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50 Lit terms

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Rhetoric The art or study of using language effectively and persuasively
Understatement Irony which deliberately represents something as much less than it really is (opposite of hyperbole) Overstatement – making to seem more important than it really is
Extended Metaphor A comparison between two things that is carried through a stanza or entire poem, often by multiple comparisons of unlike objects or ideas
Simile Figure of speech in which an explicit comparison is made between two things essentially unlike using words: like, as, than…
Allusion Reference to something in history or literature
Anecdote Short account of an incident
Qualify To describe by specifying the characteristics or qualities of; characterize
Onomatopoeia Words that sound like what it is describing
Antithesis Direct contrast; opposition
Personification To assign human characteristics to inanimate objects or abstract ideas
Alliteration Beginning several words with the same sound. Alliterative – having the same consonant at the beginning of each stressed syllable
Paradox A statement which contradicts itself but is in fact true
Modes of Discourse The four traditional modes of discourse are narration, description, exposition, and argument.
Mode: Narration It involves relating a series of events, usually in a chronological order. It usually reserves the title "story" for fiction.
Mode: Description Tells what things are like according to the five senses.
Mode: Exposition Is the kind of writing that is used to inform.
Mode: Argument The purpose of argument is to convince through logic.
Analogy Similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar
Parallelism The use of identical or equivalent syntactic constructions in corresponding clauses or phrases
Parallel Structure Using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance
Allegory The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form
Apostrophe Address to an absent or imaginary person or object
Subordinate/Dependent Clause A clause that cannot stand alone as a full sentence and functions as a noun, adjective, or adverb within a sentence
Syllogism A form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion
Metonymy A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated, as in the use of Washington for the United States government or of the sword for military power.
Appeal to Authority By using an authority, the argument is relying upon testimony, not facts. A testimony is not an argument, and it is not a fact.
Declarative Sentence A sentence in the indicative mood that makes a pronouncement
Sentence type: Simple Simple: a sentence having no coordinate or subordinate clauses, as The cat purred.
Sentence type: Complex Complex: a sentence composed of at least one main clause and one subordinate clause.
Sentence type: Compound Compound: a sentence of two or more coordinate independent clauses, often joined by a conjunction or conjunctions, as The problem was difficult, but I finally found the answer.
Sentence type: Compound-Complex Compound-complex : a sentence consisting of at least two coordinate independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.
Elegy A poem or song composed especially as a lament for a deceased person
Periodic Sentence A sentence in which the main clause or its predicate is withheld until the end; for example, Despite heavy winds and nearly impenetrable ground fog, the plane landed safely.
Euphemism The act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt, or offensive
Passive Voice A verb, or form of a verb, which expresses the effect of the action by the agent. The picture is admired by all.
Antecedent The word, phrase, or clause that determines what a pronoun refers to, as the children in, The teacher asked the children where they were going.
Oxymoron A rhetorical figure in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined, as in a deafening silence and a mournful optimist.
Ambiguity Doubtfulness or uncertainty as regards interpretation
Ellipses Omission of a word or phrase necessary for a complete syntactical construction but not necessary for understanding. A mark or series of marks (... or * * *, for example) used in writing or printing to indicate an omission, especially of letters or words
Prepositional Phrase A phrase that consists of a preposition and its object and has adjectival or adverbial value, such as in the house in the people in the house or by him in The book was written by him.
Satire A phrase that consists of a preposition and its object and has adjectival or adverbial value, such as in the house in the people in the house or by him in The book was written by him.
Colloquial Pertaining to words or expressions more suitable for speech than writing; in informal, conversational style
Litotes A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite, as in This is no small problem.
Straw Man An argument (usually weak) or opponent set up so as to be easily refuted or defeated
Synechdoche A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole
Denotation Most specific or direct meaning of a word, in contrast to its figurative or associated meanings
Inversion An interchange of position of adjacent objects in a sequence, especially a change in normal word order, such as the placement of a verb before its subject
Ad Hominem Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason: Debaters should avoid ad hominem arguments that question their opponents' motives.
Ad Hoc Used for the particular end or case at hand without consideration of wider application (done by specialists…dentists…)
Pronoun A function word that is used in place of a noun or noun phrase
Parody A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule
Participial Phrase Includes the participle and the object of the participle or any words modified by or related to the participle. The car sliding out of control toward the building is going to hit the window. SLIDING modifies CAR. The verb is IS GOING.
Hyperbole A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton
Didactic Intended to instruct; morally instructive
Circular Reasoning A use of reason in which the premises depends on or is equivalent to the conclusion, a method of false logic by which "this is used to prove that, and that is used to prove this"; also called circular logic
Begging the Question To assume an answer to an unstated question or premise
Juxtaposition The state of being placed or situated side by side
Created by: dottysine