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abstract language

language describing ideas and qualities rather than specific things, people, or places. Usually described as concrete language

active voice

the subject of the sentence performs the action. this is a more direct/preferred style of writing in most cases


an indirect reference (usually literary text but can be to other commonly known things) with which the reader is supposed to be familiar


an event or situation that may be interpreted in more than one way. Also, the manner of expression of such an event or situation may be ambiguous. Artful language may be ambiguous.


a comparison to a directly parallel case. When a writer uses an analogy, she argues that a claim reasonable for one case is reasonable for the analogous case.


a brief recounting of a relevant episode (often used to develop point or inject humor)


explanatory notes added to a text to explain, clarify, or prompt further


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


a figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or personified abstraction, such as liberty or love. the effect adds familiarity or emotional intensity

attitude of the author



art or literature characterized by a realistic view of people and the world, sticks to traditional themes and structures (see romanticism)

concrete language

language that describes specific, observable things, people or places, rather than ideas or qualities (see abstract language)


word choice, particularly as an element of style. Different types of words have significant effects. (types=formal, informal, ornate or plain)


ordinary or familiar type of conversation


rather then a dictionary definition (denotation), it is the implied meaning rather than the littler meaning. (EX: policeman, cop, and the man all denote the same literal meaning of a police officer, but each has a different connotation


literla meaning (dictionary def) of a word


diction used by a group of people (chemists, soccer players, etc)


1. language or dialect of a particular country 2. language or dialect of a regional clan or group 3. plain everyday speech


a term used to describe fiction, nonfiction or poetry that teaches a specific lesson or moral or provides a model of correct behavior or thinking


a folk saying with a lesson-"a rolling stone gathers no moss"


a story, fictional or non fictional, in which characters, things, and events represent qualities or concepts. the interaction of these characters, things, and events is meant to reveal an abstraction or truth (EX: Animal Farm by George Orwell)


a terse statement which expresses a general truth or moral principal.


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


the deliberate omission of a word or phrase from prose done for effect by the author


a short poem with a clever twist at the end, or a concise and witty statement


a quotation or aphorism at the beginning of a literary work suggestive of theme


a more agreeable or less offensive substitute for generally unpleasant words or concepts. sometimes they are used for political correctness. (EX: Vertically challenged=short)


the act of interpreting or discover the meaning of a text. Attention to close reading and the use of rhetorical devices

figurative language

writing that is not meant to be taking literally


exaggeration-"my mother would kill me if i am late"


a common, often used expression that doesn't make sense if you take it literally-"i got chewed out by my couch"


making an implied comparison (not using like or as)-"my feet are popsicles"


using words such as like or as to make a direct comparison between two very different things-"my feet are so cold they feel like popsicles"


giving human-like qualities to something that is not human-"the tired old truck groaned as it inched up the hill


the major category into which a literary work fits


writing characterized by gloom, mystery, fear, and/or death


word or words that create a picture in the reader's mind. usually involves the 5 senses -conveys info on characters


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


when the opposite of what you expect to happen does

verbal irony

when you say something and mean the opposite/something different.

dramatic irony

when the audience of a drama, play, movie, etc know something that the character doesn't and would be surprised to find out

situational irony

found in the plot of a book, story, or movie. Sometimes it makes you laugh because its funny how things turn out


placing things side by side for the purposes of comparison


atmosphere created by the literature and accomplished through diction or syntax (word order/sentence length/etc)


an authors stance that distances himself from personal involvement


when apparently contradictory terms are grouped together and suggest a paradox "jumbo shrimp"


a seemingly contradictory statement which is actually true


aka parallel structure-sentence construction which places equal grammatical constructions near each other, or repeats identical grammatical patterns


repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row. "I came, I saw, I conquered"


two opposite or contrasting words, phrases, or clauses, or even ideas, with parallel structure."it was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

parenthetical idea

parentheses are used to set off an idea from the rest of the sentence. it is almost considered a side whisper, and should be used sparingly.


an exaggerated imitation of a serious work for humorous purposes. it borrows words or phrases from an original, and pokes fun at it. this is a form of allusion. EX: snl parodies famous persons and events

passive voice

the subject of the sentence receives the action. when possible, focus on active voice.


observing struct adherence to formal rules or literal meaning at the expense of a wider view. this can also refer to the author's tone as overly scholarly and academic


the fictional mask or narrator that tells the story


the art of effective communication

rhetorical question

question not asked for information but for effect


art or literature characterized by an idealistic, perhaps unrealistic view of people and the world, and an emphasis on nature. does not rely on traditional themes and structures


a generally bitter comment that is ironically worded. Usually a way of ridicule


a work that reveals a critical attitude toward some element of life to a humorous effect. it targets human vices and follies, or social institutions and conventions. it usually uses wit, irony, parody, caricature, hyperbole, and sarcasm. Funny AND thought provoking


group of words that expresses a complete thought


grammatical unit that contains both a subject and a verb

simple sentence

contains one independent clause

compound sentence

contains at least two independent clauses but no dependent clause

complex sentence

contains one independent clause and at least one dependent clause

compound-complex sentence

contains two o more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause

balanced sentence

one in which two parallel elements are set off against each other like equal weights on a scale

loose sentence

a complex sentence in which the main clause coomes first and the subordinate clause follows

periodic sentence

when the main idea is not completed until the end of the sentence. the writer begins with subordinate elements and postpones the main clause.

declarative sentence

states an idea. it does not give a command or request, nor does it ask a question-"the ball is round"

imperative sentence

issues a command-"kick the ball"

interrogative sentence

sentences incorporating interrogative pronouns (what, which, who, whom, and whose) "to whom did you kick the ball?"


the choices in diciton, tone, and syntax the writer makes


anything that represents or stands for something else

syntax/sentence variety

grammatical arrangement/grouping of words


the central idea or message of a work. rarely stated in fiction


a writers attitude toward his subject matter revealed through diction, figurative language, and organization


smooth movement from one paragraph (or idea) to another. words and ideas are used to connect two distinct and separate ideas and or paragraphs.


the ironic minimizing of fact, understatement presents something as less significant than it is


particular form of understatement, generated by denying the opposite of the statement which otherwise would be used. EX: hitting that telephone pole certainly didnt do your ear any good

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