Glossary 1-3

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  1. Allegory
    • The device of using character and/or story elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in
    • addition to the literal meaning. In some allegories, for example, an author may intend the characters to
    • personify an abstraction like hope or freedom. The allegorical meaning usually deals with moral truth
    • or a generalization about human existence.
  2. Alliteration
    • The repetition of sounds, especially initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring
    • words (as in "she sells sea shells"). Although the term is not used frequently in the multiple-choice
    • section, you can look for alliteration in any essay passage. The repetition can reinforce meaning, unify
    • ideas, supply a musical sound, and/or echo the sense of the passage.
  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. Allusions can be historical, literary, religious, topical, or
    • mythical. There are many more possibilities, and a work may simultaneously use multiple layers of
    • allusion.
  4. Ambiguity
    • The multiple meanings, either intentional or unintentional, of a word, phrase, sentence, or
    • passage.
  5. Anadiplosis
    The repetition of the last word of one clause at the beginning of the following clause. "Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering"-Yoda
  6. Analogy
    A similarity or comparison between two different things or the relationship between them. An analogy can explain something unfamiliar by associating it with or pointing out its similarity to something more familiar. Analogies can also make writing more vivid, imaginative, or intellectually engaging.
  7. Anaphora
    One of the devices of repetition, in which the same expression (word or words) is repeated at the beginning of two or more lines, clauses, or sentences. "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."
  8. Anecdote
    A short narrative detailing particulars of an interesting episode or event. The term most frequently refers to an incident in the life of a person.
  9. Antecedent
    The word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun. The AP language exam occasionally asks for the antecedent of a given pronoun in a long, complex sentence or a group of sentences.
  10. Aphorism
    A terse statement of known authorship which expresses a general truth or a moral principle. (If the authorship is unknown, the statement is generally considered to be a folk proverb.) An aphorism can be a memorable summation of the author's point.
  11. Apostrophe
    A figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or a personified abstraction, such as liberty or love. It is an address to someone or something that cannot answer. The effect may add familiarity or emotional intensity. William Wordsworth addresses John Milton as he writes, "Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour: England hath need of thee."
  12. Atmosphere
    The emotional mood created by the entirety of a literary work, established partly by the setting and partly by the author's choice of objects that are described. Even such elements as a description of the weather can contribute to the atmosphere. Frequently atmosphere foreshadows events. Perhaps it can create a mood.
  13. Clause
    A grammatical unit that contains both a subject and a verb. An independent, or main, clause expresses a complete thought and can stand alone as a sentence. A dependent, or subordinate clause cannot stand alone as a sentence and must be accompanied by an independent clause. The point that you want to consider is the question of what or why the author subordinates one element to the other. You should also become aware of making effective use of subordination in your own writing.
  14. Colloquial/Colloquialism
    The use of slang or informalities in speech or writing. Not generally acceptable for formal writing, colloquialisms give a work a conversational, familiar tone. Colloquial expressions in writing include local or regional dialects.
  15. Coherence
    A principle demanding that the parts of any composition be arranged so that the meaning of the whole may be immediately clear and intelligible. Words, phrases, clauses within the sentence; and sentences, paragraphs, and chapters in larger pieces of writing are the units that, by their progressive and logical arrangement, make for coherence.
  16. Conceit
    A fanciful expression, usually in the form of an extended metaphor or surprising analogy between seemingly dissimilar objects. A conceit displays intellectual cleverness as a result of the unusual comparison being made.
  17. Connotation
    The nonliteral, associative meaning of a word; the implied, suggested meaning. Connotations may involve ideas, emotions, or attitudes.
  18. Denotation
    The strict, literal, dictionary definition of a word, devoid of any emotion, attitude, or color.
  19. Diction
    Related to style, diction refers to the writer's word choices, especially with regard to their correctness, clearness, or effectiveness. For the AP exam, you should be able to describe an author's diction (for example, formal or informal, ornate or plain) and understand the ways in which diction can complement the author's purpose. Diction, combined with syntax, figurative language, literary devices, etc., creates an author's style.
  20. Didactic
    From the Greek, didactic literally means "teaching." Didactic works have the primary aim of teaching or instructing, especially the teaching of moral or ethical principles.
  21. Epistrophe
    Theoppositeofanaphors,repetitionattheendofsuccessiveclauses. “Theysawnoevil,they spoke no evil, and they heard no evil.”
  22. Euphemism
    From the Greek for "good speech," euphemisms are a more agreeable or less offensive substitute for a generally unpleasant word or concept. The euphemism may be used to adhere to standards of social or political correctness or to add humor or ironic understatement. Saying "earthly remains" rather than "corpse" is an example of euphemism.
  23. Exposition
    In essays, one of the for chief types of composition, the others being argumentation, description, and narration. The purpose of exposition is to explain something. In drama, the exposition is the introductory material, which creates the tone, gives the setting, and introduces the characters and conflict.
  24. Extended Metaphor
    A metaphor developed at great length, occurring frequently in or throughout a work.
  25. Figurative Language
    Writing or speech that is not intended to carry literal meaning and is usually meant to be imaginative and vivid.
  26. Figure of Speech
    A device used to produce figurative language. Many compare dissimilar things. Figures of speech include apostrophe, hyperbole, irony, metaphor, metonymy, oxymoron, paradox, personification, simile, synecdoche, and understatement.
  27. Generic Conventions
    This term describes traditions for each genre. These conventions help to define each genre; for example, they differentiate an essay and journalistic writing or an autobiography and political writing. On the AP language exam, try to distinguish the unique features of a writer's work from those dictated by convention.
  28. Genre
    The major category into which a literary work fits. The basic divisions of literature are prose, poetry, and drama. However, genre is a flexible term; within these broad boundaries exist many subdivisions that are often called genres themselves. For example, prose can be divided into fiction (novels and short stories) or nonfiction (essays, biographies, autobiographies, etc.). Poetry can be divided into lyric, dramatic, narrative, epic, etc. Drama can be divided into tragedy, comedy, melodrama, farce, etc. On the AP language exam, expect the majority of the passages to be from the following genres: autobiography, biography, diaries, criticism, essays, and journalistic, political, scientific, and nature writing.
  29. Homily
    This term literally means "sermon," but more informally, it can include any serious talk, speech, or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice.
  30. Hyperbole
    A figure of speech using deliberate exaggeration or overstatement. Hyperboles often have a comic effect; however, a serious effect is also possible. Often, hyperbole produces irony.
  31. Imagery
    The sensory details or figurative language used to describe, arouse emotion, or represent abstractions. On a physical level, imagery uses terms related to the five senses; we refer to visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, or olfactory imagery. On a broader and deeper level, however, one image can represent more than one thing. For example, a rose may present visual imagery while also representing the color in a woman's cheeks and/or symbolizing some degree of perfection (It is the highest flower on the Great Chain of Being). An author may use complex imagery while simultaneously employing other figures of speech, especially metaphor and simile. In addition, this term can apply to the total of all the images in a work. On the AP exam, pay attention to how an author creates imagery and to the effect of this imagery.
  32. Inference/Infer
    To draw a reasonable conclusion from the information presented. When a multiple- choice question asks for an inference to be drawn from a passage, the most direct, most reasonable inference is the safest answer choice. If an inference is implausible, it's unlikely to be the correct answer. Note that if the answer choice is directly stated, it is not inferred and is wrong. As we have seen in the multiple-choice selections that we have been trying, you must be careful to note the connotation -- negative or positive -- of the choices.
  33. Invective
    An emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack using strong, abusive language.
  34. Irony/Ironic
    The contrast between what is stated explicitly and what is really meant. The difference between what appears to be and what actually is true. In general, there are three major types of irony used in language; (1) In verbal irony, the words literally state the opposite of the writer's (or speaker's) true meaning. (2) In situational irony, events turn out the opposite of what was expected. What the characters and readers think ought to happen is not what does happen. (3) In dramatic irony, facts or events are unknown to a character in a play or piece of fiction but known to the reader, audience, or other characters in the work. Irony is used for many reasons, but frequently, it's used to create poignancy or humor.
  35. Loose Sentence
    A type of sentence in which the main idea (independent clause) comes first, followed by dependent grammatical units such as phrases and clauses. If a period were placed at the end of the independent clause, the clause would be a complete sentence. A work containing many loose sentences often seems informal, relaxed, and conversational. Generally loose sentences create loose style.
  36. Metaphor
    A figure of speech using implied comparison of seemingly unlike things or the substitution of one for the other, suggesting some similarity. Metaphorical language makes writing more vivid, imaginative, thought provoking, and meaningful.
  37. Metonymy
    A term from the Greek meaning "changed label" or "substitute name," metonymy is a figure of speech in which the name of one object is substituted for that of another closely associated with it. A news release that claims "the White House declared" rather that "the President declared" is using metonymy. The substituted term generally carries a more potent emotional impact.
  38. Mood
    This term has two distinct technical meanings in English writing. The first meaning is grammatical and deals with verbal units and a speaker's attitude. The indicative mood is used only for factual sentences. For example, "Joe eats too quickly." The subjunctive mood is used to express conditions contrary to fact. For example, "If I were you, I'd get another job." The imperative mood is used for commands. For example, "Shut the door!" The second meaning of mood is literary, meaning the prevailing atmosphere or emotional aura of a work. Setting, tone, and events can affect the mood. In this usage, mood is similar to tone and atmosphere.
  39. Narrative
    The telling of a story or an account of an event or series of events.
  40. Onomatopoeia
    A figure of speech in which natural sounds are imitated in the sounds of words. Simple examples include such words as buzz, hiss, hum, crack, whinny, and murmur. If you note examples of onomatopoeia in an essay passage, note the effect.
  41. Oxymoron
    From the Greek for "pointedly foolish," an oxymoron is a figure of speech wherein the author groups apparently contradictory terms to suggest a paradox. Simple examples include "jumbo shrimp" and "cruel kindness." This term does not usually appear in the multiple-choice questions, but there is a chance that you might find it in an essay. Take note of the effect which the author achieves with this term.
  42. Paradox
    A statement that appears to be self-contradictory or opposed to common sense but upon closer inspection contains some degree of truth or validity. Macbeth.
  43. Parallelism
    Also referred to as parallel construction or parallel structure, this term comes from Greek roots meaning "beside one another." It refers to the grammatical or rhetorical framing of words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs to give structural similarity. This can involve, but is not limited to, repetition of a grammatical element such as a preposition or verbal phrase. A famous example of parallelism begins Charles Dickens's novel A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity . . . ." The effects of parallelism are numerous, but frequently they act as an organizing force to attract the reader's attention, add emphasis and organization, or simply provide a musical rhythm.
Card Set:
Glossary 1-3
2011-12-16 01:45:36
AP English Glossary

Ap English Glossary
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