AP Rhetorical Strategies ; Literary Devices

story or poem in which characters, settings and events stand for other people or events or for abstract ideas

repetition of the same or similar consonant sounds in words that are close together

reference to someone or something that is known from history, literature, religion, politics, sports, science, or another branch of culture. An indirect reference to something (usually from lit.)

deliberately suggesting two or more different, and sometimes conflicting, meanings in a work. An event or situation that may be interpreted in more than one way- this is done on purpose by the author,when it is not done on purpose, it is vagueness, and detracts from the work

Best services for writing your paper according to Trustpilot

Premium Partner
From $18.00 per page
4,8 / 5
Writers Experience
Recommended Service
From $13.90 per page
4,6 / 5
Writers Experience
From $20.00 per page
4,5 / 5
Writers Experience
* All Partners were chosen among 50+ writing services by our Customer Satisfaction Team
comparison made between two things to show how they are alike

repetition of a word, phrase, or clasue at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row.

Helps make the writer’s point more coherent

inversion of the usual, normal. or logical order of the parts of a sentence

brief story, told to illustrate a point or serve as an example of something, often shows character of an individual

opponent who struggles against or blocks the hero, or protagonist, in a story

repetition of words in successive clauses in reverse grammatical order

balancing words, phrases, or ideas that are strongly contrasted often by means of grammatical structure

central character who lacks all the qualities traditionally associated with heroes.May lack courage grace, intelligence, or moral scruples

attributing human characteristics to an animal or inanimate object

brief, cleverly worded statement that makes a wise observation about life, or of a principle or accepted general truth

calling out to an imaginary, dead, or absent person, or to a place or a thing, or a personified abstract idea.

Examples: “O Julius Caesar thou are mighty yet; thy spirit walks abroad,” or “Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll.”

placing in immediately succeeding order of two or more coordinate elements, the latter of which is an explanation, qualification, or modification of the first (often set off by a colon)

the repetition of similar vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds especially in words that are together

commas used without conjunctions to separate a series of words, thus emphasizing the parts equally.

constructing a sentence so that both halves are about the same length and importance. Sentences can be unbalanced to serve a special effect as well

the process by which the writher reveals the personality of a character

indirect characterization
the author reveals to the reader describing what the character looks on the outside, by hearing what the character says, by revealing the character’s private thoughts and feelings, by revealing the characters effect on people or by showing the character in action

direct characterization
the author tells us directly what the character is like

static character
is one who does not change much in the course of a story

dynamic character
is one who changes in some important way as a result of the story’s action

flat character
has only one or two personality traits.

They are one dimensional, like a piece of cardboard. They can be summed up in one phrase

round character
has more dimensions to their personalities-they are complex, just as real people are

in poetry, a type of rhetorical balance in which the second part is syntactically balanced against the first, but with the parts reversed

is a word or phrase, often a figure of speech, that has become lifeless because of overuse

a word or phrase in everyday use in conversation and informal writing but is inappropriate for formal situations

a story that ends with a happy resolution of the conflicts faced by the main character or characters

an elaborate metaphor that compares two things that are startlingly different. Often an extended metaphor

confessional poetry
a twentieth century term used to describe poetry that uses intimate material from the poet’s life

the struggle between opposing forces or characters in a story

external conflict
conflicts can exist between two people, between a person and nature or a machine or between a person a whole society

internal conflict
a conflict can be internal, involving opposing forces within a person’s mind

the associations and emotional overtones that have become attached to a word or phrase, in addition to its strict dictionary definition

two consecutive rhyming lines of poetry

a way of speaking that is characteristic of a certain social group or of the inhabitants of a certain geographical area

a speaker or writer’s choice of words

form of fiction or nonfiction that teaches a specific lesson or moral or provides a model of correct behavior or thinking

a poem of mourning, usually about someone who has died

is great praise or commendation, a laudatory speech, often about someone who has died

device of repetition in which the same expression (single word or phrase) is repeated both at the beginning and at the end of a line, clause or sentence

a long narrative poem, written in heightened language, which recounts the deeds of a heroic character who embodies the values of a particular society

a quotation or aphorism at the beginning of a literary work suggestive of the theme

device of repetition in which the same expression (single word or phrase) is repeated at the end of two or more lines, clauses or sentences. Opposite of an anaphora

an adjective or adjective phrase applied to a person or thing that is frequently used to emphasize a characteristic quality

a short piece of nonfiction prose in which the write discusses some aspect of a subject

one of the four forms of discourse which uses logic, ethics, and emotional appeals to develop an effective means to convince the reader to think or act in a certain way

relies more on emotional appeals than on facts

from of persuasion that appeals to reason instead of emotion to convince the audience to think or act in a certain way

causal relationship
form of argumentation in which the writer claims that one thing results from another, often used as part of a logical argument

a form of discourse taht uses language to create a mood or emotion

one of the four major forms of discourse, in which something is explained or “set forth”

the form of discourse that tells about a series of events

act of interpreting or discovering the meaning of a text, usually involves close reading and special attention to figurative language

a very short story told in prose or poetry that teaches a practical lesson about how to succeed in life

a type of comedy in which ridiculous and often stereotyped characters are involved in silly far-fetched situations

figurative language
words which are inaccurate if interpreted literally, but are used to describe. Similes and metaphors are common forms

a scene that interrupts the normal chronological sequence of events in a story to depict something that happened at an earlier time

a character who acts as a contrast to another character. Often a funny sidekick to the dashing hero, or a villain contrasting the hero

the use of hints and clues to suggest what will happen later in a plot

free verse
poetry that does not conform to a regular rhyme scheme

a figure of speech that uses an incredible exaggeration or overstatement for effect

sentence marked by the use of connecting words between clauses or sentences explicitly showing the logical or other relationships between them

the use of language to evoke a picture or a concrete sensation of a person, a thing, a place, or an experience

the reversal of the normal word order in a sentence or phrase

a discrepancy between appearances and reality.

verbal irony
occurs when someone says one thing but really means something else

situational irony
takes place when there is a discrepancy between what is expected to happen, or what would be appropriate to happen, and what really does happen

dramatic irony
is so called because it is often used on stage.

A character in the play or story thinks one thing is true, but the audience or reader knows better

poetic and rhetorical device in which normally unassociated ideas, words, or phrases are placed next to each other to create an effect of surprise and wit

is a form of understatement in which the positive for is emphasized through the negation of a negative form

local color
a term applied to fiction or poetry which tends to place special emphasis on a particular setting, including its customs, clothing, dialect and landscape

loose sentence
one in which the main clause comes first, followed by further dependent grammatical units

lyric poem
a poem that does not tell a story but expresses the personal feelings or thoughts of a speaker

a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things without the use of such specific words of comparison as like, as, than, or resembles

implied metaphor
does not explicitly state the two terms of comparison

extended metaphor
a metaphor that is extended or developed as far as the writer wants to take it

dead metaphor
is a metaphor that has been used so often that the comparison is no longer vivid

mixed metaphor
a metaphor that has gotten out of control and mixes its terms that they are visually incompatible

a figure of speech in which a person, place, or thing, is referred to something closely related to it

an atmosphere created by a writer’s diction and the details selected

a reoccuring image, word,phrase,action, idea, object, or situtation used throughout a work tying new ideas to the theme

the reasons for a character’s behavior

the use of words whose sounds echo their sense

a figure of speech that combines opposite or contradictory terms in a brief phrase

a relatively short story that teaches a moral, or lesson about how to lead a good life

a statement that appears self-contradictory but reveals a kind of truth

parallel structure (parallelism)
the repetition of words or phrases that have similar grammatical structureSCHEME

paratactic sentence
simply juxtaposes clauses or sentences

a work that makes fun of another work by imitating some aspect of the writer’s style

a sentence that places the main idea or central complete thought at the end of the sentence, after all introductory elements

a figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts or attitudes

the series of related events in a story or play, sometimes called the story line

introduces characters, situation and setting

rising action
complications in conflict and situations

turning point

the conclusion of the story where all of the conflicts are solved

point of view
the vantage point from which the writer tells a story

first person p.o.v.

one of the characters tells the story

third person p.o.v.
an unknown narrator, tells the story, but the narrator zooms into focus on the thoughts and feelings of only one character

omniscient p.o.v.
the narrator tells the story using third person pronouns and tells us everything about many characters

objective p.


a narrator who is totally impersonal and objective tells teh story, with no comment on any characters or events

sentence which uses a conjunction with no commas to separate items in a series

the central character in a story, the one who initiates or drives the action

a “play on words” based on the multiple meanings of a single word or on words that sound alike but mean different things.

a poem consisting of four lines, or four lines of a poem that can be considered as a unit

a word, phrase, line or group of lines that is repeated, for effect, several times in a poem

a rise and fall of the voice produced by the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables in language

art of effective communication, especially persuasive discourse

rhetorical question
a question asked for an effect, and not actually requiring an answer

in general, a story in which an idealized hero or heroin takes a quest and is successful

a type of writing that ridicules the shortcomings of people or institutions in order to bring about a change

a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” “as” “than” or “resembles”

a long speech made by a character in a play while no other characters are on stage

a fixed idea or conception of a charater or an idea which does not allow for any individuality, often based on religious,social or racial prejudices

stream of consciousness
a style of writing that portrays the inner workings of a characters mind

the distinctive way in which a writer uses language

a feeling of uncertainty and curiosity about what will happen next in a story

a person, place, or thing that has meaning in itself and that also stands for something more than itself

a part that represents a whole

syntactic fluency
abiltity to create a variety of sentence structures appropriately complex and/ or simple and varied in length

syntactic permutation
sentence structure that are extraordinarily complex and involved, Difficult for the reader to follow

tall tale
an outrageously exaggerated, humorous story that is obviously unbelieveable

telegraphic sentence
a sentence shorter than five words in length

the insight about human life that is revealed in a literary work

the attitude a writer takes toward the subject of a work.

a story in which a heroic character either dies or comes to some other unhappy end

sentence of three parts of equal or importance and length, usually three independent clauses

something that says less than what is meant

unified parts of the writing are related to one central idea or organizing principle

the language spoken by the people who live in a particular locality

expressing the quantity of something limiting the variables that could change

taking away the human qualities

a more agreeable or less offensive subsitute for a generally unpleasant word or concept

an example if there is emphasis on the important and placement

scesis onomaton
figure of speech were a set of two or more different words having the same meaning occurs within the same sentence

use of a word to modify or govern two or more words although its use may be grammatically correct

figure of repetition that combines anaphora and epistrophe in which the first and last words in one phrase clause or sentence are repeated

a noun or noun phrase that renames another noun right beside it.

making separate, mention or recounting; A detailed account in which each thing is specially noticed

repetition of the last word or one line or clause to begin to next. leads to climax

figure of argument in which a wise, witty or pith maxim or aphorism is used to sum up the proceeding material

raising questions and answering them

the mention of something in disclaming intention of mentioning it.

or pretending to deny what is really affirmed.

abstract language
Language describing ideas and qualities rather than observable or specific things, people, or places. The observable or “physical” is usually described in concrete language.