English Terms

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  1. Allegory
    • The device of using character and/or story elements symbolically. The meaning usually deals with moral truth.
    • Ex. A character used to personify hope or freedom. 
  2. Alliteration
    • The repitition of beginning consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words. The repitition is used to reinforce meaning, unify ideas, and/or supply a musical sound.
    • Ex. She sells sea shells.
  3. Allusion
    • A reference to something that is commonly known such as an event, book, myth, place, or work of art.
    • Ex. Referring to Noah's Ark or Hitler.
  4. Ambiguity
    A word, phrase, sentence, or passage has multiple meanings. This can be intentional or unintentional. The meaning is not clear
  5. Analogy
    A comparison between two things that explains something unfamiliar by comparing it to something familiar.
  6. Connotation
    The implied, suggested meaning of a word. The connotation is what you think/feel when you hear the word.
  7. Denotation
    The literal, dictionary definition of a word.
  8. Diction
    • The writer's word choice. Diction helps create an author's style.
    • Ex. Formal word choice; informal word choice.
  9. Didactic
    Works dedicated to teaching a moral or ethical principle.
  10. Euphemism
    • A less offensive substitute for a generally unpleasant word or concept.
    • Ex. Saying "earthly remains" instead of "corpse." 
  11. Extended Metaphor
    A metaphor developed over a great length, occuring frequently throughout a work.
  12. Figurative Language
    Writing that is meant to be imaginative or vivid. This is not meant to be taken literally.
  13. Figure of Speech
    • A device used to create figurative language.
    • These include: Apostrophe, Hyperbole, Irony, Metaphor, Oxymoron, Personification, Simile, etc.
  14. Generic Conventions
    This term describes traditions for each genre
  15. Genre
    • The major category into which a literary work fits. 
    • Ex. Fiction, Poetry, Prose, Drama, Science Fiction, etc. 
  16. Homily
    Any serious talk, speech, or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice.
  17. Hyperbole
    • A figure of speech using deliberate exaggeration. This can have a comic or serious effect, and even produce irony.
    • Ex. "I've told you a million times."
  18. Imagery
    The sensory details or figurative language used to describe, arouse emotion, or represent abstraction. 
  19. Inference/Infer
    To draw a reasonable conclusion from the information presented.
  20. Invective
    An emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack using strong, abusive language.
  21. Irony
    • The contrast between what is stated and what is really meant.
    • The difference between what appears to be and what is actually true. 
  22. Verbal Irony
    The speaker says the exact opposite of what is meant. Similar to sarcasm. 
  23. Situational Irony
    Events turn out the opposite of what is expected. What people think will happen is NOT what actually happens.
  24. Dramatic Irony
    The audience has information that characters in a work do not have. 
  25. Loose Sentence
    A type of sentence in which the main point comes first, followed by dependant phrases or clauses. 
  26. Metaphor
    A comparison between to things that does not use "like" or "as."
  27. Metonomy
    • Figure of speech in which the name of one object is substituted for that of another closely associated with it.
    • Ex. Saying "the White House declared..." rather than saying "the president declared..." 
  28. Mood
    The emotion created in the reader.
  29. Narrative
    The telling of a story, event, or series of events.
  30. Onomatopoeia
    • A figure of speech in which natural sounds are imitated in the sounds of words. 
    • Ex. Honk, beep, buzz, hum. 
  31. Oxymoron
    • A figure of speech in which contradictory terms suggest a paradox. 
    • Ex. Jumbo shrimp. 
  32. Paradox
    • A statement that appears to be self-contradictory but contains some degree of truth or validity. 
    • Ex. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair..." -Macbeth 
  33. Parallelism
    • Similar sentence structures used next to each other. 
    • Ex. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." 
  34. Parody
    A work that imitates the style or content of another for the effect of comedy or ridicule.
  35. Pedantic
    An adjective that describes words, phrases, or tone that is overly scholarly or academic. 
  36. Periodic Sentence
    A sentence that presents its central meaning in a main clause at the end. It is preceded by other phrases or clauses.
  37. Personification
    • A figure of speech in which inanimate objects have human attributes or emotions. 
    • Ex. "The wind howled at the moon." 
  38. Point of View
    The perspective from which a story is told. 
  39. First Person Narrator
    • The narrator is a character in the story.
    • This can be a protagonist, participant, or observer.
  40. Third Person Omniscient
    • The narrator is not a character in the story.
    • Presents the thoughts and feelings of all or any characters. 
  41. Third Person Limited Omniscient
    • The narrator is not a character in the story.
    • Presents the thoughts and feelings of only one character.  
  42. Predicate Adjective
    • An adjective that follows a linking verb. It describes the subject.
    • Ex. The pie smelled delicious.
  43. Predicate Nominative
    • noun that followed a linking verb. It renames the subject.
    • Ex. She is a girl.
  44. Prose
    Ordinary language that resembles everyday speech. Anything that isn't poetry or drama is prose.
  45. Repetition
    Repeating language elements such as words, phrases, or sentences.
  46. Sarcasm
    Language that is meant to hurt or ridicule someone or something. It may use irony as a device. 
  47. Satire
    A work that ridicules the human vices or follies of others. Devices can include irony, wit, parody, and sarcasm. 
  48. Semantics
    The branch of linguistics that studies the meaning of words, their histories, their connotations, and their relation to one another.
  49. Style
    • 1. An author's blend of syntax, diction, and other literary choices.
    • 2. The category an author is placed into.
  50. Subject Complement
    The word that follows a linking verb that completes the subject by either renaming it or describing it. Examples are predicate adjectives and predicate nominatives.
  51. Subordinate Clause
    • Contains a subject and a verb, but cannot stand alone because it does not express a complete thought. 
    • Dependent clause. 
  52. Syllogism
    • Formal logic that presents two premises (major and minor) that lead to a sound conclusion. 
    • Conclusion is only valid if both premises are valid.
    • Ex: Major: All men are mortal. Minor: Socrates is a man. Conclusion: Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
  53. Symbol/Symbolism
    • Anything that represents something else.
    • Generally this is an object, character, etc. 
  54. Syntax
    The way an author chooses to join words into phrases, clauses, and sentences. This is similar to diction; but syntax is the group of words, while diction is the individual words.
  55. Theme
    The central idea or message of a work. The insight it offers into life.
  56. Thesis
    Directly expresses the writer's opinion or purpose in writing the work.
  57. Tone
    The author's attitude toward the material, audience, or both.
  58. Transition
    A word or phrase that links different ideas.
  59. Rhetorical Features
    The tools of rhetoric, such as: tone, diction, and imagery.
  60. Sentence Structure
    • The type of sentences an author uses.
    • The basic sentence structures are simple, compound, and complex. 
  61. Sylistic Devices
    All of the elements in language that contribute to style.
  62. Narrative Devices
    The tools of the storyteller, such as ordering events so that they build to a climactic moment, or withholding info until the appropriate moment.
  63. Anadiplosis
    • Repeating the last word of a clause at the beginning of the next clause.
    • Ex. "Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hatred; hatred leads to conflict; conflict leads to suffering." -Yoda 
  64. Analogue/Analog
    • A story that contains similar characters, situations, settings, or verbal echoes to those found in a different story. 
    • Ex. Romeo and Juliet and Westside Story are analogues.
  65. Anaphora
    • The intentional repetition of beginning clauses in order to create an artistic effect.
    • Ex. "Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they the ministers of Christ? I am more." -Paul 
  66. Epistrophe
    • Repetition of a concluding word or word endings.
    • Ex. "He's learning fast; are you earning fast?"
  67. Anastrophe
    • Inverted order of words or events.
    • Ex. T. S. Eliot writes of "arms that wrap about a shawl" rather than "shawls that wrap about an arm." 
  68. Anecdote
    A short narrative account of an amusing, unusual, revealing, or interesting event.
  69. Antithesis
    • Using opposite phrases in close conjunction.
    • Ex. "Evil men fear authority; good men cherish it." or " One small step for a man, one giant leap for all mankind."
  70. Apostrophe
    • The act of addressing some abstraction or personification that is not physically present.
    • Ex. "Oh, Death, be not proud." 
  71. Aside
    A few words or a short passage spoken by one character to the audience while the other actors on stage pretend their characters cannot hear the speaker's words.
  72. Asyndeton
    • The artistic elimination of conjunctions in a sentence to create a particular effect.
    • Ex. "...glory, honor, fame." 
  73. Cacophony
    The use of words that combine sharp, harsh, hissing, or unmelodious sounds.
  74. Chiasmus
    • The author introduces words or concepts in a particular order, then later repeats those terms or similar ones in reversed or backwards order.
    • Ex. "I lead the life I love; I love the life I lead." 
  75. Ellipsis
    • Refers to the artful omission of a word implied by a previous clause.
    • Ex. "The American soldiers killed eight civilians, and the French eight." 
Card Set:
English Terms
2012-07-07 19:55:14
English Terms AP Vocabulary Words

These are some of the most important terms regarding high school level AP English.
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