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Oral tradition

the passing along of songs, stories, and poems from generation to generation by word of mouth. Folk songs, folk tales, and myths are examples. No one knows who first created these stories and poems


prose writing that tells about imaginary characters and events. Some examples include short stories and novels.


prose writing that presents and explains ideas or that tells about real people, places, objects, or events. Autobiographies, biographies, essays, reports, letters, memos, and newspaper articles are examples of this genre.

Faulty reasoning

looks logical because it contains facts, but it uses or interprets the facts in an illogical way.


The time and place of the action; includes details of a place and time—the year, time of day, even the weather. The place may be a specific country, state, region, community, neighborhood, building, institution, or home.


a struggle between opposing forces. It causes the action of the story.


the outcome of the conflict of the plot.

Thesis Statement

a sentence in a research paper that tells what the paper is going to prove.


when the opposite what is expected happens or is said.


the author's use of clues to hint at what might happen later in the story. Writers use this literary device to build their readers' expectations and to create suspense.

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