GLOSSARY OF LITERARY TERMS Essay

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GLOSSARY OF LITERARY TERMS TO KNOW FOR THE AP EXAMS IN ENGLISH
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absolute—a word free from limitations or qualifications (“best,” “all,” “unique,” “perfect”) adage—a familiar proverb or wise saying ad hominem argument—an argument attacking an individual’s character rather than his or her position on an issue allegory—a literary work in which characters, objects, or actions represent abstractions alliteration—the repetition of initial sounds in successive or neighboring words allusion—a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize analogy—a comparison of two different things that are similar in some way anaphora—the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of consecutive lines or sentences anecdote—a brief narrative that focuses on a particular incident or event antecedent—the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers antithesis—a statement in which two opposing ideas are balanced

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aphorism—a concise statement that expresses succinctly a general truth or idea, often using rhyme or balance apostrophe—a figure of speech in which one directly addresses an absent or imaginary person, or some abstraction archetype—a detail, image, or character type that occurs frequently in literature and myth and is thought to appeal in a universal way to the unconscious and to evoke a response argument—a statement of the meaning or main point of a literary work asyndeton—a construction in which elements are presented in a series without conjunctions balanced sentence—a sentence in which words, phrases, or clauses are set off against each other to emphasize a contrast bathos—insincere or overly sentimental quality of writing/speech intended to evoke pity chiasmus—a statement consisting of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed (“Susan walked in, and out rushed Mary”) cliché—an expression that has been overused to the extent that its freshness has worn off climax—the point of highest interest in a literary work

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colloquialism—informal words or expressions not usually acceptable in formal writing complex sentence—a sentence with one independent clause and at least one dependent clause compound sentence—a sentence with two or more coordinate independent clauses, often joined by one or more conjunctions conceit—a fanciful, particularly clever extended metaphor concrete details—details that relate to or describe actual, specific things or events connotation—the implied or associative meaning of a word cumulative sentence (also known as loose sentence)—a sentence in which the main independent clause is elaborated by the successive addition of modifying clauses or phrases declarative sentence—a sentence that makes a statement or declaration deductive reasoning—reasoning in which a conclusion is reached by stating a general principle and then applying that principle to a specific case (The sun rises every morning; therefore, the sun will rise on Tuesday morning.) denotation—the literal meaning of a word

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dialect—a variety of speech characterized by its own particular grammar or pronunciation, often associated with a particular geographical region dialogue—conversation between two or more people diction—the word choices made by a writer didactic—having the primary purpose of teaching or instructing dilemma—a situation that requires a person to decide between two equally attractive or equally unattractive alternatives dissonance—harsh, inharmonious, or discordant sounds elegy—a formal poem presenting a meditation on death or another solemn theme ellipsis—the omission of a word or phrase which is grammatically necessary but can be deduced from the context (“Some people prefer cats; others, dogs”).…