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the word choices made by a writer

figurative language

language employing one or more figures of speech


the art of presenting ideas in a clear, effective, and persuasive manner

rhetorical devices

literary techniques used to heighten the effectiveness of expression

rhetorical pattern

format or structure followed by a writer such as comparison/contrast or process analysis


the arrangement or framework of a sentence, paragraph, or entire work


the choices a writer makes; the combination of distinctive features of a literary work


the manner in which words are arranged into sentences


a central idea of a work


the primary position taken by a writer or speaker


the attitude of a writer, usually implied, toward the subject or audience


a word free from limitations or qualifications (best, all, unique, perfect)

ad hominem argument

an argument attacking an individual's character rather than his or her position on an issue


a literary work in which characters, objects, or actions represent abstractions


a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize


a comparison of two different things that are similar in some way


repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses


a brief narrative that focuses on a particular incident or event


a statement in which two opposing ideas are balanced


a concise statement that expresses succinctly a general truth or idea, often using rhyme or balance


a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by reason and logic, and asserts a position, belief or conclusion


repetition of similar vowel sounds, preceded and followed by different consonants, in the stressed syllables of adjacent words (ex: The sergeant asked him to bomb the lawn with hotpots.)


a construction in which elements are presented in a series without conjunctions (ex: They spent the day wondering, searching, thinking, understanding.)

balanced sentence

a sentence in which words, phrases, or clauses are set off against each other to emphasize a contrast (ex: If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.)


a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by its analysis of why something happens; often links situations and events in time, with causes preceding events


a pattern of writing or speaking characterized by the process of breaking a whole into parts, and the often subsequent process of sorting individual items into categories


informal words or expressions not usually acceptable in formal writing


a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by, in its narrowest sense, how two or more things are similar and/or how two or more things are different

complex sentence

a sentence with one independent clause and at least one dependent clause

compound sentence

a sentence with two or more coordinate independent clauses, often joined by one or more conjunctions

compound-complex sentence

a sentence with two or more principal clauses and one or more subordinate clauses


a fanciful, particularly clever extended metaphor

concrete details

details that relate to or describe actual, specific things or events


the implied or associative meaning of a word

cumulative sentence (loose sentence)

a sentence in which the main independent clause is elaborated by the successive addition of modifying clauses or phrases

declarative sentence

a sentence that makes a statement or declaration

deductive reasoning

reasoning in which a conclusion is reached by stating a general principle and then applying that principle to a specific case


a pattern of writing or speaking which strives to inform the audience on what a term means and how it is different from other terms in its class


the literal meaning of a word


a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by physical descriptions of a person, place or thing. It is a pattern that relies on the five senses to inform it


a variety of speech characterized by its own particular grammar or pronunciation, often associated with a particular geographical region

didactic statement

a statement with the primary purpose of teaching or instructing


harsh, inharmonious, or discordant sounds


the omission of a word or phrase which is grammatically necessary but can be deduced from the context (ex: Some people prefer cats; others, dogs.)


the persuasive appeal of one's character, or credibility (usually deals with one's morals or values)


an indirect, less offensive way of saying something that is considered unpleasant

exclamatory sentence

a sentence expressing strong feeling, usually punctuated with an exclamation mark


a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by using one or more particular cases, or examples, to illustrate or explain a general point or an abstract concept


intentional exaggeration to create an effect


an expression in a given language that cannot be understood from the literal meaning of the words in the expression; or, a regional speech or dialect (ex: fly on the wall, cut to the chase)


the use of figures of speech to create vivid images that appeal to one of the senses

imperative sentence

a sentence that gives a command


a suggestion an author or speaker makes without stating it directly

inductive reasoning

deriving general principles from particular facts or instances


a conclusion based on premises or evidence

interrogative sentence

a sentence that asks a question


an intensely vehement, highly emotional verbal attack

inverted syntax

a sentence constructed so that the predicate comes before the subject (ex: In the woods I am walking.)


the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; or, incongruity between what is expected and what actually occurs


placing two elements side by side to present a comparison or contrast


a type of understatement in which an idea is expressed by negating its opposite (describing a particularly horrific scene by saying, "It was not a pretty picture.")


appeal to reason or logic


a direct comparison of two different things


substituting the name of one object for another object closely associated with it


the emotional atmosphere of a work


a standard theme, element, or dramatic situation that recurs in various works


is a dominant pattern of writing or speaking which strives to tell a story by presenting events in an orderly, logical sequence; conventionally utilizes the first or third person perspective

non sequitur

an inference that does not follow logically from the premises


an apparently contradictory statement that actually contains some truth (ex: Whoever loses his life shall find it.)


the use of corresponding grammatical or syntactical forms


a humorous imitation of a serious work

parenthetical comment

a comment that interrupts the immediate subject, often to quality or explain


appeal to emotions; the quality in a work that prompts the reader to feel pity


endowing non-human objects or creatures with human qualities or characteristics


a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by it's explanation of how to do something or how something occurs; presents a sequence of steps and shows how those steps lead to a particular result

rhetorical question

a question asked merely for rhetorical effect and not requiring an answer


harsh, cutting language or tone intended to ridicule


the use of humor to emphasize human weaknesses or imperfections in social institutions


an artful deviation from the ordinary arrangement of words


a comparison of two things using like, as, or other specifically comparative words

simple sentence

a sentence consisting of one independent clause and no dependent clause


using one part of an object to represent the entire object


an artful deviation from the ordinary or principal signification of a word


the deliberate representation of something as lesser in magnitude than it is


the everyday speech of a particular country or region, often involving nonstandard usage

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