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Snodgrass Literary Terms

SNODGRASS' ENGLISH LITERARY TERMS except obvious ones like metaphor, similie, etc.


undefined, object
copy deck
art of effective communication.
parenthetical idea
parentheses are used to set off an idea from the rest of the sentence. it is almost considered an aside, and should be used sparingly for effect, rather than repeatedly.
a term used to describe fiction, nonfiction or poetry that teaches a specific lesson or moral or provides a model of correct behavior or thinking
word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun.
complex sentence
contains only one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.
an author's stance that distances himself from personal involvement.
a word or group of words placed beside a noun or noun substitute to supplement its meaning.
a quotation or aphorism at the beginning of a literary work suggestive of theme.
active voice
the subject of the sentence performs the action. This is a more direct and preferred style of writing in most cases. "Anthony drove while Toni searched for the house"
atmosphere created by the literature and accomplished through word choice (diction).
compound-complex sentence
contains two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
a more agreeable or less offensive substitute for generally unpleasant words or concepts. Sometimes they are used for political correctness. "physically challenged" in place of "crippled". Sometimes euphemisms are added to exaggerate correctness to add humor.
repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row. This is a deliberate form of repetition and helps make the writer's point more coherent.
two opposite or contrasting words, phrases, or clauses, or even ideas, with parallel structure.
the major category into which a literary work fits. The basic divisions of literature are prose, poetry, and drama.
verbal irony
when you say something and mean the opposite/something different.
a short poem with a clever twist at the end, or a concise and witty statement.
art or literature characterized by an idealistic, perhaps unrealistic view of people and the world, and an emphasis on nature. does not rely on traditional themes and structures.
periodic sentence
when the main idea is not completed until the end of the sentence. the writer begins with subordinate elements and postpones the main clause.
a folk saying with a lesson. "a rolling stone gathers no moss." (subset of didactic)
concrete language
language that describes specific, observable things, people or places, rather than ideas or qualities.
act of interpreting or discovering the meaning of a text. attention to close reading and the use of rhetorical devices.
an exaggeration. (subset of figurative language)
1.) language or dialect or a particular country. 2.) Language or dialect of a regional clan or group. 3.) plain everyday speech (subset of diction)
the fictional mask or narrator that tells a story.
an emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack using strong, abusive language.
art or literature characterized by a realistic view of people and the world, sticks to traditional themes and structures.
literally means "sermon", but informally, it includes any serious talk, speech, or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice. (subset of didactic)
modes of discourse
persuasive, expository, description, and narrative
dramatic irony
when the audience of a drama, play, movie, etc. knows something that the character doesn't and would be surprised to find out.
compound sentence
contains at least two independent clauses but no dependent clauses.
a brief recounting of a relevant episode. Often inserted into fictional or non fictional texts as a way of developing a point or injecting humor
deliberate omission of a word or phrase from prose done for effect by the author
an indirect reference to something (usually a literary text, although it can be other things commonly known, such as plays, songs, historical events) with which the reader is supposed to be familiar
ordinary or familiar type of conversation. A common or familiar type of saying, similar to an adage or an anaphora. (subset of diction)
a.k.a. parallel structure. sentence construction which places equal grammatical constructions near each other, or repeats identical grammatical patterns.
an even or situation tha tmay beinterpreted in more than one way. Also; the manner of expression of such an event or situation may be ambiguous. Artful language may be ambiguous. Unintentional ambiguity is usually vagueness
adj. observing strict adherence to formal rules or literal meaning at the expense of a wider view. this can also refer to the author's tone, as overly scholarly and academic.
explanatory notes added to a text to explain, clarify, or prompt further thought
a writer's attitude toward his subject matter revealed through diction, figurative language and organization. to identify, consider how the piece would sound if read aloud (or how the author wanted it to sound aloud)
a comparison to a direct parallel case.
loose sentence
a complex sentence in which the main clause comes first and the subordinate clause follows.
balanced sentence
one in which two parallel elements are set off against each other like equal weights on a scale.
a story, fictional or nonfictional, in which characters, things, and events represent qualites or concepts. The interaction of these characters, things, and events is meant to reveal an abstraction or a truth. (subset of didactic)
passive voice
the subject of the sentence receives the action.
a terse statement which expresses a general truth or moral principle. Can be a memorable summation of the author's point. (subset of didactic)
A figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or personified abstraction, such as liberty or love. The effect may add familiarity or emotional intensity.
a common, often used expression that doesn't make sense if you take it literally. (subset of figurative language)
work that reveals a critical attitude toward some element of life to a humorous effect. it targets human vices and follies, or social institutions and conventions.
situational irony
found in the plot (or story line) of a book, story, or movie. unexpected ending.
the choices in diction, tone, and syntax that a writer makes. May be conscious or unconscious.
writing characterized by gloom, mystery, fear, and/or death. Also refers to an architectural style of the middle ages, often seen in cathedrals of this period.
a particular form of understatement, generated by denying the opposite of the statement which otherwise would be used. Depending on the tone and context of the usage, litotes either retains the effect of understatement or becomes an intensigying expression.
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
the diction used by a group which practices a similar profession or activity. (subset of diction)
figurative language
writing that is not meant to be taken literally. Opposite of "literal language" where literal language is writing that makes complete sense when you take it at face value.

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