48 terms

AP English Language Vocabulary Terms A-C

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absolute
a word free from limitations or qualifications
abstraction
an idea disassociated from any specific instance; expresses a quality apart from an object
adage
a familiar proverb or wise saying
aesthetic
A guiding principle in matters of artistic beauty and taste; artistic sensibility
allegory
a story in poetry or prose in which characters, actions, or settings represent abstract ideas or moral quali¬ties; it has two meanings, one literal and one symbolic
alliteration
the repetition of initial (beginning) sounds, usually consonants, in a group of words
allusion
a reference to a mythological, literary, or historical person, place, or thing that a writer expects a reader to recognize.
ambiguity
the expression of an idea in language that suggests more than one, sometimes conflicting, meaning
anachronism
a person, period or object that does not fit into the time period of the literary work.
anadiplosis*
figure of repetition that occurs when the last word, phrase or clause in one sentence, clause, or phrase is/are repeated at or very near the beginning of the next sentence, clause, or phrase
analogy
comparison between two things to show the similarities between them
anaphora
the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses or lines.
Anastrophe*
transposition of normal word order; most often found in Latin in the case of prepositions and the words they control.
anecdote
a very brief story, often one that makes a special point
anesis*
Adding a concluding sentence that diminishes the effect of what has been said previously. The opposite of epitasis.
annotation
explanatory words added to a text
antecedent
the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers
antecedent action
action which occurs before the drama begins and revealed through the exposition or the dialogue of the characters
antimetabole*
Repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order.
antistrophe*
repetition of the same word or phrase at the end of successive clauses.
antithesis
a direct juxtaposition of structurally parallel words, phrases, or clauses for the purpose of contrast
aphorism
brief, clever statement about life
aporia*
expression of doubt (often feigned) by which a speaker appears uncertain as to what he should think, say, or do.
aposiopesis*
breaking off suddenly in the middle of speaking, usually to portray being overcome with emotion.
apostrophe
a form of personification in which the absent or dead are spoken to as if present and the inanimate, as if animate. These are all addressed directly.
appositio*
of an adjacent, coordinate, explanatory or descriptive element.
appositive
a noun or noun phrase that renames another noun right beside it.
archetype
an image, symbol or character type that occurs frequently in literature or myth
aside
a comment by a character in a drama which is supposed to be audible only to the audience, not to other players
assonance
the repetition of similar vowel sounds, especially in poetry
asyndeton*
lack of conjunctions between coordinate phrases, clauses, or words.
atmosphere
The mood or pervasive feeling insinuated by a literary work.
audience
part of your rhetorical situation (speaker, subject, audience); the person or persons to whom comments are directed
bildungsroman
this genre of literature denotes the story of a single individual's growth and development within the context of a defined social order.
Cacophony
harsh joining of sounds.
cadence
the natural, rhythmic rise and fall of a language as it is normally spoken
caricature
a grotesque likeness of striking characteristics in persons or things
catachresis
a harsh metaphor involving the use of a word beyond its strict sphere.
catalog
long list of people, things, or events
catharsis
a cleansing of the spirit of the spectator at the tragedy through experiencing the emotions of pity and terror
chiasmus
A verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first but with the parts reversed.
cliché
an expression overused to the point that its freshness and effectiveness have worn off
colloquial/colloquialism
use of slang or informalities in speech or writing; give work a conversational, familiar tone; can include local or regional dialects
conceit
an elaborate metaphor that compares two things that are startlingly different
concrete
opposite of abstract; identifies things perceived through the senses (touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste), such as soft, stench, red, loud, or bitter.
connotation
the implied meaning of a word; all the meanings, associations, or emotions that a word suggests
consonance
the repetition of a consonant sound within a series of words to produce a harmonious effect
criticism
a particular way of evaluating a text; literary criticism is the informed analysis and evaluation of a piece of literature