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Rhetorical terms on the Fall 2011 APLang exam.


an expressive style that uses fictional characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances


a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize


a literary device employed to serve as a basis for comparison. It is assumed that what applies to the parallel situation also applies to the original circumstance. In other words, it is the comparison between two different items.


Repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row.


A brief account of some interesting or amusing incident, especially one containing biographical or historical details


The word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers


Parallel structure that juxtaposes contrasting ideas


the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt


a technique by which a writer addresses an inanimate object, an idea, or a person who is either dead or absent.


(n.) a strong denunciation or condemnation; abusive language; (adj.) abusive, vituperative


the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; or, incongruity between what is expected and what actually happens

Verbal Irony

A discrepancy between the true meaning of a situation and the literal meaning of the written or spoken words.

Situational Irony

An outcome that turns out to be very different from what was expected, the difference between what is expected to happen and what actually does

Loose Sentence

a complex sentence in which the main clause comes first and the subordinate clause(s) follow(s).


A figure of speech in which something is referred to by using the name of something that is associated with it.


A figure of speech consisting of two apparently contradictory terms (ex. deafening silence)


A statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.


The use of phrases, clauses, or sentences that are similar or complementary in structure or in meaning.


A work that closely imitates the style or content of another with the specific aim of comic effect and/or ridicule.

Periodic Sentence

A complex sentence in which the main clause comes last and is preceded by the subordinate clause.


The art or study of effective use of language for communication and persuasion.


A form of literature in which irony, sarcasm, and ridicule are employed to attack human vice and folly.


The quality of something (an act or a piece of writing) that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author.


Sentence consisting of three parts of equal importance and length, usually three independent clauses.

Carl Steven

Carl Steven

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