gillg



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