How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

97 terms

Glossary of Grammar and Composition Terms

STUDY
PLAY
alliteration
the repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of consecutive words or syllables
allusion
an indirect reference, often to another text or a historic event
analogy
an extended comparison between two seemingly dissimilar things
anecdote
a short account of an interesting event
annotation
explanatory or critical notes added to a text
antecedent
the noun to which a later pronoun refers
antithesis
parallel structure that juxtaposes contrasting ideas
aphorism
a short, astute statement of a general truth
appositive
a word or phrase that renames a nearby noun or pronoun
archaic diction
the use of words common to an earlier time period; antiquated language
argument
a statement put forth and supported by evidence
assertion
an emphatic statement; declaration. An assertion supported by evidence becomes an argument
assumption
a belief or statement taken for granted without proof
asyndeton
leaving out conjunctions between words, phrases, clauses
attitude
the speaker's position on a subject as revealed through his or her tone
audience
one's listener or readership; those to whom a speech or piece of writing is addressed
authority
a reliable, respected source--someone with knowledge
bias
prejudice or predisposition toward one side of a subject or issue
cite
identifying a part of a piece of writing as being derived from a source
claim
an assertion, usually supported by evidence
close reading
a careful reading that is attentive to organization, figurative language, sentence structure, vocabulary, and other literary and structural element of a text
colloquialism
an informal or conversational use of language
compare
to examine similarities
common ground
shared beliefs, values, or positions
complex sentence
a sentence that includes one independent clause and at least one dependent clause
concession
a reluctant acknowledgment or yielding
connotation
that which is implied by a word, as opposed to the word's literal meaning
context
words, events, or circumstances that help determine meaning
contrast
to examine differences
coordination
grammatical equivalence between parts of a sentence, often through a coordination conjunction such as and, or but
counterargument
a challenge to a position; an opposing argument
credible
worthy of belief; trustworthy
cumulative sentence
an independent clause followed by subordinate clauses or phrases that supply addition detail
declarative sentence
a sentence that makes a statement
deduction
reasoning from general to specific
denotation
the literal meaning of a word; its dictionary definition
diction
word choice
documentation
bibliographic information about the sources used in a piece of writing
elegiac
mournful over what has passed or been lost; often used to describe tone
epigram
a brief witty statement
ethos
a greek term referring to the character of a person; one of Aristotle's three rhetorical appeals
explication of text
explanation of a text's meaning through an analysis of all of its constituent parts, including the literary devices used; also called close reading
facts
information that is true or demonstrable
figurative language
the use of tropes or figures of speech; going beyond literal meaning to achieve literary effect
figure of speech
an expression that strives for literary effect rather than conveying a literal meaning
fragment
a word, phrase, or clause that does not form a full sentence
hortatory
urging, or strongly encouraging
hyperbole
exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis
imagery
vivid use of language that evokes a reader's senses
imperative sentence
a sentence that requests or commands
induction
reasoning from specific to general
inversion
a sentence in which the verb precedes the subject
irony
a contradiction between what is said and what is meant; incongruity between action and result
juxtaposition
placement of two things side by side for emphasis
logos
a Greek term that means "word"; an appeal to logic; one of Aristotle's three rhetorical appeals
metaphor
a figure of speech or trope through which one thing is spoken of as though it were something else, thus making an implicit comparison
modifier
a word, phrase, or clause that qualifies or describes another word, phrase, or clause
narration
retelling an event or series of events
occasion
as aspect of context; the cause or reason for writing
omniscient narrator
an all-knowing, usually third-person narrator
oxymoron
a figure of speech that combines two contradictory terms
pacing
the relative speed or slowness with which a story is told or an idea is presented
paradox
a statement that seems contradictory but is actually true
parallelism
the repetition of similar grammatical or syntactical patterns
parody
a piece that imitates and exaggerates the prominent features of another; used for comic effect or ridicule
pathos
a greek term that refers to suffering but has come to be associated with broader appeals to emotion; one of Aristotle's three rhetorical appeals
persona
the speaker, voice, or character assumed by the author of a piece of writing
personification
assigning lifelike characteristics to inanimate objects
polemic
an argument against an idea, usually regarding philosophy, politics, or religion
premise; major, minor
two parts of a syllogism. the concluding sentence of a syllogism takes its predicate from the major premise and its subject from the minor premise. major premise: all mammals are worm-blooded. minor premise: all horses are mammals. conclusion: all horses are warm-blooded
pronoun
a word used to replace a noun or noun phrase
propaganda
a negative term for writing designed to sway opinion rather than present information
purpose
one's intention or objective in a speech or piece of writing
refute
to discredit and argument, particularly a counterargument
rhetoric
the study of effective, persuasive language use
rhetorical question
a question asked more to produce an effect than to summon an answer
satire
an ironic, sarcastic, or witty composition that claims to argue for something, but actually argues against it
scheme
pattern of words or sentence construction used for rhetorical effect
sentence patterns
the arrangement of independent and dependent clauses into known sentence constructions--such as simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex
sentence variety
using a variety of sentence patters to create a desired effect
simile
a figure of speech that uses "like" or "as" to compare two things
simple sentence
a statement containing a subject and predicate; an independent clause
source
a book, article, person, or other resource consulted for information
speaker
a term used for the author, speaker, or the person whose perspective is being advanced in a speech or piece of writing
style
the distinctive quality of speech or writing created by the selection and arrangement of words and figures of speech
subject
in rhetoric, the topic addressed in a piece of writing
subordinate clause
created by a subordinating conjunction, a clause that modifies an independent clause
syllogism
a form of deductive reasoning in which the conclusion is supported by a major and minor premise
syntax
sentence structure
synthesize
combining or bringing together two or more elements to produce something more complex
thesis
the central idea in a work to which all parts of the work refer
thesis statement
a statement of the central idea in a work, may be explicit or implicit
tone
the speaker's attitude toward the subject or audience
topic sentence
a sentence, most often appearing at the beginning of a paragraph, that announces the paragraph's idea and often unites it with the work's thesis
trope
artful diction; the use of language in a way that is not literal; also called a figure of speech
understatement
lack of emphasis in a statement or point; restraint in language often used for ironic effect
voice
in grammar, a term for the relationship between a verb and a noun. in rhetoric, a distinctive quality in the style and tone of writing