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20 terms

AP English Literature Term List

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Allusion
A brief reference to a historical or literary figure, event, or object.
Alliteration
The repetition of the same consonant or vowel sound at the beginning of several closely placed words. The sound can also be included within the words as well as at the beginning.
Apostrophe
A figure of speech in which someone absent or dead or something nonhuman is addressed as if it were alive and present and could reply
Diction
The author's choice and use of words in a text. This is roughly analogous to word choice.
Dramatic irony
When the reader or viewer or a text or performance knows something that the characters themselves do not.
Hyperbole
An exaggeration to amuse or to reinforce or heighten effect.
Imagery
The use of language to evoke a picture or a concrete sensation of a person, thing, place, or experience.
Irony
incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.
Metaphor
A comparison between two things in which the similarity between the two is implied and not directly stated.
Metonymy
Substituting a thing closely related to a word with the word itself. Ex. "The Pentagon released a statement today about national security." A building cannot release a statement; the Pentagon is a building closely associated with the leaders of the armed forces and stands in their place to represent them.
Onomatopoeia
Words that sound the same as the things they mean. Ex. "Buzz", "Snap", "Hiss"
Oxymoron
Conjoining contradictory terms (as in 'deafening silence').
Paradox
A statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
Parody
A composition that imitates somebody's style in a humorous way.
Personification
Giving human characteristics to animals, ideas, feelings, or inanimate objects.
Simile
A comparison between two like things in which the similarity between the two is directly stated, usually using the words "like" or "as".
Symbolism
Something that is itself but also represents or stands for something else on a different level of meaning.
Synecdoche
Substituting a part of the whole for the whole itself. Ex. "He's got a nice set of wheels." The speaker is referring to a car as a whole and not the wheels themselves.
Syntax
The way an author arranges words and phrases to create sentences. This is roughly analogous to sentence fluency.
Theme
The author's message about or commentary on life that applies to everyone, is based on events in the text, and is expressed as a statement.