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2011-10-23 21:26:16
Literary Terms English

A set of literary terms and their meanings
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  1. Allegory
    The device of using character and/or story elements symbolically. The allegorical meaning usually deals with moral truth.
  2. Alliteration
    The repetition of sounds, especially initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words. The repetition can inforce meaning, unify ideas, and/or supply a musical sound.
  3. Allusion
    A direct or indirect reference to something which is presumably commonly known, such as an event, book, myth, place, or work of art.
  4. Ambiguity
    The multiple meanings, either intentional or unintentional, of a word, phrase, sentence, or passage.
  5. Analogy
    A similarity or comparison that can explain something unfamiliar by associating it with or pointing out its similarity to something more familiar.
  6. Antecedent
    The word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun.
  7. Aphorism
    Expresses a general truth or a moral principle. Can be a memorable summation of the authors point.
  8. Apostrophe
    Directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or an abstract idea such as liberty or love.
  9. Atmosphere
    The emotional mood created by the entirety of a literary work.
  10. Clause
    A grammatical unit that contains both a subject and a verb. An independent or main clause expresses a complete thought. A dependent or subordinate clause cannot stand alone as a sentence.
  11. Colloquial; Colloquiallism
    The use of slang it informalities in speech or writing. Colloquial expressions include local or regional dialects.
  12. Conceit
    An unusual comparison being made
  13. Connotation
    The implied, suggested meaning of a word.
  14. Denotation
    The literal, dictionary definition of a word.
  15. Diction
    Diction refers to the writer's word choices; helps create the writer's style.
  16. Didactic
    Teaching of moral or ethical principles
  17. Euphemism
    Euphemisms are a less offensive substitute for a generally unpleasant word or concept
  18. Extended Metaphor
    A metaphor developed at great length.
  19. Figurative Language
    Writing usually meant to be imaginative and vivid
  20. Figure of Speech
    Figures of Speech include apostrophe, hyperbole, irony, metaphor, oxymoron, paradox, personification, and simile.
  21. Generic Conventions
    This term describes traditions for each genre
  22. Genre
    The major category into which a literary work fits.
  23. Homily
    This term literally means "sermon" but more informally, it can include any serious talk, speech, or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice.
  24. Hyperbole
    A figure of speech using deliberate exaggeration or overstatement
  25. Imagery
    The sensory details or figurative language used to describe, arouse emotion, or represent abstractions.
  26. Inference; Infer
    To draw a reasonable conclusion from the information presented.
  27. Invective
    An emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack using strong, abusive language.
  28. Irony; Ironic
    The contrast between what is stated explicitly and what is really meant.
  29. Loose Sentence
    A type of sentence in which the main idea comes first, followed by dependent grammatical units such as phrases and clauses.
  30. Narrative
    The telling of a story, or an account of an event or series of events.
  31. Oxymoron
    Contradictory terms suggest a paradox, such as jumbo shrimp
  32. Parallelism
    • Also referred to as parallel construction or parallel structure, this term comes from Greek roots meaning "beside one another."
    • "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
  33. Parody
    A work that closely imitates the style or content of another with the specific aim of comic effect and/or ridicule.
  34. Pedantic
    An adjective that describes words, phrases, or general tone that is overly scholarly, academic, or bookish.
  35. Periodic Sentence
    A sentence that presents its central meaning in a main clause at the end
  36. 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.
  37. Point of View
    In literature, the perspective from which a story is told.