AP English Literature and Composition Terms

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Anastrophe

transposition of normal word order; most often found in Latin in the case of prepositions and the words they control (form of hyperbaton)

Antimetabole

reversing the order of repeated words or phrases (chiastic structure AB-BA) to intensify the final formulation, to present alternatives, or to show contrast

Ad Hominem

in an argument, this is an attack on the person rather than on the opponent's ideas. It comes from the Latin meaning "against the man"

Aporia

expression of doubt (often feigned) by which a speaker appears uncertain of what he should think, say, or do

Archaism

use of an older or obsolete form

Asyndeton

lack of conjunctions between coordinate phrases, clauses, or words

Catachresis

a harsh metaphor involving the use of a word beyond its strict sphere

Colloquial

the use of slang in writing, often to create local color and to provide an informal tone

Diacope

repetition of a word or phrase after an intervening word or phrase

Didactic

From the Greek, didactic writing means "teaching." Didactic works have the primary aim of teaching or instructing especially ethical or moral principles

Epanalepsis

Repeats the beginning word of a clause or sentence at the end

Euphemism

a more acceptable and usually more pleasant way of saying something that might be inappropriate or uncomfortable; also often used to obscure reality of a situation

Hendiadys

use of two words connected by a conjunction, instead of subordinating one to the other, to express a single complex idea

Hypophora

consists of raising one or more questions and then proceeding to answer them, usually at some length

Parataxis

writing successive independent clauses, with coordinating conjunctions or no conjunctions

Litotes

understatement, for intensification, by denying the contrary of the thing being affirmed (meiosis)

Pendantic

term used to describe writing that borders on lecturing; it is scholarly or academic and often overly difficult and distant

Pleonasm

use of superfluous or redundant language, often enriching the thought

Sententia

quoting a maxim or wise saying to apply a general truth to the situation; concluding or summing foregoing material by offering a single statement of general wisdom

Syllogism

the format of a formal argument; consists of a major premise, minor premise, and a conclusion.

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