CCSS:
  • Language 4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
  • Language 5: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.


Interactive Site

Literary Terms

Follow each set weekly. Summative exam to follow in last set.



Set One: Allegory Through Apostrophe


AP English Language Allegory-Apostrophe

Set Two: Argument Through Consonance


AP English Language Argument Through Consonance


Set Three: Deduction Through Extended Metaphor


AP English Language Deduction Through Extended Metaphor

Set Four: Genre Through Metonymy

AP English Language Genre Through Metonymy

Set Five: Mood Through Personification

AP English Language Mood Through Personification

Set Six: Point of View Through Satire

AP English Language Point of View Through Satire


Set Seven: Situational Irony Through Voice


AP English Language Situational Irony Through Voice

Interactive Site

Final Set with All Literary Terms





Name that device:



  1. Allegory a work that functions on a symbolic level
  2. Alliteration use of the same consonant at the beginning of each stressed syllable in a line of verse
  3. Allusion a reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art
  4. Analogy drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect
  5. Anaphora the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of consecutive lines or sentences
  6. Anecdote short story of an amusing or interesting event
  7. Antecedent a preceding occurrence or cause or event
  8. Antithesis an opposition or contrast of ideas that is often expressed in balanced phrases or clauses
  9. Aphorism a brief, cleverly worded statement that makes a wise observation about life
  10. Apostrophe a technique by which a writer addresses an inanimate object, an idea, or a person who is either dead or absent
  11. Argument a fact or assertion offered as evidence that something is true
  12. Assonance the repetition of similar vowels in the stressed syllables of successive words
  13. Asyndeton Commas used (with no conjunction) to separate a series of words. The parts are emphasized equally when the conjunction is omitted; in addition, the use of commas with no intervening conjunction speeds up the flow of the sentence. Asyndeton takes the form of X, Y, Z as opposed to X, Y, and Z. Ex: "Be one of the few, the proud, the Marines." Marine Corps Ex: "We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardships, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." John F. Kennedy
  14. Attitude the relationship an author has toward his or her subject, and/or his or her audience
  15. Character person or animal that takes part in the action of a literary work
  16. Chiasmus Arrangement of repeated thoughts in the pattern of X Y Y X. It is often short and summarizes a main idea.
  17. Cliche an overused saying or idea
  18. Colloquialism characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech
  19. Connotation a meaning or association suggested by a word beyond its definition
  20. Consonance repetition of identical consonant sounds within two or more words in close proximity, as in boost/best; it can also be seen within several compound words, such as fulfill and ping-pong
  21. Deduction reasoning from the general to the particular (or from cause to effect)
  22. Denotation the literal meaning of a word
  23. Dependent Clause a clause in a complex sentence that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence and that functions within the sentence as a noun or adjective or adverb
  24. Description the purpose of this rhetorical mode is to re-create, invent, or visually present a person, place, event, or action so that the reader can picture that being described; sometimes an author engages all five senses.
  25. Diction the author's choice of words
  26. Direct Object the object that receives the direct action of the verb
  27. Dramatic Irony occurs when another character(s) and/or the audience know more than one or more characters on stage about what is happening
  28. Ethos the appeal of a text to the credibility and character of the speaker, writer, or narrator
  29. Euphemism an indirect, less offensive way of saying something that is considered unpleasant
  30. Extended Metaphor the comparison between two things is continued beyond the first point of comparison; this extends and deepens a description.
  31. Genre type or category of literary work (e.g., poetry, essay, short story, novel, drama)
  32. Homily a sermon, or a moralistic lecture
  33. Cacophony harsh, jarring, discordant sound; dissonance
  34. Hyperbole a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor
  35. Independent Clause a clause in a complex sentence that can stand alone as a complete sentence
  36. Indirect Object the object that is the recipient or beneficiary of the action of the verb
  37. Invective An intensely vehement, highly emotional verbal attack
  38. Logos an appeal based on logic or reason
  39. Metaphor a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity
  40. Metonymy symbolism; one thing is used as a substitute for another with which it is closely identified (the White House)
  41. Mood a prevailing emotional tone or general attitude
  42. Narration the act of recounting the particulars of an event in the order of time or occurrence
  43. Narrative consisting of or characterized by the telling of a story
  44. Onomatopoeia the use of words that mimic sounds. they appeal to our sense of hearing and they help bring a description to life. a string of syllables the author has made up to represent the way a sound really sounds. example: caarackle!
  45. Oxymoron a figure of speech consisting of two apparently contradictory terms
  46. Paradox a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
  47. Parallelism refers to the grammatical or rhetorical framing of words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs to give structural similarity.
  48. Parody a composition that imitates somebody's style in a humorous way
  49. Pathos quality in drama, speech, literature, music, or events that arouses a feeling of pity or sadness
  50. Personification a figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes
  51. Point of View the perspective from which the writer tells the story (1st, 2nd, 3rd person; omniscient, limited omniscient)
  52. Predicate tells what the subject is or does
  53. Predicate Adjective follows a linking verb and describes the subject
  54. Predicate Noun follows a linking verb and defines or renames the subject
  55. Pronoun/Antecedent the antecedent is the word the pronoun replaces
  56. Prose ordinary speech or writing without rhyme or meter; referring to speech or writing other than verse
  57. Repetition sounds, words, phrases, lines or stanzaz are repeated for emphasis
  58. Rhetoric the art or study of effective use of language for communication and persuasion
  59. Sarcasm from the Greek meaning "to tear flesh," ___ involves bitter, caustic language that is meant to hurt or ridicule someone or something; it may use irony as a device
  60. Satire language or writing that exposes follies or abuses by holding them up to ridicule
  61. Situational Irony an outcome that turns out to be very different from what was expected, the difference between what is expected to happen and what actually does
  62. Stream-of-consciousness a narrative technique that places the reader in the mind and thought process of the narrator, no matter how random or spontaneous that may be
  63. Subject tells whom or what the sentence is about
  64. Syllogism deductive reasoning in which a conclusion is derived from two premises
  65. Symbol anything that stands for or represents something else
  66. Synecdoche using a part of something to represent the whole thing
  67. Syntax the rules for combining words into grammatically sensible sentences in a given language.
  68. Theme central idea of a work of literature
  69. Thesis an unproved statement put forward as a premise in an argument
  70. Third Person Limited point of view which represents the feelings of only one character, presenting only the actions of all remaining characters
  71. Tone the author's attitude toward the subject or audience, either stated or implied
  72. Understatement the opposite of exaggeration; it is a technique for developing irony and/or humor where one writes or says less than intended
  73. Verbal Irony in this type of irony, the words literally state the opposite of the writer's true meaning
  74. Voice can refer to two different areas of writing; one refers to the relationship between a sentence's subject and verb (active and passive); the second refers to the total "sound" of the writer's style.