149 terms

Apex Learning English Key Terms

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active voice
Language in which the subject of the sentence performs the action of the verb.
ad hominem
A fallacy in which someone attacks his or her opponent personally instead of criticizing the opponent's argument or position.
adverbial clause
A clause that functions as an adverb, modifying a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.
allusion
Any reference to something historical, literary, religious, mythical, or popular, such as a well-known story or a legendary person.
analysis
Gaining a critical understanding of something by examining its individual parts.
annotation
A brief explanation that accompanies whatever it is explaining, such as an image, a line of poetry, or a difficult vocabulary word.
antagonist
The character in a work of fiction who tries to stop the protagonist from achieving his or her purpose; the villain of a story is often the antagonist.
antecedent
The noun or noun phrase that is replaced by a pronoun later in a sentence or in a nearby sentence: The people are here. They demand to be heard.
anticlimax
An unexpected decrease of tension in a story that often ends the plot without resolving the central conflict.
arguable
Controversial; not automatically assumed by reasonable people.
begging the question
A fallacy that involves circular reasoning; the argument's support or reason is the argument itself.
bias
The presence of a partial, opinionated, or prejudiced point of view in a written or spoken work.
body paragraph
In an essay, a paragraph in which main ideas are presented in detail and supported.
business letter
A letter about work-related issues, such as a cover letter, request for a raise, message to employees, and so on.
cause & effect
A way of organizing a document so that it shows the relationship between one event or action and the events or actions that follow it.
character arc
The development of a character's personality or attitude over the course of a story.
claim
An argument or point that has not yet been proved.
clause
A sentence or a part of a sentence that contains a subject and a predicate.
climax
The high point of a plot, which is the moment of greatest tension or excitement in the story.
compare & contrast
A way of organizing a document so that it identifies similarities and differences between two or more things or ideas.
complex sentence
A sentence in which there is at least one independent and one dependent clause.
compound sentence
A sentence made up of two simple sentences joined together.
conclusion
The moment in a plot after the climax in which the reader, listener, or viewer learns what ultimately happens to the characters.
conclusion paragraph
The final paragraph in an essay in which the writer sums up the overall point and leaves the reader with a lasting impression.
conflict
A struggle or problem that causes the events in a story to progress.
conjunction
A word used to join together sentences, clauses, phrases, or words.
connotation
The suggested meaning or meanings of a word, in contrast to the literal meaning, or denotation.
context
The background that gives meaning to examples, such as time, place, culture, family, genre, and so on.
contraction
A shortened form of two words created by replacing some letters with an apostrophe.
contrivance
In fiction, a device that authors use to force action in a story rather than letting events unfold naturally.
counterclaim
A statement that opposes or points out problems in another person's claim.
cover letter
A letter included with a résumé that expresses the applicant's interest in a specific position and highlights his or her relevant skills.
credibility
The trustworthiness, authority, or professionalism of a researched source.
criteria
Standards or requirements; the plural of criterion.
culture
The set of socially acquired values, beliefs, and rules of conduct that determine the range of accepted behaviors in any given society.
dangling modifier
A modifier that describes a word or phrase that's missing from the sentence.
defensible
Capable of being supported by example or research.
denotation
The most direct or literal meaning of a word; a word's definition.
dependent clause
A part of a sentence that contains a subject and verb, but cannot stand alone as a complete sentence; also known as a subordinate clause.
dialogue
A conversation between two or more characters in a literary text.
diction
The word choice and arrangement of words that make up a piece of writing.
ellipsis
Punctuation ( . . . ) consisting of three periods that indicates an omission in the text. It can also be used to indicate a pause or a trailing off of the text.
empathy
The ability to understand and consider the emotions that others are feeling.
ethos
The character and credibility of the writer in the eyes of the reader.
etymology
The study of the origin of words.
euphemism
A way of saying something in an indirect way so that it is less offensive or unpleasant. It can also come across as dishonest.
expository writing
Writing intended to communicate information.
external conflict
A struggle or problem between a character and something outside of him or her, such as another character.
fable
A brief story designed to illustrate a moral or general truth about human nature, often using animals as characters.
fallacy
A false idea or incorrect reasoning.
false causality
A fallacy that happens when someone assumes a cause-and-effect relationship between events simply because one comes after the other.
figurative language
A nonliteral use of language to suggest a specific feeling or meaning.
first person
A style of narration that uses pronouns that refer to oneself, such as I, me, and my.
flashback
A recollection or scene in a story that shows something that happened earlier.
flat character
A simple character who may be described in one or two sentences.
fluff
Unnecessary words in a work of writing that take up space but don't contribute to the overall meaning.
foil
A character whose personality and attitude clash with the personality and attitude of the main character; the presence of the foil helps reveal traits of the main
foreshadowing
Hints or suggestions that tell you what is going to happen in a story.
fragment
An incomplete sentence that lacks either a subject or a predicate.
freewriting
A brainstorming technique in which a student writes down anything that comes to mind without worrying about grammar, punctuation, or organization.
homophone
A word that sounds the same as another word but has a different meaning.
hyperbole
A type of figurative language that uses an exaggeration to make a point.
imagery
Words or phrases that appeal to the senses (mostly sight, but also sound, touch, smell, and taste).
inciting incident
An event early in a plotline that introduces the conflict.
indentation
A space that appears before the first sentence of a paragraph in certain forms of writing, including essays and fiction, usually created by pressing in a word processor; standard indentations are half an inch; also called indentions.
independent clause
A part of a sentence that has a subject and a verb, and which can form a complete sentence by itself.
inference
A conclusion or opinion based on suggested, but not obvious, meanings in a text.
inside address
The address of a person receiving a letter, usually included just before the salutation.
interjection
A word or group of words used to express surprise or a sudden feeling.
internal conflict
A struggle between a character and himself or herself; the struggle happens in the character's heart and mind.
interpretation
An opinion or theory about the meaning of some part of a written text or work of art.
introduction paragraph
A paragraph, usually the first in an essay, whose purpose is to grab the reader's attention, introduce the main topic, and anticipate the major ideas covered in later paragraphs.
letter to the editor
A letter sent to a newspaper by one of its readers that comments on something the newspaper said; these letters are often published in the newspaper itself.
logos
An appeal to logic and reason in a speech or written work, such as facts, statistics, and common sense.
medium
The means by which something is communicated; the material something is created from.
metaphor
A type of figurative language where one thing is said to be another thing.
misplaced modifier
A modifier located in the wrong position in a sentence, making the overall meaning of the sentence unclear.
modifier
A word or phrase, such as an adjective or adverb, that describes another word or phrase.
mood
The overall feeling that a work of writing creates through its word choice.
moral
A lesson learned or advice given in a story.
narrative
Any kind of communication that resembles a story, such as a novel, movie, a person's life, or a spoken account of some memory.
nonrestrictive clause
A clause that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence.
nonverbal communication
Communication using gestures, facial expressions, body movements, silence, and other acts that replace or enhance speaking.
noun clause
A clause that functions as a noun and serves as the subject or object of a predicate.
objective
Without opinion or bias.
oxymoron
A contradiction between two ideas that nevertheless makes sense: bittersweet, for example.
pacing
The rate at which a story moves forward.
parable
A short story, set firmly in reality, told to illustrate a moral or religious lesson.
paragraph
A specific part of a text that starts with an indented line and usually focuses on a single topic
parallel plots
Plots in the same overall story that follow different characters and events, and do not initially intersect; readers usually take turns reading sections of each as they progress through a story.
parallel structure
A pattern of writing or speaking in which words and phrases are intentionally repetitive in structure.
paraphrase
A rewording of a statement made by someone else.
paraphrasing
Expressing an idea from a source in one's own words.
participle
A verb form that modifies a noun; in the present tense, participles often end in -ing.
passive voice
A sentence structure in which the subject receives the action rather than performs it.
past participle
A past tense verb form that modifies a noun. It can be combined with a helping verb to create past perfect.
pathos
The quality of a speech or written work that appeals to the emotions of the audience.
perfect tense
A verb form that indicates an action or state that has already happened using a form of the helping verb have (including has, had, and will have).
personal pronoun
A pronoun that refers to a specific person or thing, such as I, you, she, and it.
personification
The attitude of an author or narrator toward the subject matter or the reader.
phrase
A group of words; unlike a clause, a phrase does not have both a subject and predicate.
plagiarism
Presenting someone else's words or ideas as one's own.
plagiarizing
Using someone else's ideas, words, or creative work without giving credit to that person.
point of comparison
The common value, idea, or trait by which two things can be compared.
point of view
The perspective from which the narrator is telling the story.
possessive pronoun
A pronoun that is used to show ownership, as in mine, yours, or his.
predicate
The part of a sentence that shows what the subject is, or is doing; it includes the verb of the sentence.
print source
A source, such as a book or newspaper, that literally appears printed on paper, unlike an online or electronic source.
problem-solution
A way of organizing a document so that it presents a list of issues and addresses each one.
proper noun
A person, place, or thing that has a unique name, and usually begins with a capital letter.
prose
The standard writing found in fiction and nonfiction, usually arranged in paragraphs and complete sentences, unlike poetry and speech.
protagonist
The character in a work of fiction who is trying to achieve a particular purpose and who is usually the main character.
resume
A short summary of one's work history, education, and/or skills.
redundancy
Repetition that is not needed.
relative clause
A phrase that describes a noun and usually begins with words such as that, which, who, or where.
research question
A narrow and focused question about an issue or topic that can be researched.
restrictive clause
A clause that gives identifying information about a noun or noun phrase, and that doesn't use a comma.
revision
The process of polishing and editing a piece of writing.
rhetoric
The art of using language persuasively.
rising action
The increase of tensions within a story; rising action drives the plot toward the climax.
round character
A character with many complex characteristics, some of which may seem to contradict one another.
salutation
The opening line of a letter that addresses the recipient directly.
satire
A form of writing that criticizes a person, group, or society using indirect, often disguised, methods.
second person
A style of narration that depicts the perspective of the reader as if he or she were the main character. Second-person narration uses the pronouns you and your.
sequential
A way of organizing a document so that information is presented step-by-step, often as instructions.
setting
The time, place, and social environment in which a story takes place.
simille
A type of figurative language in which one thing is compared to another using the words like, as, than, similar to, or resembles.
simple sentence
A sentence that consists of only one clause.
spatial
A way of organizing a document by location, such as by rooms in a house or regions of a country.
straw man
A fallacy that occurrs when someone oversimplifies an opponent's argument or position to make it easier to attack.
subject
A noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that identifies the person, place, thing, or idea that a sentence is about.
subjective
Based on an individual's emotions, feelings, opinions, or perceptions.
suffix
A group of letters at the end of a word that changes the word's meaning.
suspense
The feeling of not knowing what is going to happen next in a story, and wanting to know.
synthesis
When different ideas are combined into a new idea that explains all of them.
technical writing
Writing that provides instructions or explains complicated things and processes, such as machines, organisms, court procedures, and so on.
tension
The feeling produced by a conflict or problem in a story that has not yet been solved.
theme
An idea or meaning that runs through a piece of music, literature, visual art, or other form of artistic expression.
thesis statement
A one-sentence statement of the purpose or main point of an essay; usually included in the first paragraph.
third person
A style of narration that uses pronouns that refer to someone who is neither the reader nor the narrator, such as he, she, they, and them.
third person limited
A style of narration that uses pronouns that refer to someone who is neither the reader nor the narrator, such as he, she, and they, and that describes the events of a story from a single character's perspective.
third person omniscient
A style of narration that uses pronouns that refer to someone who is neither the reader nor the narrator, such as he, she, and they, and can describe the events of a story from any character's perspective or from no character's perspective.
topic sentence
The sentence in which the main idea of a paragraph is stated; usually the first sentence of a paragraph.
topical
A way of organizing a document by topic or subject matter.
transition
In writing, a word, phrase, or sentence that helps move the reader smoothly from one idea or moment in time to the next.
typo
A typographical error, or minor, sentence-level error, in typed text.
unreliable narrator
A narrator whose understanding or interpretation of the events in a story is heavily biased or untrustworthy.
visual aid
A picture, diagram, object, or other image used in a speech or written work to help the audience understand.
works cited list
A list of all researched sources referenced in an essay, usually organized according to specific guidelines.