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					          Term                       Definition                                     Examples/Notes
active voice            when the subject performs the action         Whenever possible, use the active voice.
                        of the verb.                                    o I saw the bird.
                                                                        o I am hungry.
action verb             Verbs that show action                          o I went to the store
                                                                        o He hopes to see his mom.
                                                                        o Joe kicked me.
                                                                        o The accountant resigned.
adjective               modifies (describes)                            o those bricks (which one)
                           o noun                                       o brown boots (what kind)
                           o pronoun.                                   o ten boxes (how many)

adverb                  modifies (describes)                         Answers the following ?s
                                                                     How? Elvis sang magnificently
                            o    adjectives (really cute dog),       When? Elvis sang earlier
                            o    verbs (runs fast)                   Where? Elvis sang there
                            o    other adverbs (runs very fast)      How Often? Elvis sang frequently
                                                                     To what extent? Elvis sang very well.
                                                                     Under what circumstances? Elvis sang under
                                                                     “Not” is always an adverb
alliteration            repetition of identical sounds at the             o “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled
                        beginning of two or more words                       peppers”
                        placed closely together (but not
                        necessarily right next to each other)            o    “Go instead sustained and soothed”

allusion                A reference found in literature to a              Calling a situation a “Catch-22” is an allusion
                        person, place, or thing that is fictional,        to Joseph Heller‟s novel Catch-22 which
                        biblical, historical, or real.                    describes a situation in which there is no easy
analogy                 A form of figurative language (often              Dr. King used an analogy in his “I Have a
                        used in spoken language) that makes a             Dream” speech when he compared a bad
                        comparison between two things to                  check with the broken promises of the
                        make a point.                                     Declaration of Independence.
antecedent              The word that a pronoun refers to or         Huck struggles with his conscience as he and Jim
                        takes the place of                           travel down the river. “Huck” is the antecedent.

                                                                     Several of the students typed their essays. “their”
                                                                     the antecedent.

appositive/appositive       o    An appositive is a noun or              o    My dog, Champ, is a pain.
Phrase                           pronoun that follows another            o    Champ, my dog, is a pain.
                                 noun or pronoun to identify
                                 or explain it.
                            o    An appositive phrase is made
                                 up of the appositive and its
assonance                   o    A type of rhyme                         o all /awful
                            o    Repetition of vowel sounds              o feet/sweep
                                                                         o lake/fate
ballad                      A narrative poem (often of folk              o “Good Bye Miss American Pie”
                            origin) that is meant to be sung             o “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”
blank verse                 o Unrhymed iambic                        “Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
                                 pentameter.                         That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it”
                            o Iambic pentameter refers to            - “Mending Wall” - Frost
                                 the length of a line of poetry      The lines follow a pattern of stressed and
                                 that has meter (a pattern of        unstressed syllables but do not rhyme
                                 stressed and unstressed
clause                     A group of words CONTAINING a
                           verb and its subject
cognates                   Words that have the same root (origin)         o    “night” – English
                           and are related in some way to words           o    “noche” – Spanish
                           in other languages                             o    “notte” – Italian
                                                                          o    “nuit” - French
coherence                  A term that refers to the fact that each
                           sentence in a paragraph should be
                           arranged in a logical order and clearly
                           connected with transitional words
conceit                    An elaborate or extended metaphor              The “rivers” used throughout Langston
                           carried throughout a poem                      Hughes‟s poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”
                                                                          represent the length and depth of the black
connotation                    o    The emotion implied by a              o cheap – negative
                                    word.                                 o frugal – positive
                               o     This is usually positive or
                                    negative.                             o    clever – positive
                                                                          o    sly - negative
consonance                     o    A type of rhyme:                      o    could /shed
                               o    Repetition of consonant               o    chitter /chatter
                                    sounds within or at the end of        o    meter/pattern
coordinating conjunction   joins words, phrases, or clauses           For, and, nor, but, or, yet
correlative conjunction    always used in pairs                            either….or, both . . . and, whether….or,
                                                                           neither….nor, not only . . . but also
demonstrative pronoun      Used to point out a particular person           This is the best answer. (used as a
                           or thing. When it is prior to a noun,           demonstrative pronoun)
                           it is considered an adjective.                  I like this answer. (used as an adj)
denotation                 The actual dictionary definition of a
dependent (subordinate)          o A clause that cannot stand         Can act as a
clause                               alone because it does not            o noun: This is what he said.
                                     express a complete thought.          o adjective: Everyone cheered for the
                                 o It also acts a single part of               player who had the better serve.
                                     speech. (noun, adjective, or         o adverb: When you go to New York, go
                                     adverb)                                   to Ground Zero.
descriptive writing        Uses language to describe a person,            o A travel brochure
                           place, thing, or idea.                         o A character sketch

diary                      A record of events that is meant to be     The Diary of Anne Frank”
direct characterization    A straightforward description of a         He is mean
                           character                                  He is sad
                                                                      He is happy
direct object              Receives the action of the verb or             o Drought destroyed the crops.
                           shows the result of the action. It
                           answers the question “what?” or
                           “whom?”after an action verb.
elegy                      A lyric poem or a song that mourns             o  Elton John‟s “Candle in the Wind”
                           someone who has died                              mourns Marilyn Monroe
                                                                          o Whitman‟s “O Captain, My Captain”
                                                                             mourns Abraham Lincoln
end rhyme                  Rhymes that occur at the end of a line         “My dog was bad
                           of poetry.                                     Now I am mad”
epistolary novel           A novel written in the form of letters
expository writing             o    Provides factual information          o    A lab report
                                    on a topic.                           o    An instruction manual
                               o    “exposes facts”                       o    A chronology
figurative language   Language used for descriptive effect in             o    simile
                      order to convey ideas and emotion.                  o    metaphor
                      Figurative language is not meant to be              o    idioms/cliches
                      taken literally                                     o    symbols
                                                                          o    metonymy/synedoche
                                                                          o    imagery
                                                                          o    hyperbole
fixed form poetry     poetry written with traditional rhyme
                      and usually in stanzas
flashback             An interruption in the chronological       In Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman often has
                      sequence of a narrative to show an         flashbacks to the times when he enjoyed a close
                      event that happened earlier in time.       relationship with his boys.
foreshadowing         The use of clues by the author to hint     As a boy is packing for a camping trip, the author
                      at or prepare readers for events that      may describe a hunting knife in detail. The same
                      will happen later in the future            knife becomes significant later as the boy finds
                                                                 himself alone in the wilderness.
formal language           o    Language that is                  found in
                               grammatically correct                  o reports
                          o free from slang,                          o business letters
                               colloquialisms, or                     o proposals
                               regionalisms.                          o policy manuals
frame narrative       A story told within another story
free form poetry      Poetry that follows no particular
                      rhyme, meter, length, or organization.
generalization        A statement that is as yet unproven or     Huck Finn is the most important book in American
                      unsupported with details, facts, or        Literature. (Why?)
genre                 Category of a larger group                     Literature genres include
                                                                     novels, short stories, poetry, non-fiction,
                                                                     and drama

gerund                        a verbal                                   Reading is fun
                              ends in „ing‟                              I like shopping
                              looks like a verb                          Use this brush for painting.
                              acts as a noun                             She has always loved dancing.
                                                                          In cooking, use salt sparingly.
                                                                          Swimming is excellent exercise.
                                                                          I have tried camping.
helping verb              o    “helps” the verb show action,     If a verb phrase has four verbs, the first three are
                               state of being, or make a         helping (and so on)
                               statement                              o We have been taking notes all day.
                           o generally used to indicate               o She will be cold with out a jacket.
hyperbole             Figurative language that uses                  o    I‟m so hungry I could eat a horse.
                      exaggeration to express strong
                      emotion, to make a point, or to evoke
iambic pentameter     Refers to the length of a line of poetry   “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
                      that has meter (a pattern of stressed      Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
                      and unstressed syllables.                  Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.
                                                                 And summer's lease hath all too short a date” –
                                                                 Shakespeare Sonnett XVIII
                                                                 The lines follow a pattern of stressed and
                                                                 unstressed syllables

idiom                     o    a commonly used-saying
                               made up of a group of words           o    He‟s a “piece of work”
                               that takes on special meaning         o    I‟m leading a “hand-to-mouth existence.”
                               that is different from the            o    “Close but no cigar”
                               usual meaning of the words
                               that make it up; a cliche
imagery                 Language that presents an image             “Her eyes were blue with age. Her skin had a
                                                                    pattern all its own of numberless wrinkles and as
                                                                    though a whole little tree stood on her forehead.” –
                                                                    “A Worn Path” (Welty)
in media res            occurs when a story begins with a
                        significant moment; the rest of the
                        story fills in the events leading to that
indefinite pronoun           o refers generally, not                    all, another, any, anybody, anyone, both, each,
                                  specifically, to persons,             either, everybody, everyone, everything, few,
                                  places, or things                     many, more, most, much, neither, nobody,
                             o can be the subject of a                  non, no one., one, several, somebody,
                                  sentence                              someone
                             o can be singular or plural
independent (main)      A clause that can stand alone because           o    If you buy your ticket early, you won’t
    clause              it expresses a complete thought                      have to wait in line.
                                                                        o    I hope that you will find happiness
                                                                        o    FDR, who was the only man elected four
                                                                             times, died in 1945.
                                                                        o    I have a terrible headache.

indirect                When a character is revealed by his         “He is dressed quietly . . he unlocks the door,
characterization        thoughts/ actions/words and/or how          comes into the kitchen, and thankfully lets his
                        other speak/react to him                    burden down.”
                                                                    This passage from Death of a Salesman lets us
                                                                    know that Willy is tired and depressed.
Indirect object         The indirect object of the verb                  The principal gave her the award.
                        precedes the direct object and usually
                        tells to whom or for whom the action
                        of the verb is done.
infinitive                    a verbal                                     I like to eat (n)
                              consists of “to” + the verb                  It is the best place to eat (adj)
                              looks like a verb                            I need to eat soon. (adv)
                              acts as a noun, adjective or                 The boy began to do his homework when
                                  adverb                                     he went to class. (Note: to class is a
                                                                             prepositional phrase because it ends in a
informal language       language that is casual and includes        found in
                        slang, colloquialisms, and                      o emails
                        regionalisms.                                   o friendly letters

intensive pronoun       Adds emphasis to a noun or other                     o  Leigh herself gave the information to
                        pronoun.                                                the reporters.
                                                                            o They themselves don‟t think it will
internal rhyme          rhyme that occurs within lines of               “I awoke to black flak”.
Interrogative pronoun   Used in questions                               who, whom, which, what, whose
                                                                        Who is calling?
                                                                        What should we do?
irony                   A contrast between appearance and               Many many examples are present in life,
                        reality                                         throughout history, and in literature.
irregular verbs         Verbs in which the past and past
                        participle verb forms are formed w/ an
                        irregular spelling
journal                 A record of events that is meant to be      Christopher Columbus‟s narrative of his journey to
                        public.                                     the new world;
                                                                    A travel journal
                                                                    A blog
linking verb           A verb that expresses a state of                o    all “be” verbs (am, is, are, was, were,
                       being/existence or the senses                        be, being, been)
                                                                       o    also: appear, become, feel, grow, look,
                                                                            remain, seem, smell, sound, stay, and

literary period            o     also known as a literary          American Literary Periods
                                 movement                             o Native American
                            o refers to a period of time              o Settlement/Colonial
                                 when the majority of writers         o Revolutionary/Nationalism
                                 wrote about similar topics,          o Romanticism/Transcendentalism
                                 for similar purposes, and            o Realism
                                 addressed similar themes.            o Naturalism
                            o Sometimes, themes present in            o Modernism
                                 one literary period will             o Postmodernism
                                 appear in writings from other
local color                 o the portrayal of a region‟s
                                 distinctive ways of talking or
                            o also known as Regionalism
lyric poem             A poem whose primary purpose is to
                       express emotion.
metaphor                    o a figure of speech that              She is the rose of the family and I am the thorn.
                                 compares or equates two
                                 seemingly unlike things.
                            o does not use “like” or “as”
meter                  A regular pattern of stressed and           Iambic pentameter (the length of the meter – the
                       unstressed syllables that gives a line of   pattern)
                       poetry its rhythm.
metonymy               Figurative language where the name of       “The White House refused to comment on the
                       a thing is substituted for a word or        allegations.” White House refers to the presidency
                       term closely associated with it
Modernism                   o A literary period (1900-50)              o    Hemingway
                            o themes of alienation and                 o    Fitzgerald
                                 disillusionment                       o    Frost and others

narrative poem         A poem that tells a story
narrative writing      Uses language to tell a story               Fiction
Naturalism                 o     A literary period                 Stephen Crane
                           o     Approx 1880-1940                  “An Episode of War”
                           o     An offshoot of Realism
                           o     Depicts life accurately but
                                 features characters trapped in
                                 situations beyond their
                                 control and enduring with
non-standard English   Language that is grammatically                  o Ain‟t
                       incorrect                                       o Them boys don‟t like me.
                                                                       o I seen Hailey‟s Comet.
                                                                       o I done seen Hailey‟s Comet.
                                                                       o Was you going to the store?
                                                                       o and more!!
noun                   Person, place, thing, or idea               Common nouns (general): band, president,
                                                                   Proper nouns (particular/capitalized)
                                                                   The Beatles, President Bush
object                              Answers the question „what‟                   Direct object: He threw the ball.
                                     or „who‟ after a verb or at the               Indirect object: I gave him $20.
                                     end of a phrase.                           Object of the prepostion: He climbed
                                If the object is a pronoun, you                up a tree.
                                     should use the objective case
                                     of the pronoun.
objective complement       Refers to the object as a noun or an        The named Mary secretary.
                           adjective                                   Everyone considered him foolish.
objective                  Writing that is free from opinion/bias
ode                        A lyric poem that praises something or
onomatopoeia               The technique of forming words that         “splash, fizz, honk, whoosh, buzz”
                           imitate specific sounds
paradox                    A statement that at first seems             Less is more
                           contradictory but which, upon
                           reflection, expresses a truth
parallelism                The repetition of grammatical               “I came, I saw, I conquered”
                           structures (parts of speech, phrases,       “My four little children will one day be judged not
                           clauses, etc)                               by the color of their skin but by the content of
                                                                       their character.” - King
parenthetical expression       o    an expression which is                  o He is, of course, my best friend.
                                    inserted into the flow of               o Being well-liked is, without a doubt, his
                                    thought                                     goal in life.
                               o    also called an interrupter
                               o    can be a word to provide
participial phrase             o    A phrase that contains a           Hoping against hope, the fans stayed until the
                                    participle and its objects         fourth quarter.
                               o    Used as an adjective               Traveling down the path, the runner sprained his
                               o    Set off with a comma at the        ankle.
                                    beginning of the sentence          The runner gave up the race having no hope of
                                                                       finishing. (no comma since the phrase is at the end
                                                                       of the sentence)
participle                         a verbal                                 I have running shoes.
                                   ends in „ing‟ or „ed‟                    Frightened, I ran down the street.
                                   looks like a verb                        Waiting patiently for the bus, I read a
                                   acts as a adjective                         book.
passive voice              When the subject receives the action             o Breakfast was eaten.
                           of the verb                                      o He was seen.
past participle form            o One of the four principal
                                    parts of a verb;
                                o used to form the present
                                    perfect and past perfect
personal pronoun                o Refers to the first person,          John and I went to see the movie, and he agreed
                                    second person, or third            with me that, of all of Julia Roberts‟s films, it was
                                    person                             her worst movie.
                                o Has nominative, objective,
                                    and possessive forms
personification            Giving human characteristics to             “Nature has a voice of gladness and a smile” –
                           animals, objects, or ideas                  Bryant, “Thanatopsis”
persuasive writing         Uses language to persuade or convince           o An editorial
                                                                           o A speech
                                                                           o A position paper
phrase                         A group of related words used as
                               a single part of speech and NOT
                               CONTAINING a verb and its
possessive pronoun         o    A personal pronoun in the            o    His girlfriend and her friends are going to
                                possessive case                           the movie.
                           o See personal pronoun                    o    The dog hurt its foot.
Postmodernism              o A literary period
                           o 1950-present day
                           o reflects the diversity present
                                in today‟s society
predicate adjective    An adjective complement that                  o    The sea is calm.
                       modifies the subject of a linking verb        o    The manuscripts are rare and valuable.
                       and follows the linking verb.
predicate nominative   The noun or pronoun complement that       Adela St. John was a famous writer.
                       renames the subject of the linking verb   The Twin Cities are St. Paul and Minneapolis.
                       and follows the linking verb.
preposition            A preposition links nouns and to          I went to the game after the dance
                       other words in a sentence.
                                                                 Commonly Used Prepositions
                                                                 about ▪above ▪ across▪ after
                                                                 against ▪ along ▪ amid ▪among ▪ around ▪ as ▪ at
                                                                 ▪before ▪ behind ▪ below▪ beneath ▪ beside ▪
                                                                 besides ▪ between ▪ beyond ▪ but (except) by ▪
                                                                 despite ▪ down▪ during ▪ except ▪ for ▪ from ▪ in ▪
                                                                 inside into ▪ like ▪ near ▪ of ▪off ▪ on
                                                                 onto ▪ opposite ▪ out ▪ outside
                                                                 over ▪ past ▪ since ▪ through ▪ throughout ▪ to▪
                                                                 toward ▪ under ▪ underneath ▪ until▪ unto ▪ up ▪
                                                                 upon ▪ with ▪ within ▪ without

prepositional phrase       o    A group of words beginning       He was in the conference room and he knew
                                with a preposition and ending    about the discussions which were held in May of
                                with a noun or a pronoun (the    this year.
                            o Can act as an adjective or an
pronoun                Takes the place of or refers to another   Huck struggles with his conscience as he and Jim
                       noun or pronoun (the antecedent)          travel down the river
proper noun            see “noun”
pun                    A play on words that have similar         When you step on the scale and find that you have
                       meanings                                  gained weight, it is time to scale back your eating.
Realism                    o A literary period                   Mark Twain
                           o 1850-1900                           Civil War Writing
                           o depicts life accurately
refrain                    o A word, phrase, or series of        “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way.”
                               line that is repeated to add
                               emphasis to a poem or song.
                           o Can make a poems/songs
                               more dramatic, rhythmic, and
Regionalisms               o Phrases associated with a           Southern regionalisms:
    also called                particular region                 “fixin‟ to”
    colloquialsisms        o Informal but not non-standard        “ya‟ll”
                                                                 “ I reckon”
reflexive pronoun      Refers to a noun or another pronoun       Jenny hurt herself on the car door.
                       and indicates that the same person or     Peter bought himself a new car.
                       thing is involved                         They found themselves as the center of attention.
regular verbs          Verbs that form the past tense and the
                       past participle forms by adding “ed”
relative pronoun            o Starts a dependent clause          Mark Twain is the man who wrote Life on the
                            o relates/refers to a noun or        Mississippi.
                                 pronoun in the independent
                                 clause                          The house that you saw is a historical landmark.
repetition                Refers to the repetition of specific
                          words or phrases though writing in
                          order to add emphasis
rhetoric                  The art of using words                      Rhetorical devices can include parallelism,
                                                                      repetition, and rhetorical questions. When people
                                                                      refer to a candidate‟s rhetoric, they are describing
                                                                      how the candidate uses words and how effective
                                                                      the words are.
Romanticism                   o     A literary period
                              o     1800-50
                              o     celebrates nature, beauty,
                                    emotion, and individualism
satire                    Literature that uses humor, irony, or       The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a satire of
                          sarcasm to expose the vices (bad            slavery and racism.
                          habits) or follies (foolish behaviors) of
                          a society
simile                    Compares two things using “like or          The ants trailed under the canopy of leaves like a
                          as”                                         train moving slowly into the station.
slant rhyme                    o Also called near rhyme or                o parable and shell
                                    half rhyme                            o green and gone
                               o The final consonant sounds               o bone and moon
                                    are the same but the vowel
                                    sounds are different
sonnet                    A fourteen line poem with a fixed
                          rhyme scheme
standard English          Language that is grammatically
stream of consciousness        o A characteristic of Modern
                               o The literary representation of
                                    a character‟s free flowing
                                    memories, thoughts, and
subject                        Who or what is carrying out the            One of the boys is hungry.
                               meaning of the verb.                       We are going to sleep.
                                                                          Hunting is my favorite activity.
                                       It corresponds to the verb        To err is human; to forgive divine.
                                        (the word that shows
                                        action or being)
                                    Must be a noun,
                                        pronoun, gerund or
                                    Is never in a
                                        prepositional phrase
                                    „Here‟ and „there‟ are
                                        never subjects.
subjective                Writing that contains opinion/bias
subordinating             Introduces dependent clauses
conjunction                                                           Commonly Used
                                                                      Subordinating Conjunctions
                                                                      after ▪ because ▪ so that ▪ until
                                                                      although ▪ before▪ provided ▪
                                                                      than ▪ unless ▪ as ▪ how ▪ since
                                                                      that ▪ if ▪ where ▪ though ▪ when▪
                                                                      whenever ▪ wherever ▪ which ▪so

                                                                      We didn‟t know the reason until we got there.
                                                                      After she took a nap, she felt much better.
                                                                      We arrived late because our train was delayed.
symbol               Any object, person, place, or                   o   The white whale in Moby Dick represents
                     experience that exists on a literal level           the power of nature.
                     but also represents something else that        o The seeds in Death of a Salesman
                     is usually abstract (like an idea)                  represent Willy‟s hopes for the future
synecdoche           A part is used to represent the whole       “wheels” = car “threads” = clothes
The American Dream       o    A primary theme of
                              American Literature
                          o The idea that anyone,
                              regardless of his or her
                              background, can achieve
                              success through hard work
                              and determination.
theme                     o The central message of a             The primary themes in American Literature are:
                              work of literature that readers        o American Individualism
                              can apply to life                      o The American Dream
                          o An idea that is addressed one            o Cultural Diversity
                              way or another through out             o Tolerance
                              the work.
tone                 Describes the emotion created by an         One uses adjectives to describe the tone of a work.
                     author‟s use of language and/or             The tone could be playful, optimistic, pessimistic,
                     through a character‟s words and             angry, etc.
Transcendentalism         o A literary movement that was             o    Part of the New England Renaissance –
                              an offshoot of Romanticism                  an effort to define a uniquely American
                          o 1800-50                                       literary style.
                          o saw nature and intuition as a            o Founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
                              vehicle to understanding the           o Set forth by Emerson in his essay
                              meaning of life.                            “Nature”
understatement            o Opposite of hyperbole                Saying it‟s a little warm in August in Atlanta
                          o The statement minimalizes
                              the idea
unity                A term that refers to the fact that each
                     sentence in a paragraph should relate
                     to the main idea/topic sentence.
verb                 Shows action, a state of being or helps     I am hungry
                     to make a statement.                        He is hoping.
                                                                 She wrote a note
                                                                 They laughed
verb phrase              o    A verb of more than one            He has spoken
                              word                               Joe should have been there.
                         o    Made of main verb and one          I do not want to see my grade.
                              or more helping verbs
verbals                  o    Words that look like verbs
                              but act as another part of
                         o    See participles, infinitives,
                              and gerunds
You can also consider this a study guide for the American literature

                                          End of Course test!