100 terms

Top 100 AP Language terms

Allegory The device of using character and/or story elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in addition to the literal meaning. In some allegories, for example, an author may intend the characters to personify an abstraction like hope or freedom. The allegorical meaning usually deals with moral truth or a generalization about human existence. Alliteration The repetition of sounds, especially initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words (as in "she sells sea shells"). Altho…
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Allegory
The device of using character and/or story elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in addition to the literal meaning. In some allegories, for example, an author may intend the characters to personify an abstraction like hope or freedom. The allegorical meaning usually deals with moral truth or a generalization about human existence.

A story in which each aspect of the story has a symbolic meaning outside the tale itself.
Alliteration
The repetition of sounds, especially initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words (as in "she sells sea shells"). Although the term is not frequently in the multiple choice section, you can look for alliteration in any essay passage. The repetition can reinforce meaning, unify ideas, supply a musical sound, and/or echo the sense of the passage.
Allusion
A direct or indirect reference to something which is presumably commonly known, such as an event, book, myth, place, or work of art. Allusions can be historical, literary, religious, topical, or mythical. There are many more possibilities, and a work may simultaneously use multiple layers of allusion.
Ambiguity
The multiple meanings, either intentional or unintentional, of a word, phrase, sentence, or passage.
Analogy
A similarity or comparison between two different things or the relationship between them. An analogy can explain something unfamiliar by associating it with or pointing out its similarity to something more familiar. Analogies can also make writing more vivid, imaginative, or intellectually engaging.
Antecedent
The word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun. The AP language exam occasionally asks for the antecedent of a given pronoun in a long, complex sentence or in a group of sentences. A question from the 2001 AP test as an example follows: "But it is the grandeur of all truth which can occupy a very high place in human interests that it is never absolutely novel to the meanest of minds; it exists eternally, by way of germ of latent principle, in the lowest as in the highest, needing to be developed but never to be planted."
Antithesis
the opposition or contrast of ideas; the direct opposite.
Aphorism
A terse statement of known authorship which expresses a general truth or a moral principle. (If the authorship is unknown, the statement is generally considered to be a folk proverb.) An aphorism can be a memorable summation of the author's point
Apostrophe
A prayer like figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or a personified abstraction, such as liberty or love. It is an address to someone or something that cannot answer. The effect may add familiarity or emotional intensity. William Wordsworth addresses John Milton as he writes, "Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour: England hath need of thee." Another example is Keats' "Ode to a Grecian Urn," in which Keats addresses the urn itself: rarely on an AP exam, but important when there. ALWAYS Pathos
Atmosphere
The emotional nod 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. Even such elements as a description of the weather can contribute to the atmosphere. Frequently atmosphere foreshadows events. Perhaps it can create a mood.
Caricature
a verbal description, the purpose of which is to exaggerate or distort, for comic effect, a person's distinctive physical features or other characteristics. Example: The pupils of her eyes are small; like a pebble of sand floating atop a can of blue paint.
Clause
A grammatical unit that contains both a subject and a verb. An independent, or main, clause expresses a complete thought and can stand alone as a sentence. A dependent, or subordinate clause, cannot stand alone as a sentence and must be accompanied by an independent clause. The point that you want to consider is the question of what or why the author subordinates one element should also become aware of making effective use of subordination in your own writing.
Colloquial/Colloquialism
The use of slang or informalities in speech or writing. Not generally acceptable for formal writing, colloquialisms give a work a conversational, familiar tone. Colloquial expressions in writing include local or regional dialect
Literary Conceit
A fanciful expression, usually in the form of an extended metaphor or surprising analogy between seemingly dissimilar objects Displays intellectual cleverness through unusual comparisons that make good sense
Connotation
The non-literal, associative meaning of a word; the implied, suggested meaning. Connotations may involve ideas, emotions or attitudes
Denotation
The strict, literal, dictionary definition of a word, devoid of any emotion, attitude, or color. (Example: the denotation of knife- a utensil for cutting - Connotation - knife - such as knife in the back - anger fear violence betrayal
Diction
Related to style, diction refers to the writer's word choices, especially with regard to their correctness, clearness, or effectiveness. FOR AP EXAMSyou should be able to describe the uthors diction and understand how it compliments his purpose (along iwth imagery syntax, literary devices, etc)
Didactic
From the Greek, didactic literally means "teaching." Didactic words have the primary aim of teaching or instructing,especially the teaching of moral or ethical principles.
Euphemism
From the Greek for "good speech," euphemisms are a more agreeable or less offensive substitute for a generally unpleasant word or concept - POLITICALLY CORRECT
Extended Metaphor
A metaphor developed at great length, occurring frequently in or throughout a work.
Figurative Language
Writing or speech that is not intended to carry literal meaning and is usually meant to be imaginative and vivid
Figure of speech
A device used to produce figurative language. Many compare dissimilar things. Figures of speech include apotrophe hyperbole irony metaphor oxymoron paradox personification simile syneddoche understatement
Generic conventions
This term describes traditions for each genre. These conventions help to define each genre; for example, and differentiate an essay they differentiate they differentiate an essay and journalistic writing or an autobiography and political writing. On the AP language exam,try to distinguish the unique features of a writer's work from those dictated by convention.
Genre
The major category into which a literary work fits. The basic divisions of literature are prose, poetry, and drama.However, genre is a flexible term; within these broad boundaries exist many subdivisions that are often called genresthemselves. For example, prose can be divided into fiction (novels and short stories) or nonfiction (essays, biographies,autobiographies, etc.). Poetry can be divided into lyric, dramatic, narrative, epic, etc. Drama can be divided into tragedy,comedy, melodrama, farce, etc. On the AP language exam, expect the majority of the passages to be from the following genres: autobiography, biography, diaries, criticism, essays, and journalistic, political, scientific, and nature writing. There may be fiction or poetry.
Homily
This term literally means "sermon," but more informally, it can include any serious talk, speech, or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice.
Hyperbole
A figure of speech using deliberate exaggeration or overstatement. (The literal Greek meaning is "overshoot.") Hyperboles often have a comic effect; however, a serious effect is also possible. Often, hyperbole produces irony. The opposite of hyperbole is understatement.
Imagery
The sensory details or figurative language used to describe, arouse emotion, or represent abstractions. On a physical level, imagery uses terms related to the five senses: visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, and olfactory. On a broader and deeper level, however, one image can represent more than one thing. For example, a rose may present visual imagery while also representing the color in a woman's cheeks and/or symbolizing some degree of perfection. An author may use complex imagery while simultaneously employing other figures of speech, especially metaphor and simile. In addition, this term can apply to the total of all the images in a work. On the AP language exam, pay attention to how an author creates imagery and to the effect of this imagery.
Inference/infer
To draw a reasonable conclusion from the information presented. When a multiple choice question asks for an inference to be drawn from a passage, the most direct, most reasonable inference is the safest answer choice. If an inference is implausible, it's unlikely to be the correct answer. Note that if the answer choice is directly stated, it is not inferred and it is wrong. You must be careful to note the connotation - negative or positive - of the choices. Adapted from V. Stevenson, Patrick Henry High School, and Abrams' Glossary of Literary Terms
Invective
an emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack using strong, abusive language. (For example, in Henry IV, Part hill of flesh.")
Irony/ironic
The contrast between what is stated explicitly and what is really meant, or the difference between what appears to be and what is actually true. Irony is often used to create poignancy or humor. In general, there are three major types of irony used in language: (1) verbal irony - when the words literally state the opposite of the writer's (or speaker's) meaning (2) situational irony - when events turn out the opposite of what was expected; when what the characters and readers think ought to happen is not what does happen (3) dramatic irony - when 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.
Loose sentence/non-periodic sentence
A type of sentence in which the main idea (independent clause) comes first, followed by dependent grammatical units such as phrases and clauses. If a period were placed at the end of the independent clause, the clause would be a complete sentence. A work containing many loose sentences often seems informal, relaxed, or conversational. Generally, loose sentences create loose style. The opposite of a loose sentence is the periodic sentence. Example: I arrived at the San Diego airport after a long, bumpy ride and multiple delays. Could stop at: I arrived at the San Diego airport.
Metaphor
A figure of speech using implied comparison of seemingly unlike things or the substitution of one for the other, suggesting some similarity. Metaphorical language makes writing more vivid, imaginative, thought provoking, and meaningful.
Metonymy
(mĕtŏn′ ĭmē) A term from the Greek meaning "changed label" or "substitute name," metonymy is a figure of speech in which the name of one object is substituted for that of another closely associated with it. For example, a news release that claims "the White House declared" rather than "the President declared" is using metonymy; Shakespeare uses it to signify the male and female sexes in As You Like It: "doublet and hose ought to show itself courageous to petticoat." The substituted term generally carries a more potent emotional impact.
Mood
The prevailing atmosphere or emotional aura of a work. Setting, tone, and events can affect the mood. Mood is similar to tone and atmosphere.
Narrative
The telling of a story or an account of an event or series of events.
onomatopoeia
A figure of speech in which natural sounds are imitated in the sounds of words. Simple examples include such words as buzz, hiss, hum, crack, whinny, and murmur. If you note examples of onomatopoeia in an essay passage, note the effect.
Oxymoron
From the Greek for "pointedly foolish," an oxymoron is a figure of speech wherein the author groups apparently contradictory terms to suggest a paradox. Simple examples include "jumbo shrimp" and "cruel kindness." This term does not usually appear in the multiple-choice questions, but there is a chance that you might find it in an essay. Take note of the effect that the author achieves with the use of oxymoron.
Paradox
A statement that appears to be self-contradictory or opposed to common sense but upon closer inspection contains some degree of truth or validity. (Think of the beginning of Dickens' Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....")
Parallelism
Also referred to as parallel construction or parallel structure, this term comes from Greek roots meaning "beside one another." It refers to the grammatical or rhetorical framing of words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs to give structural similarity. This can involve, but is not limited to, repetition of a grammatical element such as a preposition or verbal times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of believe, it was the epoch of incredulity....") The effects of parallelism are numerous, but frequently they act as an organizing force to attract the reader's attention, add emphasis and organization, or simply provide a musical rhythm. Adapted from V. Stevenson, Patrick Henry High School, and Abrams' Glossary of Literary Terms
Parody
A work that closely imitates the style or content of another with the specific aim of comic effect and/or ridicule. It exploits peculiarities of an author's expression (propensity to use too many parentheses, certain favorite words, etc.) Well-written parody offers enlightenment about the original, but poorly written parody offers only ineffectual imitation. nuances of the newer work. Occasionally, however, parodies take on a life of their own and don't require knowledge of the original.
Pedantic
An adjective that describes words, phrases, or general tone that is overly scholarly, academic, or bookish (language that might be described as "show-offy"; using big words for the sake of using big words).
Periodic sentence
The opposite of loose sentence, a sentence that presents its central meaning in a main clause at the end. This independent clause is preceded by a phrase or clause that cannot stand alone. The effect of a periodic sentence is to add emphasis and structural variety. It is also a much stronger sentence than the loose sentence. (Example: After a long, bumpy flight and multiple delays, I arrived at the San Diego airport.)
Personification
A figure of speech in which the author presents or describes concepts, animals, or inanimate objects by endowing them with human attributes or emotions. Personification is used to make these abstractions, animals, or objects appear more vivid to the reader.
Point of view
In literature, the perspective from which a story is told. There are two general divisions of point of view, and many subdivisions within those. (1) first person narrator tells the story with the first person pronoun, "I," and is a character in the story. This narrator can be the protagonist, a secondary character, or an observing character. (2) third person narrator relates the events with the third person pronouns, "he," "she," and "it." There are two main subdivisions to be aware of: a. third person omniscient, in which the narrator, with godlike knowledge, presents the thoughts and actions of any or all characters b. third person limited omniscient, in which the narrator presents the feelings and thoughts of only one character, presenting only the actions of all the remaining characters. In addition, be aware that the term point of view carries an additional meaning. When you are asked to analyze the author's point of view, the appropriate point for you to address is the author's attitude.
Prose
one of the major divisions of genre, prose refers to fiction and nonfiction, including all its forms. In prose the printer determines the length of the line; in poetry, the poet determines the length of the line.
Repetition
The duplication, either exact or approximate, of any element of language, such as a sound, word, phrase, clause, sentence, or grammatical pattern.
Rhetoric
From the Greek for "orator," this term describes the principles governing the art of writing effectively, eloquently, and persuasively.
Rhetorical modes
This flexible term describes the variety, the conventions, and the purposes of the major kinds of writing. The four most common rhetorical modes (often referred to as "modes of discourse") are as follows: (1) The purpose of exposition (or expository writing) is to explain and analyze information by presenting an idea, relevant evidence, and appropriate discussion. The AP language exam essay questions are frequently expository topics. (2) The purpose of argumentation is to prove the validity of an idea, or point of view, by presenting sound reasoning, an additional aim of urging some form of action. (3) The purpose of description is to recreate, 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 in description; good descriptive writing can be sensuous and picturesque. Descriptive writing may be straightforward and objective or highly emotional an subjective. (4) The purpose of narration is to tell a story or narrate an event or series of events. This writing mode frequently uses the tools of descriptive writing. Adapted from V. Stevenson, Patrick Henry High School, and Abrams' Glossary of Literary Terms
Sarcasm
From the Greek meaning "to tear flesh," sarcasm 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 sarcastic (that is, intended to ridicule). When well done, sarcasm can be witty and insightful; when poorly done, it is simply cruel.
Satire
A work that targets human vices and follies or social institutions and conventions for reform or ridicule. Regardless of whether or not the work aims to reform human behavior, satire is best seen as a style of writing rather than a purpose for writing. It can be recognized by the many devices used effectively by the satirist: irony, wit, parody, caricature, often humorous, is thought provoking and insightful about the human condition. Some modern satirists include Joseph Heller (Catch 22) and Kurt Vonnegut (Cat's Cradle, Player Piano).
Style
The consideration of style has two purposes: (1) An evaluation of the sum of the choices an author makes in blending diction, syntax, figurative language, and other We can analyze and describe an author's personal style and make judgments on how appropriate it is to the author's purpose. Styles can be called flowery, explicit, succinct, rambling, bombastic, commonplace, incisive, laconic, etc. (2) Classification of authors to a group and comparison of an author to similar authors. By means of such classification and comparison, we can see how an author's style reflects and helps to define a historical period, such as the Renaissance or the Victorian period, or a literary movement, such as the romantic, transcendental, or realist movement.
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 (the predicate nominative) or (2) describing it (the predicate adjective). These are defined below: (1) the predicate nominative - a noun, group of nouns, or noun clause that renames the subject. It, like the predicate adjective, follows a linking verb and is located in the predicate of the sentence. Example: Julia Roberts is a movie star. movie star = predicate nominative, as it renames the subject, Julia Roberts (2) the predicate adjective -- an adjective, a group of adjectives, or adjective clause that follows a linking verb. It is in the predicate of the sentence, and modifies, or describes, the subject. Example: Warren remained optimistic. optimistic = predicate adjective, as it modifies the subject, Warren
Subordinate clause
Like all clauses, this word group contains both a subject and a verb (plus any accompanying phrases or modifiers), but unlike the independent clause, the subordinate clause cannot stand alone; it does not express a complete thought. Also called a dependent clause, the subordinate clause depends on a main clause (or independent clause) to complete its meaning. Easily recognized key words and phrases usually begin these clauses. For example: although, because, unless, if, even though, since, as soon as, while, who, when, where, how and that. Example: Yellowstone is a national park in the West that is known for its geysers. underlined phrase = subordinate clause
Syllogism
From the Greek for "reckoning together," a syllogism (or syllogistic reasoning or syllogistic logic) is a deductive system of formal logic that presents two premises (the first one called "major" and the second called "minor") that inevitably lead to a sound conclusion. A frequently cited example proceeds as follows: major premise: All men are mortal. minor premise: Socrates is a man. conclusion: Therefore, Socrates is a mortal. A syllogism's conclusion is valid only if each of the two premises is valid. Syllogisms may also present the specific idea first ("Socrates") and the general second ("all men"). Adapted from V. Stevenson, Patrick Henry High School, and Abrams' Glossary of Literary Terms
Symbol/symbolism
Generally, anything that represents itself and stands for something else. Usually a symbol is something concrete -- such as an object, action, character, or scene - that represents something more abstract. However, symbols (1) natural symbols are objects and occurrences from nature to symbolize ideas commonly associated with them (dawn symbolizing hope or a new beginning, a rose symbolizing love, a tree symbolizing knowledge). (2) conventional symbols are those that have been invested with meaning by a group (religious symbols such as a cross or Star of David; national symbols, such as a flag or an eagle; or group symbols, such as a skull and crossbones for pirates or the scale of justice for lawyers). (3) literary symbols are sometimes also conventional in the sense that they are found in a variety of works and are more generally recognized. However, a work's symbols may be more complicated, as is the jungle in Heart of Darkness. On the AP exam, try to determine what abstraction an object is a symbol for and to what extent it is successful in representing that abstraction.
Syntax
The way an author chooses to join words into phrases, clauses, and sentences. Syntax is similar to diction, but you can differentiate them by thinking of syntax as groups of words, while diction refers to the individual words. In the multiplechoice section of the AP exam, expect to be asked some questions about how an author manipulates syntax. In the essay section, you will need to analyze how syntax produces effects.
Theme
The central idea or message of a work, the insight it offers into life. Usually theme is unstated in fictional works, but in nonfiction, the theme may be directly state, especially in expository or argumentative writing.
Thesis
In expository writing, the thesis statement is the sentence or group of sentences that directly expresses the author's opinion, purpose, meaning, or position. Expository writing is usually judged by analyzing how accurately, effectively,and thoroughly a writer has proven the thesis.
Tone
Similar to mood, tone describes the author's attitude toward his material, the audience, or both. Tone is easier to determine in spoken language than in written language. Considering how a work would sound if it were read aloud can help in identifying an author's tone. Some words describing tone are playful, serious, businesslike, sarcastic, humorous, formal, ornate, sardonic, somber, etc.
Transition
A word or phrase that links different ideas. Used especially, although not exclusively, in expository and argumentative writing, transitions effectively signal a shift from one idea to another. A few commonly used transitional words or phrases are furthermore, consequently, nevertheless, for example, in addition, likewise, similarly, on the contrary, etc. More sophisticated writers use more subtle means of transition.
Understatement
the ironic minimalizing of fact, understatement presents something as less significant than it is. The effect can frequently be humorous and emphatic. Understatement is the opposite of hyperbole. Example: Jonathan Swift's A Tale of a Tub: "Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse."
Wit
in modern usage, intellectually amusing language that surprises and delights. A witty statement is humorous, while suggesting the speaker's verbal power in creating ingenious and perceptive remarks. Wit usually uses terse language that makes a pointed statement. Historically, wit originally meant basic understanding. Its meaning evolved to include speedof understanding, and finally, it grew to mean quick perception including creative fancy and a quick tongue to articulate an answer that demanded the same quick perception.
Ad Hominem
An attack on the person rather than the issue at hand - a common fallacy - common in elections
Chisamus
'chi structure' unlike abab / language listed in an abba form:

Ask not what your country
Can do for you,
But what you
Can do for your country
Malapropism
a word humorously misused: Example, he is the AMPLE of her eye... instead of ' he is the APPLE of her eye,
Parallelism (parallel syntax)
a pattern of language that creates a rhythm of repetition often combined with some other language of repetition. Like a train gaining momentum.

Ex: When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
Poisoning the Well
Discrediting a person's claim by presenting unfavorable information (true or false) about the person. Person B attacking Person A before Person A can make his/her claim. Example: 'John, an abusive alcoholic, will now give his argument for the legalization of public drinking'.
Slippery Slope
This is the failure to provide evidence to support a claim that one event will lead to a catastrophic chain of events.
straw man
When a writer argues against a claim that nobody actually holds or is universally considered weak.
Ethos
One of the fundamental strategies of argumentation identified by Aristotle. Ethos is basically an appeal to credibility. The writer is seeking to convince you that he or she has the background, history, skills, and/or expertise to speak on the issue. Whenever you encounter an ethos argument, always ask yourself is the credibility is substantiated and valid. An essay advocating policy changes on drug rehabilitation programs is more powerful is the person is a former addict or customer in a current rehab program.
Juxtaposition
Making on idea more dramatic by placing it next to its opposite. In art it is called chiaroscuro, where a bright white object is placed next to a black object and thus both are made more visible. My goodness is often chastened by my sense of sin, or The Gasoline savings from a hybrid car as compared to a standard car seem excellent until one compares the asking prices of the two vehicles. The juxtaposition of the asking prices shows that the savings are not as significant as they first appear.
Logos
An appeal to reason. Logos is one of the fundamental strategies of argumentation identified by Aristotle. It occurs when a writer tries to convince you of the logic of his argument. writers may use inductive argumentation or deductive argumentation, but they clearly have examples and generally rational tome to their language. The problem with logos is that is can appear reasonable until you dissect the argument and then find fallacies that defeat the viability of the argument on the reader's eyes. Of course, that presupposes that the readers is able to identify the fallacies.
Pathos
An appeal to emotion. This is one of the fundamental strategies of argumentation identified by Aristotle. Typically, pathos arguments may use loaded words to make you feel guilty, lonely, worried, insecure, or confused. The easiest way to remember whats pathos arguments are is to see most advertising as a form of pathos argument.
Predicate Adjective
Am adjective that follows a linking web and modifies the subject of the sentence. The gigantic whirlpool was inky black, and there was no moon.
Rhetorical Question
A question whose answer is assumed, a rhetorical question is designed to force the reader to respond in a predetermined manner and is a significant tool in the study of rhetoric. One of the most basic purposes for rhetorical questions is cheerleading. Rhetorical questions, therefor, propel an argument emotionally. They often look like extensions of a logical argument, but more often than not, they are setting you up to agree with the writer. As with a parallel syntax, rhetorical questions are excellent devices to use in the development of your own essay writing. As graders, we notice when you use them- if you use them to effectively nurture your argument. There are some types of rhetorical questions, but they always follow the same basic pattern: the writer ask herself something and then answers the question in the next sentence or paragraph. Another form is when the question functions as an ironic assault on the writer's adversaries. This kind if rhetorical question can have many uses, and you should notice its function whenever you encounter one in nonfiction prose. Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? Who's afraid of the jolly green giant? Are we? No!!!
Simile
A critical figure of speech in an argument when what is unknown is compared to something that is known using the word "like," "as," or "than" in order to better perceive its importance. Remember the ripple effect and look for patterns in similes and metaphors in any piece of nonfiction prose. The troll's fishing technique was like a mercenary throwing bombs in the water to catch trout.
rhetorical appeal
the persuasive devices by which a writer tries to sway an audience's attention and response to any given work. See logos, ethos, and pathos.
concrete detail
Strictly defined, concrete refers to nouns that name physical objects, -a bridge. a book, or a coat. Concrete nouns are the opposite of abstract nouns (which refer to concepts like freedom and love). However, as used in the essay portion of the AP Language and Composition Exam. this term has a slightly different connotation. The direc tions may read sometbing like this: "Provide concrete details that will convince the reader." This means that your essay should include details in the passage; at times, you' ll be allowed I() provide details from your own life (readings, obser· vations, experiences, and so forth).
descriptive detail
When an essay uses this phrase, look for the writer's sensory description. Descriptive detail appealing to the visual sense is usually tbe most predominant, but don't overlook other sensory details. As usual, after you identify a passage's descriptive details, analyze their effect.
devices
The figures of speecb, syntax, diction, and other stylistic elements that collectively produce a particular artistic effect.
narrative devices
This term describes the tools of the storyteller (also used in nonfiction), such as ordering events so that they build to a climactic moment or withholding infomlation until a crucial or appropriate momcnt when revealing it creates a desired effect On the essay portion of the exam, this lerm may also apply to biographical and autobiographical writing.
narrative techniques
The style of telling the "story," even if the passage is nonfiction. Concentrate on the order of events and on their detail in evaluating a writer's technique.
sentence structure
When an essay question asks you to analyze sentence structure, look at the type of sentences the author uses. Remember that the basic sentence structures are simple, compound, and complex and variations created with sentence combining. Also consider variation or lack of it in sentence length, any unusual devices in sentence construction, such as repetition or inverted word order, and any unusual word or phrase placement with all devices, be prepared to discuss the effect of the sentence structure. For example, a series of short, simple sentences or phrases can produce a feeling of speed and choppiness. which may suit the author's purpose.
stylistic devices
An essay prompt that mentions stylistic devices is asking you to note and analyze all of the elements in language that contribute to style-such as diction, syntax, tone, attitude, figures of speech, connotations, and repetition.
Ad hominem argument
An argument attacking an individual's character rather than his or her position on an issue
Anadiplosis
Figure of repetition that occurs when the last word or terms in one sentence, clause, or phrase is/are repeated at or very near the beginning of the next sentence, clause, or phrase.
Anaphora
Figure of repetition that occurs when the first word or set of words in one sentence, clause, or phrase is/are repeated at or very near the beginning of successive sentences, clauses, or phrases; repetition of the initial words over successive phrases or clauses
Anathema
(n.) an object of intense dislike; a curse or strong denunciation (often used adjectivally without the article)
Anecdote
A brief story that illustrates or makes a point
Antimeria
the substitution of one part of speech for another
Antimetabole
Figure of emphasis in which the words in one phrase or clause are replicated, exactly or closely, in reverse grammatical order in the next phrase or clause; a chiasmus on the level of words (A-B, B-A). For example, "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country" (JFK).
Appeal to authority
A fallacy in which a speaker or writer seeks to persuade not by giving evidence but by appealing to the respect people have for a famous person or institution.
Argumentation
one of the four forms of discourse which uses logic, ethics, and emotional appeals (logos, ethos, pathos) to develop an effective means to convince the reader to think or act in a certain way.
Assonance
Repetition of a vowel sound within two or more words in close proximity
Asyndeton
A series of words separated by commas (with no conjunction), e.g. "I came, I saw, I conquered." The parts of the sentence are emphasized equally; in addition, the use of commas with no intervening conjunction speeds up the flow of the sentence.
attitude
A speaker's, author's, or character's disposition toward or opinion of a subject.
audience
One's listener or readership; those to whom a speech or piece of writing is addressed.
Balanced sentence
A sentence in which words, phrases, or clauses are set off against each other to emphasize a contrast
Begging the question
Often called circular reasoning, __ occurs when the believability of the evidence depends on the believability of the claim.
epistrophe (epiphora)
Figure of repetition that occurs when the last word or set of words in one sentence, clause, or phrase is/are repeated at or very near the end of successive sentences, clauses, or phrases; repetition of the final words over successive phrases or clauses

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