AP English Literary Terms

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absolute

to set free, absolve, having no restriction, exception, or qualification; regarded as independent of and unrealted to anything else; modifies the rest of the sentence, not the subject

ad hominem argument

against the man; a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.

ad populum appeal

appeal to the people

ad vericundiam appeal

testimony of an authority (like a celebrity) outside of his special field based upon his prestige - snob appeal

adage

a short but memorable saying that holds some important fact of experience that is considered true by many people

allegory

a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meaning that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance, and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas as charity, greed, or envy. Thus an allegory is a sotry with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.

alliteration

the reptition of a sound at the beginning of words

allusion

a reference to something outside the work

anadiplosis

double back; the reptition of a word or phrase that appears at the end of a sentence or clause at the beginning of the next sentence or clause.

anagnorisis

recognition

analogy

the compariosn of two pairs which have the same relationship hot is to cold as fire is to hot

anaphora

the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases or clauses

anastrophe

inversion of the natural word order. yoda speak.

anecdote

a short tale narrating an interesting or amusing biographical incident

anthimeria

the use of a member of one word class (part of speech) as if it were a member of another, thus altering its meaning. I.e. using a noun as a verb.

Antimetabole

reptition of words in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order.

antithesis

the rhetorical contrast of ideas by means of parallel arrangements of words, clauses, or sentences

aphorism

to define, expresses a general truth in a pithy sentence

apostrophe

turning away; speech directed at an imaginary person or abstract quality or idea

appostion

placing side by side two co-coordinate elements, the second of which serves as an explanation or modification of the first.

assonance

the repetition of a sound within words

asyndeton

the omission of a conjunction where there should be one

balanced clauses

a perfectly balanced sentence has two clauses that are balanced in lengthm importance, and even structure, creating parallelism and flow; not all balanced sentences are as pure.

bathos

insincere or grossly sentimental pathos

dynamic character

a character who exhibits dynamic change throughout the course of as story's action

flat character

a shallow character, one who is 2D so to speak and only shows us a limited aspect of their being.

round character

a full, complex character; one who is 3D

static character

a character who exhibits no considerable change throughout the course of a story's action

chiasmus

a reveral in the order of words in two otherwise parallel phrases

circular reasoning

an attempt to support a statement by simply repeating the statement in different or stronger terms.

cliche

an over-used expression

climax

arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of increasing importance

conceit

a clever, extended metaphor

consonance

use of 2 or more consonants with differing vowels

deductive reasoning

applies general principles to reach specific conclusions

drama

a composition in prose or verse presenting in dialogue or pantomime a story involving conflict or contrast of character, esp. one intended to be acted on the stage; a play.

ellipsis

the omission of a word in such a way that the meaning and flow are not disrupted because they are implied in the context.

elliptical clause

grammatically incomplete clause in the sense that they are missing either the relative pronoun (dependent word) that normally introduces such a clause or something from the predicate in the second part of a comparison. The missing parts of the elliptical clause can be guessed from the context and most readers are not aware that anything is missing. In fact, elliptical clauses are regarded as both useful and correct, even in formal prose, because they are often elegant efficient means of expression.

epanilepsis

the reptition of the intitial word or words of a clause or sentence at the end

epic

noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually cetered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style.

epigram

a statement, or any brief saying in prose or poetry, in which there is an apparent contradiction. A very short, satirical and witty poem usually written as a brief couplet or quatrain

epistrophe

repetition of the same word or group of words at the end of successive clauses

epithet/kenning

imposed; a descriptor sometimes attached to a person's name or appear in place of their name; glorified nickname

euphemism

referring to something intense, perhapes even harsh, in lighter, perhaps less painful, terms

gernalization

to derive or induce (a general conception or principle) from particulars

hamartia

to miss the mark; fatal flaw

homily

an admonitory or moralizing discourse; a sermon

hubris

pride

hyperbaton

unusual or inverted word order

hyperbole

an extreme exaggeration

idiom

an expression, that is a term or phrase whose meaning cannot be deduced from the literal definitions and the arrangement of its parts, but refers instead to a figurative meaning that is known only through common use.

declaritive sentence

a statement

exlamatory sentence

a forceful, declarative sentence

imperative sentence

a command

interrogative sentence

asks a question

inverted sentence

any sentence in which the normal word order is reversed, with the verb coming before the subject or the complete subject and predicate coming after another clause.

periodic sentence

a sentence in which the main clause or its predicate is withheld until the end

simple sentence

independent clause

simile

a comparison using like or as

soleism

a grammatical mistake or absurdity

subjunctive

a grammatical form of verbs implying hypothetical action or condition

syllepsis

the use of a single word in such a way that it is syntactically related to words elsewhere in the sentence, but has a different meaning in relation to each of the other words/

syllogism

particular kind of argument containing three categorical propositions, two of them premises, one a conclusion

symbol

represents something

synechdoche

naming an object for a part of its whole

synesthesia

the description of one kind of sense perception using words that describe another kind of sense perception

tautology

needless repetition of an idea, especially in the words other than those of the immediate context, without imparting additional force or clearness.

zeugma

the joining of two or more parts of a sentence with a single common verb or noun. A zeugma employs both ellipsis, the omission of words which are easily understood, and parallelism, the balance of several words or phrases. The result is a series of similar phrases joined or yoked together by a common and implied noun or verb.

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