134 terms

AP Language and Composition Review

Terms to review for the AP exam
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allusion
an implicit reference within a literary work to a historical or literary person, place or event ("Don't act like a Romeo in front of her." - "Romeo" is a reference to Shakespeare's Romeo, a passionate lover of Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet")
paralipsis
drawing attention to something by claiming not to mention it (We will not speak of Ms. McArdle's indiscretion here; how she got five of her test questions from SparkNotes)
metaphor
a figure of speech comparing to unlike things without using like or as (life is but a walking shadow)
aphorism
a concise statement of a truth or principle (The early bird gets the worm)
parallelism
phrases or sentences of a similar construction/meaning placed side by side, balancing each other (I came, I saw, I conquered)
euphemism
an inoffensive expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive (saying "passed" instead of "died")
epithet
any word or phrase applied to a person or thing to describe an actual or attributed quality ("Shoeless Joe Jackson," "Richard the Lionheart," "The Brooklyn Bomber")
antithesis
the juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas to give a feeling of balance ("Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more")
paradox
a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth ("And all men kill the thing they love...")
ellipsis
the omission of a word or phrase which is grammatically necessary but can be deduced for the context ("Some people prefer cats; others, dogs")
hyperbole
a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor (Ms. McArdle is a total psychopath with her tests)
consonance
the repetition of consonants (or consonant patterns) especially at the ends of words ("We rush into rain that rattles double glass")
periphrasis
substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a name, "fickle mistress" for luck, "big man upstairs" for God
synaesthesia
describing one kind of sensation in terms of another ("loud color" or "sweet sound")
meiosis
understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary) (Mercutio, after being mortally wouned, says his wound is only "a scratch")
apostrophe
figure of speech in which someone (usually absent), some abstract quality, or some nonexistent personage is directly addressed as though present
asyndeton
a construction in which elements are presented in a series without conjunctions (I shot, scored, ran. It was ridiculous)
isocolon
corresponding clauses of equal weight
cliche
an overused saying or idea
metonymy
substituting the name of an attribute or feature for the name of the thing itself (as in "they counted heads")
litotes
understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary) ("It's nothing. I'm just bleeding to death is all" or "he is not unfriendly")
in medias res
in or into the middle of a plot; into the middle of things
delayed / periodic sentence
A sentence that withholds its main idea until the end.
chiasmus
a statement consisting of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed ("When the going gets tough, the tough get going")
analogy
drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect
anadiplosis
repetition of the final words of a sentence or line at the beginning of the next (Chicken for dinner? Dinner will be ruined!)
bathos
insincere or overly sentimental quality of writing/speech intended to evoke pity
cacophony
loud confusing disagreeable sounds (puke, snot, barf)
euphony
any agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) sounds (butterfly, lovely, bright)
juxtaposition
placing two elements side by side to present a comparison or contrast
simile
a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with 'like' or 'as')
repetition
the repeated use of the same word or word pattern as a rhetorical device
polysyndeton
using several conjunctions in close succession, especially where some might be omitted (as in 'he ran and jumped and laughed for joy')
colloquialism
a word or phrase (including slang) used in everyday conversation and informal writing but that is often inappropriate in formal writing (y'all, ain't)
anachronism
something located at a time when it could not have existed or occurred (In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, characters refer to clocks which did not exist in ancient Rome)
personification
giving human characteristics to something that is not human
pathetic fallacy
The attribution of human emotions or characteristics to inanimate objects or to nature (angry clouds; a cruel wind)
oxymoron
conjoining contradictory terms (as in 'deafening silence')
aposiopesis
when the speaker or writer deliberately stops short and leaves something unexpressed, but yet obvious, to be supplied by the imagination
synecdoche
Uses a part to explain a whole or a whole to explain a part ("lend me an ear," "want to take a ride in my new wheels?")
alliteration
use of the same consonant at the beginning of each stressed syllable in a line of verse (run rascal rapidly)
pun
play on words (I see said the blind man as he pick up his hammer saw)
symbol
something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible (an eagle representing freedom)
mixed metaphor
a combination of two or more metaphors that together produce a ridiculous effect
epistrophe
The figure of repetition that occurs when the last word or set of words in a sentence, clause, or phrase is repeated one or more times at the end of successive sentences, clauses, or phrases (of the people, by the people, for the people)
anaphora
repetition of a word or phrase as the beginning of successive clauses
archetype
A detail, image, or character type that occurs frequently in literature and myth and is thought to appeal in a universal way to the unconscious and to evoke a response (the hero-quest journey, the trickster, etc.)
canon
an established set of principles; a basis or standard for judgment; a group of literary works (the works of Homer, The American literary _____, Shakespeare)
conceit
a fanciful expression, usually in the form of an extended metaphor or surprising analogy between seemingly dissimilar objects
rhetoric
the art of using language effectively and persuasively
rhetorical context
the circumstances in which a text is written, including the intended audience, the author's aim or purpose in writing, and the audience's preexisting ideas and opinions
rhetorical device
a specific method used in writing or speaking in which language is used to influence or persuade an audience
situational irony
occurs when the outcome of a work is unexpected, or events turn out to be the opposite from what one had expected
hamartia/hubris
the character flaw or error of a tragic hero that leads to his downfall
dramatic irony
(theater) irony that occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play
cosmic irony
when a writer uses God, destiny, or fate to dash the hopes and expectations of a character or humankind in general
sarcasm
sneering and often ironic language intended to hurt a person's feelings
irony
a trope that involves incongruity between what is expected and what occurs
satire
the use of humor to emphasize human weaknesses or imperfections in social institutions
zeugma
the use of a word to modify two or more words, but used for different meanings (He closed the door and his heart on his lost love.)
rhetorical question
a question asked merely for rhetorical effect and not requiring an answer
onomatopoeia
a figure of speech in which natural sounds are imitated in the sounds of words. Simple examples include such words as buzz, hiss, hum.
ad hominem
In an argument, this is an attack on the person rather than on the opponent's ideas. It comes from the Latin meaning "against the man."
allegory
an expressive style that uses fictional characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances
anecdote
a brief narrative that focuses on a particular incident or event
antecedent
the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers
comic relief
A humorous scene or speech intended to lighten the mood
connotation
refers to the implied or suggested meanings associated with a word beyond its dictionary definition
deductive reasoning
reasoning in which a conclusion is reached by stating a general principle and then applying that principle to a specific case (The sun rises every morning; therefore, the sun will rise on Tuesday morning.)
inductive reasoning
deriving general principles from particular facts or instances ("Every cat I have ever seen has four legs; cats are four-legged animals").
denotation
The dictionary definition of a word
dialect
a variety of speech characterized by its own particular grammar or pronunciation, often associated with a particular geographical region
diction
the manner in which something is expressed in words
didactic
having the primary purpose of teaching or instructing
nostalgic
wishing for a return to the way things used to be; longing for the past; homesick
epigraph
The use of a quotation at the beginning of a work that hints at its theme.
imagery
The use of language to evoke a picture or a concrete sensation of a person, thing, place, or experience
inference
the reasoning involved in drawing a conclusion or making a logical judgment on the basis of circumstantial evidence and prior conclusions rather than on the basis of direct observation
invective
abusive or venomous language used to express blame or censure or bitter deep-seated ill will
logical fallacy
An error in reasoning that renders an argument invalid
motif
a principal idea, feature, theme, or element; a repeated or dominant figure in a design
parody
a composition that imitates somebody's style in a humorous way
pathos
a style that has the power to evoke feelings
pedantic
excessively concerned with book learning and formal rules
style
the unique way an author presents his ideas--diction, syntax, imagery, structure, and content all contribute to this
syllogism
a three-part deductive argument in which a conclusion is based on a major premise and a minor premise ("All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal.")
syntax
the rules for combining words into grammatically sensible sentences in a given language
theme
a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work
tone
the quality of something (an act or a piece of writing) that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author
transition
a word or phrase that links one idea to the next and carries the reader from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph.
voice
a means or agency by which something is expressed or communicated (an author's way of using language to reflect his or her attitude)
inversion (anastrophe)
the reversal of the normal word order in a sentence or phrase
parallelism
phrases or sentences of a similar construction/meaning placed side by side, balancing each other
atmosphere
a distinctive but intangible quality surrounding a person or thing
logos
an appeal based on logic or reason
ethos
The appeal of a text to the credibility and character of the speaker, writer, or narrator
ambiguity
The multiple meanings, either intentional or unintentional, of a word, phrase, sentence, or passage.
annotation
the act of adding notes
prose
the ordinary form of written language
semantic
referring to the relationships between words and meanings
non sequitur
a reply that has no relevance to what preceded it
red herring
any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue
begging the question
taking for granted something that really needs proving
analysis
a form of literary criticism in which the structure of a piece of writing is analyzed
categorization
the act of distributing things into classes or categories of the same type
hasty generalization
drawing conclusions based on insufficient or unrepresentative evidence
figurative language
Writing or speech that is used to create vivid impressions by setting up comparisons between dissimilar things, [examples are metaphor, simile, and personification.]
generalization
When a writer bases a claim upon an isolated example or asserts that a claim is certain rather than probable. Sweeping _________ occur when a writer asserts that a claim applies to all instances instead of some.
metacognition
thinking about how you think
egoism
excessive interest in one's self; belief that one should be interested in one's self rather than in others; selfishness
utilitarianism
idea that the goal of society should be to bring about the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people
formalism
strict observance of the established rules traditions and methods employed in the arts. _____ can also refer to the theory of art that relies heavily on the organization of forms in a work rather than on the content.
premise
a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn
straw man
a logical fallacy that involves the creation of an easily refutable position; misrepresenting, then attacking an opponent's position
genre
a kind of literary or artistic work
Puritanism
the beliefs and practices characteristic of Puritans (most of whom were Calvinists who wished to purify the Church of England of its Catholic aspects)
Rationalism
belief in reason and logic as the primary source of knowledge
Romanticism
a movement in literature and art during the late 18th and early 19th centuries that celebrated nature rather than civilization
Transcendentalism
any system of philosophy emphasizing the intuitive and spiritual above the empirical and material
Realism
This was the new style of literature that focused on the daily lives and adventures of a common person. This style was a response to Romanticism's supernaturalism and over-emphasis on emotion.
Naturalism
The term ___________ describes a type of literature that attempts to apply scientific principles of objectivity and detachment to its study of human beings. Unlike realism which focuses on literary technique ____________ implies a philosophical position.
Modernism
genre of art and literature that makes a self-conscious break with previous genres
classicism
the principles and styles admired in the classics of Greek and Roman literature, such as objectivity, sensibility, restraint, and formality
tonal shift
An author's change from one emotional style to another during a work.
primary source
text that tells a first-hand account of an event; original works used when researching (letters, journals)
secondary source
Text and/or artifacts that are not original, but written from something original (biographies, magazine articles, research papers).
thesis
The sentence or group of sentences that directly expresses the author's opinion, purpose, meaning, or proposition.
claim
an assertion that something is true or factual
spatial
where a place is located and its physical relationship to other places, people, or environments (a physical description)
Double Entendre
a statement that has two meanings, one of which is dirty or vulgar
neoclassicism
revival of a classical style (in art or literature or architecture or music) but from a new perspective or with a new motivation
propaganda
ideas spread to influence public opinion for or against a cause
eulogy
a formal statement of commendation; high praise (does not always need to be given when a person dies)
persona
the speaker, voice, or character assumed by the author of a piece of writing
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