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30 terms

AP Literary Terms Set 1

List of terms for AP Literature
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absolute
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
adage
a familiar proverb or wise saying
allegory
a literary work in which characters, objects, or actions represent abstractions
alliteration
the repetition of initial sounds in successive or neighboring words
allusion
A reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize
analogy
a comparison of two different things that are similar in some way
anaphora
the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of consecutive lines or sentences
anecdote
a brief narrative that focuses on a particular incident or event
antecedent
the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers
antithesis
a statement in which two opposing ideas are balanced
aphorism
a concise statement that expresses succinctly a general truth or idea, often using rhyme or balance
apostrophe
a figure of speech in which one directly addresses an absent or imaginary person, or some abstraction
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
argument
a statement of the meaning or main point of a literary work
asyndeton
a construction in which elements are presented in a series without conjunctions
balanced sentence
a sentence in which words, phrases, or clauses are set off against each other to emphasize a contrast
bathos
insincere or overly sentimental quality of writing/speech intended to evoke pity
chiasmus
a statement consisting of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed ("Susan walked in, and out rushed Mary.")
cliche
An expression that has been overused to the extent that its freshness has worn off
climax
the point of highest interest in a literary work
colloquialism
informal words or expressions not usually acceptable in formal writing
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
conceit
a fanciful, particularly clever extended metaphor
concrete details
details that relate to or describe actual, specific things or events.
connotation
the implied or associative meaning of a word
cumulative 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
denotation
the literal meaning of a word