Advertisement Upgrade to remove ads

I got the terms from Cliff Notes Prep book for 2010

ad hominem argument

From the Latin meaning "to or against the man". This argument appeals to emotion rather than reason, to feeling rather than intellect


The device of using character and/or story elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in addition to the literal meaning


the repetition of sounds, especially initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words (as in "she sells sea shells").


a direct or indirect reference to something that is presumably commonly know, such as an event, book, myth, place, or work of art.


The multiple meanings, either intentional or unintentional, of a word, phrase, sentence, or passage


a similarity or comparison between two different things or the relationship between them


the word, phrase, or clause, referred to by a pronoun


a figure of speech involving a seeming contradiction of ideas, words, clauses, or sentences within a a balanced grammatical structure.


a terse statement of known authorship that expresses a general truth or moral principle.


a figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or personified abstraction, such as liberty or love. The effect may add familiarity or emotional tensity.


The emotional mood created by the entirety of a literary work, established partly by the setting and partly by the author's choice of objects that are described


a representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject's distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect.


a figure of speech based on inverted parallelism. It is a rhetorical figure in which to clauses are related to each another through a reversal of terms. The purpose is usually to amake a larger point or to provide balance or order.


a grammatical unit that contains both a subject and a verb.


slang or informality in speech or writing. Not generally acceptable for formals writing.


a fanciful expression, usually in the form of an extended metaphor or surprising analogy between seemingly dissimilar objects


the nonliteral, associative meaning of a word; the implied, suggested meaning.


the strict, literal, dictionary definition of word, devoid of any emotion, attitude, or color


related to style, _____ refers to the writer's word choices, especially with regard to their correctness, clearness, or effectiveness.


From the Greek, "_____" literally means "instructive" _____ works have the primary aim of teaching or instructing, especially the teaching of moral or ethical principles


From the Greek for "good speech" _______ are a more agreeable or less offensive substitute for generally unpleasant words or concepts.

extended metaphor

a metaphor developed at great length, occurrring frequently in or throughout a work.

figurative language

writing or speech that is not intended to carry literal meaning and is usually mean to be imaginative and vivid

figure of speech

a device used to produce figurative language. Many compare dissimilar things.

generic conventions

this terms describes traditions for each genre. These ______ help to define each genre; for example, they differentiate between an essay and journalistic writing or an autobiography and political writing


the major category into which a literary work fits. The basic divisions are prose, poetry, and drama.


this term literally means "sermon" but more imformally, it can include any serious talk, speech, or lecture, involving moral or spiritual advice


a figure of speech using deliberate exaggeration or overstatement


the sensory details or figurative language used to describe, arouse emotion, or represent abstractions. On a physicals level, ______ uses terms related to the five senses; we refer to visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, or olfactory ______.


to draw a reasonable conclusion from the information presented.


an emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack using strong, abusive language.


the contrast between what is stated explicitly and what is really meant; the difference between what appears to be and what actually is true.

verbal irony

in this type of irony, words literally state the opposite of the writer's (or speaker's) true meaning

situational irony

in this type of irony, events turn out the opposite of what was expected. What the characters and readers think ought to happen does not actually happen

dramatic irony

in this type of irony, facts or events are unknown to a character in a play or piece of fiction but known to the reader, audience, or other characters in the work.


Placing dissimilar items, descriptions, or ideas close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast

loose sentence

a type of sentence in which the main idea (independent clause) comes first, followed by dependent grammatical units such as phrases and clauses


a figure of speech using implied comparison of seemingly unlike things or the substitution of one for the other, suggesting some similarity.


a term for the Greek meaning "changed label" or "substitute name", _______ is a figure of speech in which the name of one object is substituted for that of another closely associated with it.


this term has two distinct meanings in English writing. First meaning is grammatical and deals with verbal units and a speaker's attitude. The indicative _____ is used only for factual sentences like "Joe eats too quickly." The subjunctive ____ is used for a adoubtful or conditional attitude like "If I were you, I'd get another job". The imperative _____ is used for commands like "Shut the door!". The second meaning of the term is literary, meaning the prevailing atmosphere or emotional aura of a work.


the telling of a story or an account of an event or series of events


a figure of speech in which natural sounds are imitated in the sounds of words


from the Greek "pointedly foolish", an ______ is a figure of speech wherein the author groups apparently contradictory terms to suggest a paradox.


A statement that appears to be self-contradictory or opposed to common sense, but upon closer inspection contains some dgree of truth or validity.


this term comes from the Greek roots meaning "beside one another" It refers to the grammatical or rhetorical framing of words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs to give structural similarity


a work that closely imitates the style or content of another with the specific aim of comic effect and/or ridicule.


an adjective that describes words, phrases, or general tone that is overly scholarly, academic, or bookish

periodic sentence

a sentence that presents its central meaning in a main clause at the end


a figure of speech in which the author presents or describes concepts, animals, or inanimate objects by endowing them with human attributes or emotions.

point of view

in literature, the perspective from which the story is told. There are two general divisions: first person narrator and third person narrator in which there is omniscient and limited omniscient third person narrator

predicate adjectives

one type of subject complement- an adjective, group of adjectives, or adjective clause that follows a linking verb

predicate nominative

on type of subject complement- a noun, group of nouns, or noun clause that renames the subject


one of the major divisions of genre, ____ refers to fiction of nonfiction, including all its forms, because they are written in ordinary language and most closely resemble everday speech.


the duplication, either exact or approximate, of any element of language, such as a sound, word, phrase, clause, sentence, or grammatical pattern


from the Greek for "orator" this term describes the principles governing the art of writing effectively, eloquently, and persuasively.

rhetorical appeal

the persuasive device by which a writer tries to sway the audience's attention and response to any given work


A rhetorical appeal that employs logical reasoning, combining a clear idea (or multiple ideas) with well-thought-out and appropriate examples and details


A rhetorical appeal that establishes credibility in the speaker.


a rhetorical appeal that plays on the reader's emotions and interests. A sympathetic audience is more likely to accept a writer's assertions, so this appeal draws upon that understanding and uses it to the writer's advantage

rhetorical modes

this flexible term describes the variety, the conventions, and the purposes of the major kinds of writing. There are four major sub-categories


this rhetorical mode's purpose is to explain and analyze information by presenting an idea, relevant evidence, and appropriate discussion


this rhetorical mode's purpose is to prove the validity of an idea, or point of view, by presenting sound reasoning, thoughtful discussion, and insightful argument that thoroughly convince the reader.


this rhetorical mode's purpose is to re-create, invent, or visually present a person, place, event, or action so that the reader can picture that being described


this rhetorical mode's purpose is to tell a story or narrate an event or series of events.

rhetorical question

a question that is asked merely for effect and does not expect a reply. The answer is assumed


from the Greek "to tear flesh", _____ involves bitter, caustic language that is meant to hurt or ridicule someone or something. It may use irony as a device, but not all ironic statements are _______


a work that targets human vices or follies, or social institutions and conventions, for reform or ridicule.


an explicit comparison, normally using "like" or "as" or "if".


an evaluation of the sum of choices an author makes in blending diction, syntax, figurative language, and other literary devices. It can also be used to classify an author to a group and compare the author to other authors

subject complement

the word (with any accompanying phrases) or clause that follows a linking verb and complements or completes the subject of the sentence by either 1) renaming it or 2) describing it.

subordinate clause

Like all clauses, this word group contains both a subject and a verb (plus any accompanying phrases or modifiers), but like the independent clause, the _______ cannot stand alone; it does not express a complete thought


From the Greek "reckoning together" a ______ is a deductive system of formal logic that presents two premises- the first one called the "major" and the second "minor"- that inevitably lead to a sound conclusion. Example: Major Premise: All men are mortal. Minor Premise: Socrates is a man. Conclusion: Therefore, Socrates is mortal


generally, anything that represents or stand for something else

Natural symbol

this type of symbol uses objects and occurrences from nature to represent ideas commonly associated with them

Conventional symbol

this type of symbol is one that has been invested with meaning by a group (religious symbols like Star of David or the Cross)

LIterary symbol

this type of symbol is sometimes also conventional in the sense that they are found in variety of works and are generally recognized. However, this symbol may be more complicated such as the whale in Moby Dick and the jungle in Heart of Darkness


the way an author chooses to join words into phrases, clauses, and sentences. ______ is similar to diction, but you can differentiate the two by thinking of _______ as referring to groups of words, while diction refers to individual words.


the central idea or message of a work, the insight it offers into life.


In expository writing, the ________ is the sentence or group of sentences that directly expresses the author's opinion, purpose, meaning, or proposition.


similar to mood, ______ describes the author's attitude toward his or her material, the audience, or both


a word or phrase that links different ideas


the ironic minimizing of fact, _____ presents something as less significant than it is. The effect can frequently be humorous and emphatic


a figure of speech by which an affirmation is made indirectly by denying its opposite. It uses understatement for emphasis, frequently with a negative assertion.


The Greek term for understatement or belittling; a rhetorical figure by which something is referred to in terms less important than it really deserves.


in modern usage, _____ is intellectually amusing language that surprises and delights

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

NEW! Voice Recording