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List of terms for AP Literature


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 familiar proverb or wise saying


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


the repetition of initial sounds in successive or neighboring words


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


the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of consecutive lines or sentences


a brief narrative that focuses on a particular incident or event


the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers


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 figure of speech in which one directly addresses an absent or imaginary person, or some abstraction


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


a statement of the meaning or main point of a literary work


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


insincere or overly sentimental quality of writing/speech intended to evoke pity


a statement consisting of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed ("Susan walked in, and out rushed Mary.")


An expression that has been overused to the extent that its freshness has worn off


the point of highest interest in a literary work


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


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

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


the literal meaning of a word

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