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the manner in which words are arranged into sentences

simple sentence

a sentence with one independent clause

compound sentence

Two main clauses, each with a verb, linked with a conjunction. Eg. "The sun shone and the children played on the beach"

periodic sentence

A sentence that presents its central meaning in a main clause at the end. The independent clause is preceded by a phrase or clause that cannot stand alone. The effect is to add emphasis and structural variety.


a word, phrase, or clause that does not form a full sentence

independent clause

clause that expresses a complete thought and can stand alone as a sentence. Ex. Kate noted the day's events in her journal.

dependent clause

does not express a complete thought and cannot stand alone as a sentence

subordinating conjunction

A word which joins together a dependent clause and an independent clause. Examples are although, because, while, etc.

comma splice

using a comma incorrectly to join two sentences. Ex. Mary walked home, she missed her ride. (There should be a semicolon or a comma with a conjunction between the two sentences.)


the use of a series of words, phrases, or sentences that have similar grammatical form


a writer's choice of words


the feelings or emotions surrounding a word


the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression


study of word parts; study of the origins of words


quality of a piece of writing in which all the parts contribute to the development of the central idea, theme, or organizing principle


The purpose of this type of rhetorical mode is to tell the story or narrate an event or series of events.


The purpose of this rhetorical mode is to re-create, invent, or visually present a person, place, event, or action so that the reader can picture that being described. Sometimes an author engages all five senses.

process analysis

a pattern of writing or speaking which is characterized by it's explanation of how to do something or how something occurs. It presents a sequence of steps and shows how those steps lead to a particular result. (Can be seen often in recipes or directional manuals, a discussion of steps)


The systematic study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.


the act of plagiarizing


Acronym for Modern Language Association, publisher of guidelines for research paper formats


a form of argumentation, one of the four modes of discourse; language intended to convince through appeals to reason or emotion.


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.")


the drawing of a conclusion through logic


a type of reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn from a series of facts (reason leads one to a conclusion apparent in the facts)


Any unsound or delusive mode of reasoning, or anything based on such reasoning.


drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect


a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with 'like' or 'as')


a figure of speech comparing to unlike things without using like or as


the act of revising or altering (involving reconsideration and modification)

coordinating conjunction

connects word or word groups that have equal importance in a sentence (and, but , or, for, so, yet, nor)

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