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a simple story, such as a fable or parable, whose major purpose is to teach a moral lesson. An allegory can always be read on two levels; one literal, the other symbolic. The underlying meaning can be parallel to, but different from, the surface meaning


a reference to a literary work, or a person/place/thing/event/object from history, literature, or mythology. The actual reference is minimal, leaving the reader to fill in the missing information to make larger meaning.


compares 2 things, which are alike in several respects, for the purpose of explaining or clarifying an unfamiliar idea/concept/object by showing how it is similar to a familiar idea/concept/object. Though the analogy is like the simile, it differs in that its focus is an explaining, on making the abstract more concrete, and is more extended, while the simile is primarily used for artistic flare, done briefly for effect or emphasis.


a deliberate exaggeration of conditions or effect.


using words to create pictures in the mind by appealing to senses. When used well, imagery can be very effective, creating very concrete and cons ice meaning in a very tiny space. Imagery is meant to help the reader feel/see/taste/smell/hear what the writer does.


occurs when a statement or situation means something different (or even the opposite of) what is stated or expected


compares two different things by speaking of one in terms of the other. Unlike simile or analogy metaphor asserts that one thing IS the other, not just that one thing is like another thing--more forceful--


a type of metaphor in which the thing chosen for metaphorical image is closely associated with (but not an actual part of)the subject with which it is compared.


an apparent contradiction that is nevertheless true when pursued further


giving human attributes to animal, inanimate objects, or ideas


a play on words, usually for humorous effect


compares 2 different things that resemble one another in at least one way, using like, as or so


something that represents something else;culture and history can change meaning


a type of metaphor in which the part stands for the whole, the whole for a part, the material for the thing made, or in short, any portion, section, or main quality for the whole or the thing itself. "If i had some 'wheels', i'd put on my best 'threads' and go ask for Jane's 'hand' in marriage"


the opposite of a hyperbole. Rather than exaggerating for effect, you make a fact seem less significant to draw attention to it. Related to Irony.


repetition of the same first sound in a group or string of words. It draws attention to those words. Can be a vowel or consonant.


a short, memorable, and usually well-known statement


an interruption to a discussion or discourse in which the author directly addresses an absent or dead person, an inanimate object, or an abstract concept


the repetition of vowel sounds between different consonant sounds in stressed words or syllables. Similar to rhyme

balanced sentence

used to parallel two or more equal ideas


balances sentence made memorable through reversed grammar, words, or meaning. "It's not the men in my life that counts-it's the life in my men"

climatic parallelism

used to present several facts or ideas in order or importance.


the repetition of identical consonant sounds that are preceded by different vowel sounds. The sound is usually at the end of the words.


a single word or short phrase, usually interrupting normal syntax, used to lend emphasis to the words immediately proximate to the expletive. 'in fact'

non-sentence fragment

used when a full sentence is not necessary for meaning


used to contrast two opposing ideas.

periodic sentence

used when you want to withhold an important part of information until the end. The sentence should not make complete sense until the last word has been read


used for emphasis and rhythm

rhetorical question

a question, which does not require an answer. The answer is already known or implied. Question is asked for effect only, mainly to gain reader's interest or allegiance.


used to draw attention to two or more key words and make them more memorable

sentence length/complexity

mixing longer and shorter, simple and complex sentences for variety. Allows you yo emphasize key phrases, sentences and/or ideas.


includes several rhetorical devices, all involving a grammatically correct linkage of two or more parts of speech by another missing part of speech.

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