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Terms for preparing for the AP Language and Composition test.


a device of using character and/or story elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in addition to a literal meaning.


a figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or personified abstraction, such as liberty or love

ad hominem argument

from the Latin meaning "to or against the man," this is an argument that appeals to emotion rather than reason, to feeling rather than intellect


the repetition of sounds especially initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words (as in "she sells seashells"). the repetition can reinforce meaning, unify ideas, and/or supply musical sound


a direct or indirect reference to something that is presumably commonly known, such as an event, book, myth, place, or work of art. References can be historical (like referring to Hitler), literary (referring to Kurtz in Heart of Darkness), religious (referring to Noah and the flood), or mythical (referring to Atlas)


the multiple meanings, either intentional or unintentional, of a word, phrase, sentence, or passage


a similarity or comparison between two different things or the relationship between them. an analogy can explain something unfamiliar by associating it with something more familiar.


the word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun.


a figure of speech involving a seeming contradiction of ideas, words, clauses, or sentences within a balanced grammatical structure. the resulting parallelism serves to emphasize opposition of ideas (i.e. "Too black for heaven, yet too white for hell")


a terse statement of known authorship that expresses a general truth or moral principle.


the emotional mood created entirely of a literary work, established partly by the setting and partly by the author's choice of objects that are described.


a representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject's distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect.


a figure of speech based on inverted parallelism. It is a rhetorical figure in which two clauses are related to each another through a reversal of terms (i.e. "Ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country")


a grammatical unit that contains both a subject and a verb.


slang or informality in speech or writing. not generally acceptable for formal writing

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