Mrs. Spearman's AP English III

         TERM                                                         DEFINITION                                                                EXAMPLE

1   ABSTRACT       Refers to language that describes CONCEPTS rather than concrete images (ideas/qualities rather than
                   observable/specific things, people, or places); the observable or "physical" is usually described in concrete

2   ALLEGORY       Is a story with a second distinct meaning partially hidden behind its literal or visible meaning.

3   ALLITERATION   Is the practice of beginning several consecutive or neighboring words with the same initial consonant sound: e.g.,
                   “The twisting trout twinkled below.”

4   ALLUSION       Is the indirect or passing reference to a mythological, literary, or historical person, place, or thing: e.g., “He met
                   his Waterloo.”

5   ANALOGY        Is the comparison of two similar but different things, usually to clarify an action or a relationship. e.g., "The
                   heart is like a pump."

6   ANAPHORA       Is the repetition of key words or phrases at the beginning of sentences or lines in order to place emphasis: e.g.
                   "We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on…We shall fight…"

7   ANTITHESIS     Is a direct juxtaposition of structurally parallel words, phrases, or clauses for the purpose of contrast: e.g.,
                   “Sink or swim.”

8   APHORISM       Is a proverbial saying, a short statement that reveals a principled belief or a principle about life: e.g. Benjamin
                   Franklin's "Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead" OR "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

9    APOSTROPHE      Is a form of personification in which the absent or dead are spoken to as if present and the inanimate, as if
                     animate. These are all addressed directly: e.g., “M ilton! Thou shouldst be living at this hour.” (Wordsworth)

10   ASSONANCE       Is the repetition of accent vowel sounds in a series of words: e.g., the words “cry” and “side” have the same
                     vowel sound and so are said to be in assonance.

11   ASYNDETON       The omission of a conjunction from a list or series. e.g., chips, beans, peas, vinegar, salt, pepper

12   CHIASMUS        Is the arrangement of ideas in a second clause is reversal of the first e.g., "Eat to live; don't live to eat."

13   COLLOQUIALISM   Is a word or phrase (including slang) used in everyday conversation and informal writing but that is often
                     inappropriate in formal writing e.g., y'all, ain't

14   CONCEIT         Is a far-fetched simile or metaphor; a literary conceit occurs when the speaker compares two highly dissimilar

15   CONCRETE        Refers to language that describes specific, observable things, people or places, rather than ideas or qualities
                     (abstract language)

16   CONNOTATION     Is the implied or suggested meaning of a word because of its association In the reader's mind.

17   CONSONANCE       Is the repetition of consonant sounds within a series of words using different vowels in various positions: e.g.,
                      “And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.” The “d” sound is in consonance. The “s” sound is also in

18   DENOTATION       The literal meaning of a word as defined by the dictionary; opposed to the connotative meaning.

19   DETAILS          Are the facts revealed by the author or speaker that support the attitude or tone in a piece of poetry or prose.

20   DICTION          An author's word choice intended to convey a certain effect; an element of style. Contributes to tone, attitude,
                      style, and meaning.

                      For the AP Language exam, you should be able to describe an author's diction (formal, 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, and so on, creates an author's style. TIP: This term frequently
                      appears on the AP essay question's wording. In your thesis, avoid phrases such as, "The author uses diction…"
                      Because diction is word choice, it would be like saying, "The author uses words to write…"

21   DIDACTIC         writing whose purpose is to instruct or teach; usually formal and focuses on moral or ethical concerns; can be
                      fiction or nonfiction

22   EPISTROPHE       Repetition of a word or expression at the end of successive phrases, clauses, sentences, or verses especially for
                      rhetorical or poetic effect.
                      "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child." (Corinthians)
                      "of the people, by the people, for the people." Lincoln

23   ETHICAL APPEAL   When a writer tries to persuade the audience to respect and believe him or her based on a presentation of image
                      of self through the text. Goal is to gain the audience's confidence.

24   EUPHEMISM        A more acceptable and usually a more pleasant or less offensive way of saying something that might be
                      inappropriate or uncomfortable. Often used to obscure the reality of the situation. (ex: "He went to his final
                      reward." versus "He died." "earthly remains" versus "corpse")

25   EXTENDED            A sustained comparison often referred to as conceit. It's developed throughout a piece of writing. (ex. The
     METAPHOR            Journey)

26   FIGURES OF SPEECH   Are words or phrases that describe one thing in terms of something else. They always involve some sort of
                         imaginative comparison between seemingly unlike things. Not meant to be taken literally, figurative language is
                         used to produce images in a reader‟s mind and to express ideas in fresh, vivid, and imaginative ways. The most
                         common examples of figurative language, or figures of speech, used in both prose and poetry, are simile,
                         metaphor, and personification.

27   FLASHBACK           Is a scene that interrupts the action of a work to show a previous event.

28   FORESHADOWING       Is the use of hints or clues in a narrative to suggest future action.

                         a sermon or serious talk, speech or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice (ex. MLK’s “I Have a

30   HYPERBOLE           Is a deliberate, extravagant, and often outrageous exaggeration: e.g., “The shot heard „round the world.‟” It may
                         be used for either serious or comic effect. "He was so hungry he could have eaten a horse."

31   IMAGERY             Consists of the words or phrases a writer uses to represent persons, objects, actions, feelings, and ideas
                         descriptively by appealing to the senses in order to create a mental picture.

     INFERENCE           A conclusion one can draw from the presented details

33   MONOLOGUE           Writing that records the conversation that occurs inside a character‟s head.

                         A situation or statement in which the actual outcome or meaning is opposite to what was expected.
34   IRONY
                         VERBAL IRONY occurs when a speaker or narrator says one thing meaning the opposite.
                         SITUATIONAL IRONY occurs when a situation turns out differently from what one would normally expect.
                         DRAMATIC IRONY occurs when the words and actions of a character/speaker have a different meaning for the
                              reader than they do for the character.

35   JARGON              The special language of a profession or group usually that which is evasive and unintelligible to outsiders.
                         (writings of a lawyer)

36   JUXTAPOSITION     Placing dissimilar items, descriptions, or ideas close together or side by side especially for comparison or

                       The process of reasoning
37   LOGIC

38   LOGICAL FALLACY   A mistake in reasoning

                       Logical appeal; the act of persuasion by appealing to one‟s logic instead of morals or emotions
39   LOGOS

40   METAPHOR          Is a comparison of two unlike things not using “like” or “as”: e.g.,  “Time is money.”
                       a figure of speech that uses the name of an object, person, or idea to represent something with
                       which it is associated, such as using “the crown” to refer to a monarch ; Also, “The pen is mightier
41   METONOMY          than the sword.”

                       Is the atmosphere or predominant emotion in a literary work; similar to tone, it is the primary
                       emotional attitude of a work (the feeling of the work; the atmosphere). Syntax is also a determiner
42   MOOD              of this term because sentence strength, length, and complexity affect pacing. (short sentences
                       build suspense)

                       main theme idea or subject of a work that is elaborated on in the development of the piece; a
                       repeated pattern or idea (alienation in Scarlet Letter is a motif; alienation can be used as a form of
43   MOTIF
                       punishment is a THEME of the novel)

                       Is a circumstance or set of circumstances that prompts a character to act in a certain way or that
                       determines the outcome of a situation or work.

45   NARRATION         Is the telling of a story in writing or speaking.

46   ONOMATOPOEIA      Is the use of words that mimic the sounds they describe: e.g., “hiss,” “buzz,” and “bang.”

                       Is a form of paradox that combines a pair of opposite terms into a single unusual expression; a
                       combination of contradictory words and meanings
                       e.g., “sweet sorrow” “cold fire” “wise fool” ” bitter-sweet” “pretty ugly” “jumbo shrimp”

                       Occurs when the elements of a statement contradict each other or are opposed to common sense
                       but upon closer examination contain some degree of truth or validity. Although the statement may
48   PARADOX           appear illogical, impossible, or absurd, it turns out to have a coherent meaning that reveals a
                       hidden truth: e.g., "War is peace." "Freedom is slavery." “Ignorance is strength." (George Orwell,
                       the technique of arranging words, phrases, clauses, or larger structures by placing them side by
                       side and making them similar in form. Parallel structure may be as simple a s listing two or three
                       modifiers in a row to describe the same noun or verb; it may take the form of two or more of the
     PARALLELISM       same type of phrases that modify the same noun or verb; it may also take the form of two or more
49                     subordinate clauses that modify the sam e noun or verb.
                       Example (from Churchill): “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds,
                       we shall fight in the fields.”

                       Emotional appeal; an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or

     PERIODIC          sentence beginning with an introductory phrase or clause

                       Is a kind of metaphor that gives inanimate objects or abstract ideas human characteristics: e.g.,
                       “The wind cried in the dark.”

                       a form of argumentation; language intended to convince through appeals to reason or emotion.

54   PLOT              Is the sequence of events or actions in a short story, novel, plat, or narrative poem.

                     Is the perspective from which a narrative is told.
                           First person narrator         a narrator, referred to as “I,” who is a character in the story and
                           relates the actions through his or her own perspective, also revealing his or her own thoughts

                          Omniscient          third person narrator, referred to as “he,” “she,” or “they,” who is able to
                          see into each character‟s mind and understands all the action
                          Limited Omniscient a third person narrator who reports the thoughts of only one character
                          and generally only what that one character sees

                          Objective a third person narrator who only reports what would be visible to a camera;
                          thoughts and feelings are only revealed if a character speaks of them

                     Sentence which uses and or another conjunction (with no commas) to separate the items in a
                     series. Polysyndeton appear in the form of X and Y and Z, stressing equally each member of a
56   POLYSYNDETON    series. It makes the sentence slower and the items more emphatic than in the asyndeton. (“She
                     made okra and beans and rice and ham.)

                     Is the central character of a drama, novel, short story, or narrative poem. Conversely, the antagonist
                     is the character who stands directly opposed to the protagonist.

                     Is a play on words that are identical or similar in sound but have sharply diverse meanings. Puns
58   PUN             can have serious as well as humorous uses: e.g., “Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a
                     grave man.” "Do you want some cheese to go with your whine?”

                     A statement that draws attention from the central issue (the yellow bird in The Crucible)

                     Is the deliberate use of any element of language more than once —sound, word, phrase, sentence,
                     grammatical pattern, or rhythmical pattern.

                     the art of writing and speaking effectively and persuasively

                      Asking a question without desiring a response
                      The repetition of sounds in two or more words or phrases that appear close to each other in a
63   RHYME

                      Is the use of verbal irony in which a person appears to be praising something but is actually
64   SARCASM          insulting it: e.g., “As I fell down the stairs head first, I heard her say, „Look at that coordination.‟”
                      Writing that attacks human folly; a work that reveals a critical attitude toward some element of
65   SATIRE           human behavior by portraying it in an extreme way.
66   SENTENCE TYPES   Simple

67   SETTING          Is the time and place in which events in a short story, novel, play, or narrative poem take place.

                      Refers to a change or movement in a piece resulting from an epiphany, realization, or insight
                      gained by the speaker, a character, or the reader.

                      Is a comparison of two different things or ideas through the use of the words “like” or “as.” e.g.,
                      “The warrior fought like a lion.”

                      Are stylistic techniques that convey meaning through s ound. Some examples are:
                      RHYME (two words having the same sound)
                      ASSONANCE (repetition of similar vowel sounds)
                      CONSONANCE (repetition of consonant sounds in the middle or at the end of words)
                      ALLITERATION (words beginning with the same consonant sound)
                      ONOMATOPOEIA (words that sound like their meaning)

                      When a writer argues against a claim that nobody actually holds or is universally considered weak.
71   STRAW MAN        Setting up a straw man diverts attention from the real issue. (political ads taking words out of

                      Is the framework or organization of a literary selection. For example, the structure of fiction is usually
                      determined by plot and by chapter division; the structure of drama depends upon its division into
                      acts and scenes; the structure of an essay depends upon the organization of ideas; the structure of
                      poetry is determined by its rhyme scheme and stanzaic form.

                          Is the writer‟s characteristic manner of employing language (DICTION and SYNTAX and FIGURES
73   STYLE
                          OF SPEECH).

                          Using a dependent/subordinate clause with an independent clause in a sentence (complex or
                          compound complex)

                          Is the quality of a short story, novel, play, or narrative poem that makes the reader or audience
                          uncertain or tense about the out outcome of events.

                          A form of reasoning where two statements are made and a conclusion is drawn from them. Major
76   SYLLOGISM            premise + minor premise + conclusion (All tragedies end unhappily + Hamlet is a tragedy +
                          Therefore, Hamlet ends unhappily.

                          Is any object, person, place, or action that has both a meaning in itself and that stands for
77   SYMBOL               something larger than itself, such as a quality, attitude, belief, or value: e.g., the forest in Scarlet

                          Is a form of metaphor. In synecdoche, a part of something is used to signify the whole: e.g., “All
                          hands on deck.” Also, the reverse, whereby the whole can represent a part, is synecdoche: e.g.,
     SYNECDOCHE           “Canada played the Unites States in the Olympic hockey finals.” In one last form of synecdoche,
     (METONYMY)           the material from which an object is made stands for the object itself: e.g., “The quarterback tossed
                          the pigskin.” In metonymy, the name of one thing is applied to another thing with which it is closely
                          associated: e.g., “I love Shakespeare.”

                          Means the arrangement of words and the order of grammatical elements in a sentence.
                          Contributes to a writer's style

                          Is the central message of a literary work. It is not the same as a subject, wh ich can be expressed
                          in a word or two: courage, survival, war, pride, etc. The theme is the idea the author wishes to
                          convey about the subject. It is expressed as a sentence or general statement about life or human
80   THEME
                          nature. A literary work can have more than one theme, and most themes are not directly stated but
                          are implied. An example of a theme on the subject of pride might be that pride often precedes a

                          Is the writer‟s or speaker‟s attitude toward a subject, character, or audience, an d it is covered
81   TONE                 through the author‟s choice of words and detail. Tone can be serious, humorous, sarcastic,
                          objective, etc.

                          The intentional use of a word or expression figuratively (used in a different sense from its original
82   TROPE                significance in order to give vividness or emphasis) (ex. Irony, metaphor, metonymy, simile, etc.)

                          Is the opposite of hyperbole. It is a kind of irony that deliberately represents something as being
83                        much less than it really is: e.g., “I could probably manage to survive on a salary of $2 million a

                  Using dialect of a certain region or group; the everyday speech of the people

                  How the speaker presents himself; giving personality to one‟s writing
85   VOICE
                  Use of verb with two different meanings with objects that complement both
86   ZEUGMA       (He stole her car and her heart that fateful night.)

To top