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absolute language

describes something but lacks degrees; characteristic can't be more or less, has to be yes or no
-help speaker convey confidence, self assurance, strong tone

ad hominem fallacy

litterally means "against the person"; part of argumentation, doesn't address soundness of another side's argument; attacks character of person conveying argument instead


indirect reference to commonly known thing, ie event, book, myth, place, art
-speaker can use as comparative tool to appeal to audience's emotions (pathos)


repetition of the last word (or phrase) from the previous line, clause, or sentence at the beginning of the next


similarity or comparison btwn 2 different thigns or relationship btwn them; can explain something unfamiliar by associating it w/ something familiar
-can make writing more vivid, imaginative, or intellectually engaging


repeating a word or phrase at beginning of successive clauses or sentences for emphasis and rhythm
-often used to place emphasis on or draw attention to what it said


repetition of words in successive clauses in reverse grammatical order
-often used to place emphasis on or draw attention to what is said


juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas, often in parallel structure
-used to show contrast or opposition of thoughts


concise statement of a principle of precept


leaving out the usual conjunctions btwn coordinate sentence elements
-emphasizes or creates specific rhythm or pace
-rush series of clauses together w/o conjunctions, as if tumbled togther by emotional haste


crossing parallelism, where 2nd part of grammatical construction is balanced or paralleled by first part, only in reverse order; instead of A,B structure paralleled by another A,B structure, A,B is followed by B,A
-often used to place emphasis on or draw attention to what is said

colloquial language

use of slang or informalities in speech or writing
-generally not acceptable for formal writing; gives conversational familiar tone

complex sentence

sentence with an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses

conditional sentence

sentence that focuses on a question of truth or fact, introduced by 'if' or its equivalent
-often works as method for speaker to appeal to audience's logic or common sense

cumulative sentence (loose sentence)

sentence that begins with independent clause and finishes with series of modifying constructions (phrases and/or clauses)

declarative sentence

sentence that makes a statement
-can communicate or emphasize thta speaker/writier is confident


repetition of group of words at end of successive clauses
-often used to place emphasis on what is said


exaggeration or embellishment for effect or to make a point


evokes particular sensations or emotionally rich experiences in reader; calls up sensations of sight, taste, smell, touch, heat, pressure
-make abstracts and/or feelings concrete; often carries rich connotative meanings

imperative sentence

gives a direct command to someone; can have implied subject "you"

independent clause

word group containing a subject and predicate that can stand alone as a sentence


placing 2 ideas, words, or pictures side by side so that their closeness creates a new, sometimes ironic meaning


implied comparison btwn 2 unlike things that doesn't use word 'like,' 'as,' 'so', or 'than'; most important of all tropes (figurative language)


figure of speech where a thing associated w/ a person, place, or thing stands in for the original thing


set of similarly structured words, phrases, or clauses that appears in sentence or paragraph; involves arrangement so that elements of equal importance are equally developed and similarly phrased
-can be used as rhythmic technique as a subtle repetition device emphasizing what is said and makes content more memorable


appeal to emotions or interests of audience so that they will be sympathetically inclined to accept a writer/speaker's afgument
-typically includes connotatively loaded diction, imagery, and/or figurative language to appeal to human emotions
-effect of emotional appeal often eclipses other appeals, so if writers want audience to act, not just reason, they often appeal to emotions

periodic sentence

sentence beginning w/ series of subordinate modifying phrases and clauses, often creating crescendo effect, and then ending w/ forceful independent clause
-sentence only makes sense when end of sentence is reached


figurative language which gives human qualitities and characteristics to non-human entities


use of many conjunctions to separate clauses and phrases; often serves as tool to manipulate narrative pace of writing
-tends t obe used to slow the pace; can also create sense of build-up or crescendo

qualifying language

word or sentence element limiting (or qualifying) another word, phrase, or clause

reductio ad absurdum

argumetative fallacy where proposition is disproven by following its implications logically to an absurd consequence

rhetorical question

question posed by speaker/writer not to seek an answer but instead to affirm or deny a point simply by asking a question about it
-used to draw attention to a point and is generally stronger than a direct statement; can appeal to audience's common sense or logic


explicit comparison btwn 2 unlike things signaled by use of 'like, as, so, than'

subordinate clause

group of words including a subject and verb but can't stand on its own as a sentence; linked to independent clause by subordinating conjunction or relative pronoun; can function as an adjective, adverb, noun


series of statements where a logical conclustion is drawn from inarguable premises


figure of speech where part of something is used to refer to its whole

understatement (aka litotes)

common figure of speech where literal sense of what is said falls detectably short of (or 'under') the magnitude of what is being talked about


figure of speech where one word, usually preposition or verb, yokes together 2 other elements that are unrelated


a word that's usually ironic and implies the exact oppposite of its literal meaning


entire work is one long metaphor; almost mawkish (sickly sentimental)


when words are left out and it's understood what is missing; ie "I am a man of conscience, of moral fiber."

indefinite pronoun

refers to a person, place, thing, or idea that may or may not be specifically named


statement that seems contradictory, but makes sense; extended version of oxymoron; ie my only love sprang from my only hate

situational irony

expect one thing, get something else; mostly in fiction

dramatic irony

reader knows something that characters don't; mostly in fiction

verbal irony

devices that create irony, ie antiphrasis; in fiction and non-fiction


one syllable, can manipulate to cater to audiences


multiple syllables, can manipulate to cater to audiences


pleasant sounding; onomatopoetic words, cater to audiences


sharp sounding words; onomatopoetic words, cater to audience


dictionary meaning


"picture" meaning


takes its time, paragraph writing


concentrated, ambiguity in word choice intended by authors


journalistic, without bias


may have bias


mostly nouns; tangible; able to touch, smell, hear


mostly nouns; not tangible; emotions, ideologies, philosophical


common "everyday" talk

pedantic/inflated/overly formal

very formal language; scholarly


swearing, double entendres


euphemisms (saying "not so nice" thinkgs in nice ways); generational


specific to certain fields; ie lawyers' jargon, computer geeks


worn out expressions


verancular, dialects


anything cerenomial or academic

simple sentence

one and only one independent clause, not necessarily short sentences-adding prepositional and infinitives

compound sentence

2+ indpendent clauses, generally joined by FANBOYS and comma

compound-complex sentence

2+ independent clauses and 2+ dependent clauses

exclamatory sentence

declarative sentence with exclamation point


questions (include rhetorical questions)

natural/basic sentence

start with subject, then verb

parallel sentence

listing of 2+ things in grammatic form; similar structure

balanced sentence

parallel structure-only 2 things in comparison or contrast with grammatic equivalency; ie parallel word phrases, clause structure, paragraph

interrupted sentence

ie using dashes, ellipses, part of dialogue to interrupt something

inverted sentence

stars with verb, then subject; ie Stand I. vs. I stand; corrupting natural order


specialized kinds of antithesis; pairing of 2 words; ie jumbo shrimp


ie Merriwether Lewis; can reveal a style; ie journalistic

apposition (appositive)

modifies noun, set apart by commas


another form of apposition, just set in paranthesis instead of commas; interrupter; additional information


use same word or phrase at beginning and end of sentence


repetition of vowel sounds; ie hoop, scoop, droop


repetition of consonant sounds anywhere in words; ie killer, locked


repetition of consonant sounds at beginning of words; ie killer crept closer


batman words; ie pow, shazam, zowie

zeugma (specifically, mesozeugma)

yoking together 2 unlike things with either verb or preposition


comic zeugma

spatial organization

arrangement of ideas in a speech according to location or position

chronological organization

ordering ideas by time

logical/syllogistic organization


parallel organization


balanced organization


juxtaposed/antithetical organization


periodic organization


aphoristic organization


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