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English I Lit Terms

Learn terms, and then learn to apply the terms correctly based on their meanings

Literary TermDefinition
Allegory The representation of ideas or moral principles by means of symbolic characters, events, or objects
Alliteration The repetition of a beginning consonant sound to create rhythm and aid memory
Allusion A brief reference to a historical or literary person, place, object, or event
Analogy The comparison of two similar things so as to suggest that if they are alike in some respects, they are probably alike in other ways as well
Anecdote A short narrative that tells the particulars of an interesting and/or humorous event
Antagonist A person or thing that opposes the protagonist of a story
Apostrophe A figure of speech where someone (usually absent or dead), an object, some abstract quality, or a nonexistent person is directly addressed as though present and real
Cliché A word or phrase that is so overused that it is no longer effective in most writing situations
Coherence The parts of a composition should be arranged in a logical and orderly manner so that the meaning and ideas are clear and intelligible.
Connotation The emotions and feelings that surround a word; they may be negative, neutral or positive,depending on their context.
Context The environment of a word, the words that surround a particular word and help to determine or deepen its meaning.
Denotation The literal or basic meaning of a word (the dictionary definition)
Diction The writer's choice of words based on their clarity and effectiveness
Euphemism When you replace one word or phrase for another in order to avoid being offensive
Flashback Insertion of a scene or event that took place in the past, for the purpose of making something in the present more clear
Foil The term is applied to any person who through contrast underscores the distinctive characteristics of another
Foreshadowing The suggestion or hint of events to come later in a literary work
Hyperbole A type of figurative language that makes an overstatement for the purpose of emphasis
Imagery The use of descriptive words or phrases to create vivid mental pictures in the minds of the reader,often appealing to sight, sound, taste,or smell
Irony The contrast between what is expected and what actually happens
Metaphor A type of figurative language that makes a comparison but does not use“like”or “as”
Direct Metaphor When the writer directly states both of the things being compared
Indirect Metaphor When the writer states one of the things and the reader must infer the other
Metonymy The substitution of an object closely associated with a word for the word itself
Mood The feeling a piece of literature arouses in the reader
Motif Recurring ideas, images, and actions that tend to unify a work
Onomatopoeia A type of figurative language in which words sound like the things they name
Oxymoron A self-contradictory combination of words (usually paired)
Parody When a writer imitates an already existing form for the purpose of humor
Personification A type of figurative language that gives animate(living) characteristics to inanimate(nonliving) things
Protagonist The main character in a work; the action revolves around this person and the antagonist, or opposing force
Pun A word or phrase which has a "double meaning" as intended by the writer; often these words sound the same (or nearly the same) but have different meanings
Repetition Repeating a word or group of words for emphasis or effect
Rhetorical question A question asked only for effect or to make a statement, but not to get an answer
Satire A type of writing that uses humor, irony,or wit to make a point
Simile A comparison using "like"or "as"
Style This refers to how the author writes (form) rather than what he/she writes (content)
Symbolism A symbol is something that stands for something larger than itself
Synecdoche When a part represents the whole or when the whole represents the part
Theme A statement of the central idea of a piece of writing
Tone The attitude of the author toward his/her subject and audience
Created by: Marleystutz



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