Glossary of Grammar and Composition Terms

97 terms by astrahl 

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alliteration

the repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of consecutive words or syllables

allusion

an indirect reference, often to another text or a historic event

analogy

an extended comparison between two seemingly dissimilar things

anecdote

a short account of an interesting event

annotation

explanatory or critical notes added to a text

antecedent

the noun to which a later pronoun refers

antithesis

parallel structure that juxtaposes contrasting ideas

aphorism

a short, astute statement of a general truth

appositive

a word or phrase that renames a nearby noun or pronoun

archaic diction

the use of words common to an earlier time period; antiquated language

argument

a statement put forth and supported by evidence

assertion

an emphatic statement; declaration. An assertion supported by evidence becomes an argument

assumption

a belief or statement taken for granted without proof

asyndeton

leaving out conjunctions between words, phrases, clauses

attitude

the speaker's position on a subject as revealed through his or her tone

audience

one's listener or readership; those to whom a speech or piece of writing is addressed

authority

a reliable, respected source--someone with knowledge

bias

prejudice or predisposition toward one side of a subject or issue

cite

identifying a part of a piece of writing as being derived from a source

claim

an assertion, usually supported by evidence

close reading

a careful reading that is attentive to organization, figurative language, sentence structure, vocabulary, and other literary and structural element of a text

colloquialism

an informal or conversational use of language

compare

to examine similarities

common ground

shared beliefs, values, or positions

complex sentence

a sentence that includes one independent clause and at least one dependent clause

concession

a reluctant acknowledgment or yielding

connotation

that which is implied by a word, as opposed to the word's literal meaning

context

words, events, or circumstances that help determine meaning

contrast

to examine differences

coordination

grammatical equivalence between parts of a sentence, often through a coordination conjunction such as and, or but

counterargument

a challenge to a position; an opposing argument

credible

worthy of belief; trustworthy

cumulative sentence

an independent clause followed by subordinate clauses or phrases that supply addition detail

declarative sentence

a sentence that makes a statement

deduction

reasoning from general to specific

denotation

the literal meaning of a word; its dictionary definition

diction

word choice

documentation

bibliographic information about the sources used in a piece of writing

elegiac

mournful over what has passed or been lost; often used to describe tone

epigram

a brief witty statement

ethos

a greek term referring to the character of a person; one of Aristotle's three rhetorical appeals

explication of text

explanation of a text's meaning through an analysis of all of its constituent parts, including the literary devices used; also called close reading

facts

information that is true or demonstrable

figurative language

the use of tropes or figures of speech; going beyond literal meaning to achieve literary effect

figure of speech

an expression that strives for literary effect rather than conveying a literal meaning

fragment

a word, phrase, or clause that does not form a full sentence

hortatory

urging, or strongly encouraging

hyperbole

exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis

imagery

vivid use of language that evokes a reader's senses

imperative sentence

a sentence that requests or commands

induction

reasoning from specific to general

inversion

a sentence in which the verb precedes the subject

irony

a contradiction between what is said and what is meant; incongruity between action and result

juxtaposition

placement of two things side by side for emphasis

logos

a Greek term that means "word"; an appeal to logic; one of Aristotle's three rhetorical appeals

metaphor

a figure of speech or trope through which one thing is spoken of as though it were something else, thus making an implicit comparison

modifier

a word, phrase, or clause that qualifies or describes another word, phrase, or clause

narration

retelling an event or series of events

occasion

as aspect of context; the cause or reason for writing

omniscient narrator

an all-knowing, usually third-person narrator

oxymoron

a figure of speech that combines two contradictory terms

pacing

the relative speed or slowness with which a story is told or an idea is presented

paradox

a statement that seems contradictory but is actually true

parallelism

the repetition of similar grammatical or syntactical patterns

parody

a piece that imitates and exaggerates the prominent features of another; used for comic effect or ridicule

pathos

a greek term that refers to suffering but has come to be associated with broader appeals to emotion; one of Aristotle's three rhetorical appeals

persona

the speaker, voice, or character assumed by the author of a piece of writing

personification

assigning lifelike characteristics to inanimate objects

polemic

an argument against an idea, usually regarding philosophy, politics, or religion

premise; major, minor

two parts of a syllogism. the concluding sentence of a syllogism takes its predicate from the major premise and its subject from the minor premise. major premise: all mammals are worm-blooded. minor premise: all horses are mammals. conclusion: all horses are warm-blooded

pronoun

a word used to replace a noun or noun phrase

propaganda

a negative term for writing designed to sway opinion rather than present information

purpose

one's intention or objective in a speech or piece of writing

refute

to discredit and argument, particularly a counterargument

rhetoric

the study of effective, persuasive language use

rhetorical question

a question asked more to produce an effect than to summon an answer

satire

an ironic, sarcastic, or witty composition that claims to argue for something, but actually argues against it

scheme

pattern of words or sentence construction used for rhetorical effect

sentence patterns

the arrangement of independent and dependent clauses into known sentence constructions--such as simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex

sentence variety

using a variety of sentence patters to create a desired effect

simile

a figure of speech that uses "like" or "as" to compare two things

simple sentence

a statement containing a subject and predicate; an independent clause

source

a book, article, person, or other resource consulted for information

speaker

a term used for the author, speaker, or the person whose perspective is being advanced in a speech or piece of writing

style

the distinctive quality of speech or writing created by the selection and arrangement of words and figures of speech

subject

in rhetoric, the topic addressed in a piece of writing

subordinate clause

created by a subordinating conjunction, a clause that modifies an independent clause

syllogism

a form of deductive reasoning in which the conclusion is supported by a major and minor premise

syntax

sentence structure

synthesize

combining or bringing together two or more elements to produce something more complex

thesis

the central idea in a work to which all parts of the work refer

thesis statement

a statement of the central idea in a work, may be explicit or implicit

tone

the speaker's attitude toward the subject or audience

topic sentence

a sentence, most often appearing at the beginning of a paragraph, that announces the paragraph's idea and often unites it with the work's thesis

trope

artful diction; the use of language in a way that is not literal; also called a figure of speech

understatement

lack of emphasis in a statement or point; restraint in language often used for ironic effect

voice

in grammar, a term for the relationship between a verb and a noun. in rhetoric, a distinctive quality in the style and tone of writing

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