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MTEL Language Arts: Mass. Frameworks Glossary


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A phrase that modifies a noun or a pronoun. Infinitive phrases (He gave
his permission to paint the wall), including prepositional phrases (I sat next to a boy with red hair), and
participial phrases (His voice, cracked by fatigue, sounded eigh
adjectival phrase
A word that describes somebody or something. Old, white, busy, careful, and horrible
are examples. May either come before a noun, or after linking verbs (be, seem, look).
A word that modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. Tells how,
when, where, why, how often, or how much. Can be cataloged in four basic ways: time,
place, manner, and degree.
includes -ly words as well as " "consequently,&qu
A phrase that modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. Includes infinitive
phrases (The old man installed iron bars on his windows to stop intruders) or prepositional phrases
(The boys went to the fair)
adverbial phrase
A story in which people, things, and actions represent an idea or generalization
about life; often have a strong moral or lesson.
The repetition of initial consonant sounds in words.
A reference in literature, or in visual or performing arts, to a familiar person, place,
thing, or event. Common examples in Western literature are to biblical figures and figures from classical mythology.
An image, a descriptive detail, a plot pattern, or a character type that occurs
frequently in literature, myth, religion, or folklore and is, therefore, believed to evoke profound
A speech or writing intended to convince by establishing truth. Most
of these begin with a statement of an idea or opinion, which is then supported with logical
evidence. Another technique of this is the anticipation and rebuttal of opposing vi
A dramatic device in which a character speaks his or her thoughts aloud, in words
meant to be heard by the audience but not by the other characters.
The repetition of vowel sounds without the repetition of consonants. For example,
lake and fake.
A poem in verse form that tells a story.
A person who takes part in the action of a story, novel, or a play. Can be animals or imaginary creatures, such as beings from another planet.
The method a writer uses to develop characters.
characterization/character development
There are four basic methods: (a) a writer may describe a character’s physical appearance;
(b) a character’s nature may be revealed through his/her own speech, thoughts, feelings, or actions;
(c) the speech, thoughts, feelings, or actions o
four methods of character development
In ancient Greece, the groups of dancers and singers who participated in religious
festivals and dramatic performances. In poetry, the refrain.
A group of related words that has both a subject and a predicate. For example, ‘because
the boy laughed.’
A trite or stereotyped phrase or expression. A hackneyed theme, plot, or situation in
fiction or drama.
The high point, or turning point, in a story—usually the most intense point near the
end of a story.
Words having a common linguistic origin. For example, café and coffee derive from
the Turkish, kahve.
In narration, the struggle between the opposing forces that moves the plot forward.
Can be internal, occurring within a character, or external, between characters or between
a character and an abstraction such as nature or fate.
The attitudes and feelings associated with a word. These associations can
be negative or positive, and have an important influence on style and meaning.
The repetition of consonant sounds within and at the ends of words. For example,
lonely afternoon. Often used with assonance, alliteration, and rhyme to create a musical quality,
to emphasize certain words, or to unify a poem.
A single image or comparison that extends throughout a literary work and
shapes its meaning.
controlling image
The literal or dictionary definition of a word. contrasts with connotation.
The process by which a writer uses words to create a picture of a scene, an event,
or a character. contains carefully chosen details that appeal to the reader’s senses
of sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste.
A particular variety of language spoken in one place by a distinct group of people.
Reflects the colloquialisms, grammatical constructions, distinctive vocabulary, and pronunciations
that are typical of a region. At times writers use this to es
Conversation between two or more people that advances the action, is consistent with
the character of the speakers, and serves to give relief from passages essentially descriptive or
An author’s choice of words based on their correctness, clearness, or effectiveness.
Two successive letters that make a single sound. For example, the ea in bread, or the
ng in sing.
Speech sound beginning with one vowel sound and moving to another vowel sound
within the same syllable. For example, oy in the word boy.
Formal, extended expression of thought on a subject, either spoken or written.
A play; a form of literature that is intended to be performed
before an audience. This for stage is also called theatre.
In this, the story is presented through the dialogue and the actions of the characters.
drama/dramatic literature
Replace or delete words, phrases, and sentences that sound awkward or confusing, and
correct errors in spelling, usage, mechanics, and grammar. Usually the step before producing a
final piece of writing.
A long narrative that tells of the deeds and adventures of a hero or heroine.
A quotation on the title page of a book or a motto heading a section of a work,
suggesting what the theme or central idea will be.
An adjective or phrase used to express the characteristic of a person or thing in poetry.For example, ‘rosy-fingered dawn.’
A brief work of nonfiction that offers an opinion on a subject. The purpose of an essay
may be to express ideas and feelings, to analyze, to inform, to entertain, or to persuade. An essay
can be formal, with thorough, serious, and highly organi
Writing that is intended to make clear or to explain something
using one or more of the following methods: identification, definition, classification, illustration,
comparison, and analysis. In a play or a novel, this is that portion that helps
exposition/expository text
A comparison between unlike things that serves as a unifying element
throughout a series of sentences or a whole piece. THis helps to describe a scene,
an event, a character, or a feeling.
extended metaphor
A short, simple story that teaches a lesson. These usually includes animals that talk and
act like people.
A story written for, or told to, children that includes elements of magic and magical
folk such as fairies, elves, or goblins.
fairy tale
In the plot of a story, the action that occurs after the climax. During this, conflicts are resolved and mysteries are solved.
falling action
Imaginative works of prose, primarily the novel and the short story. Although this
draws on actual events and real people, it springs mainly from the imagination of the writer.
The purpose is to entertain as well as enlighten the reader by prov
Language that communicates ideas beyond the ordinary or literal
meaning of the words.
figurative language
Literary device used to create a special effect or feeling, often by making
some type of comparison.
figure of speech
Automatic word recognition, rapid decoding, and checking for meaning.
A short narrative handed down through oral tradition, with various tellers and groups
modifying it, so that it acquired cumulative authorship. Most of these eventually move from oral
tradition to written form.
A writer’s use of hints or clues to indicate events that will occur in a story.
Creates suspense and at the same time prepares the reader for what is to come.
A category of literature. The main ones are fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.
A verb form that ends in –ing and is used as a noun. For example, ‘Cooking is an art.’
The study of the structure and features of a language. Usually consists of
rules and standards that are to be followed to produce acceptable writing and speaking.
A mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent who is endowed with
great strength or ability. The word is often broadly applied to the principal male or female character
in a literary or dramatic work.
Two rhyming lines written in iambic pentameter. The term “heroic” comes from
the fact that English poems having heroic themes and elevated style have often been written in
iambic pentameter.
heroic couplet
One of two or more words spelled alike but different in meaning and derivation
or pronunciation.
One of two or more words spelled and pronounced alike but different in meaning.
For example, the noun quail and the verb quail.
One of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or derivation
or spelling. For example, the words to, too, and two.
An intentional exaggeration for emphasis or comic effect.
A metrical line of five feet or units, each made up of an unstressed then a
stressed syllable. For example, ‘I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.’ (Macbeth, II.1.44)
Iambic pentameter
A phrase or expression that means something different from what the words actually say.
usually understandable to a particular group of people. For example, using ‘over his
head’ for ‘doesn’t understand.’
Words and phrases that create vivid sensory experiences for the reader.
Most are are visual, but may also appeal to the senses of smell, hearing, taste, or
Fictional writing in story, dramatic, or poetic form.
imaginative/literary text
A work or performance that is done on the spur of the moment, without
conscious preparation or preliminary drafts or rehearsals.
Presents a complete thought and can stand alone as a sentence. For
example," she saw paramecia.’
independent clause
A verb form that is usually introduced by to. may be used as a noun or as a modifier. For example, can be used as a direct object (The foolish teenager decided
to smoke); as an adjective (The right to smoke in public is now in serious question); or
Nonfiction writing in narrative or non-narrative form that is
intended to inform.
informational/expository text
Rhyme that occurs within a single line of poetry. For example, in the opening
line of Eliot’s Gerontion, ‘Here I am, an old man in a dry month,’ this exists between ‘an’
and ‘man’ and between ‘I’ and ‘dry’.
internal rhyme
The contrast between expectation and reality. This incongruity has the effect of surprising
the reader or viewer. Techniques of this include hyperbole, understatement, and sarcasm.
Language used in a certain profession or by a particular group of people.
usually technical or abbreviated and difficult for people not in the profession to understand.
The ability to read, write, speak, and understand words.
In informational or expository writing, the most important thought or overall
position. This or the thesis of a piece, written in sentence form, is supported by details and
Main Idea
A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two things that are basically
different but have something in common. Unlike a simile, one of these does not contain the words
like or as. For example, in the evening of life.
In poetry, the recurrence of a rhythmic pattern.
The feeling or atmosphere that a writer creates for the reader. The use of connotation,
details, dialogue, imagery, figurative language, foreshadowing, setting, and rhythm can help
establish this.
The lesson taught in a work such as a fable; a simple type of theme. For example, ‘Do not
count your chickens before the are hatched’ teaches that one should not number one’s fortunes or
blessings until they appear.
A traditional story passed down through generations that explains why the world is the
way it is. These are essentially religious, because they present supernatural events and beings and
articulate the values and beliefs of a cultural group.
Writing that relates an event or a series of events; a story. Can be imaginary,
as in a short story or novel, or factual, as in a newspaper account or a work of history.
The person or voice telling the story. This can be a character in the story or a
voice outside the action.
Writing about real people, places, and events. Largely
concerned with factual information, although the writer shapes the information according to his
or her purpose and viewpoint. Biography, autobiography, and news articles are examples of
Nonfiction written to inform, explain, or persuade that does not use
narrative structure to achieve its purpose.
non-narrative nonfiction
A word that is the class name of something: a person, place, thing, or idea.
An extended work of fiction. Essentially the product of a
writer’s imagination. Because this is much longer than the short story, the writer can develop
a wider range of characters and a more complex plot.
The use of a word whose sound suggests its meaning, as in clang, buzz, twang.
The part of the syllable that precedes the vowel. For example, /h/ in hop, and /sk/ in
scotch. Some syllables do not have this, as in un or on.
Pertaining to spoken words.
similar to hyperbole
A word, phrase, or sentence that reads the same backward or forward.
For example, Able was I ere I saw Elba.
A statement that seems to contradict itself, but, in fact, reveals some element of truth.
A special kind of this is the oxymoron, which brings together two contradictory terms. For
example, cruel kindness and brave fear.
The same grammatical structure of parts within a sentence or of sentences
within a paragraph. For example, the following sentence contains this as infinitive phrases: He
wanted to join the swim team, to be a high diver, and to swim in relays.
parallel structure
Imitates or mocks another work or type of literature. mimics a subject or a style. Its purpose may be to ridicule, to broaden understanding of,
or to add insight to the original work.
A poem presenting shepherds in rural settings, usually in an idealized manner.
The language and form are artificial. The supposedly simple, rustic characters tend to use formal,
courtly speech, and the meters and rhyme schemes are characteristi
A form of metaphor in which language relating to human action, motivation,
and emotion is used to refer to non-human agents or objects or abstract concepts: The weather is
smiling on us today; Love is blind.
A position from which something is considered or evaluated; standpoint.
Writing intended to convince the reader that a position is
valid or that the reader should take a specific action. Differs from exposition in that it does more
than explain; it takes a stand and endeavors to convince the reader to take the same
persuasion/persuasive writing
Awareness that spoken language consists of
a sequence of phonemes. This awareness is demonstrated, for example, in the ability to generate
rhyme and alliteration, and in segmenting and blending component sounds.
phonemic awareness/phonological awareness
The smallest unit of speech sound that makes a difference in communication.
For example, fly consists of three of these: /f/-/l/-/`i/.
Representing the sounds of speech with a set of distinct symbols, each denoting a
single sound.
The study of sounds. The use of elementary phonetics in the teaching of reading.
A group of related words that lacks either a subject or a predicate or both. For example,
by the door and opening the box.
The action or sequence of events in a story. usually a series of related incidents that
builds and grows as the story develops. There are five basic elements: (a) exposition;
(b) rising action; (c) climax; (d) falling action; and (e) resolution
An imaginative response to experience reflecting a keen awareness of language. Its first
characteristic is rhythm, marked by regularity far surpassing that of prose. Its rhyme affords
an obvious difference from prose. Because it is relatively s
The vantage point from which a story is told. In the first-person or narrative
sort, the story is told by one of the characters. In the third-person or omniscient type, the story is told by someone outside the story.
point of view
A word part that is added to the beginning of a base word that changes the sense or
meaning of the root or base word.
Writing or speaking in the usual or ordinary form. Becomes poetic when it takes on
rhythm and rhyme.
The main character or hero of a story.
A joke that comes from a play on words. It can make use of a word’s multiple meanings or
a word’s rhyme.
One or more words repeated at intervals in a poem, usually at the end of a stanza, such
as the last line of each stanza in a ballad. Used to present different moods or ideas, as in Poe’s,
Also called denouement, the portion of a play or story where the problem is solved.
Comes after the climax and falling action and is intended to bring the story to a satisfactory
To change a piece of writing in order to improve it in style or content. As distinct from
editing, this often involves restructuring a piece rather than simply editing for word choice,
grammar, or spelling.
The art of effective expression and the persuasive use of language.
In poetry, the pattern in which rhyme sounds occur in a stanza. These,
for the purpose of analysis, are usually presented by the assignment of the same letter of the
alphabet to each similar sound in the stanza. The pattern of a Spenserian stan
Rhyme scheme
The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry. Poets use this
to bring out the musical quality of language, to emphasize ideas, to create mood, to unify a work, or
to heighten emotional response.
The vowel and any consonants that follow it. For example, in scotch, this is /och/.
The events in a story that move the plot forward. This involves conflicts
and complications, and builds toward the climax of the story.
Rising action
A word or word element to which prefixes and suffixes may be added to
make other words. For example, to graph, the prefix di- and the suffix –ic can be added to
create the word, digraphic.
Root or Root word
An authentic (close to real world) assessment tool for making scoring decisions;
a printed set of guidelines that distinguishes performances or products of different quality.
The number three (3) recurs especially in folk literature
and fairy tales. For example, three characters, three tasks, repetition of an event three times.
Rule of Three
A literary technique in which ideas, customs, behaviors, or institutions are ridiculed for
the purpose of improving society. This may be gently witty, mildly abrasive, or bitterly critical
and often uses exaggeration for effect.
List of criteria for evaluating student work.
Scoring guide
The text of a play, motion picture, radio broadcast or prepared speech that includes dialogue and stage directions.
A group of words expressing one or more complete thoughts.
The time and place of the action in a story, play, or poem.
A brief fictional work which contains one major conflict and at least one main character
Short story
A comparison of two unlike things in which a word of comparison (often like or as) is
used. For example, ‘She stood in front of the alter, shaking like a freshly caught trout.’ (Maya
A speech in a dramatic work in which a character speaks his or her thoughts aloud.
Usually the character is on the stage alone, not speaking to other characters and perhaps not even
consciously addressing the audience. (If there are other chara
A poem consisting of fourteen lines of iambic pentameter.
The widely accepted practices in English punctuation,
grammar, usage, and spelling that are taught in schools and employed by educated speakers and
Standard English conventions
The variety of English used in public communication, particularly
in writing. It is the form taught in schools and used by educated speakers. It is not limited to a
particular region and can be spoken with any accent.
Standard written English
A recurring grouping of two or more verse lines in terms of length, metrical form, and,
often, rhyme scheme.
The particular way a piece of literature is written. Not only what is said but how it is said.
the writer’s unique way of communicating ideas. Elements contributing to this include
word choice, sentence length, tone, figurative language, and
A clause that does not present a complete thought and
cannot stand alone as a sentence. For example, ‘because he was
Subordinate (Dependent) Clause
A word part that is added to the ending of a root word and establishes the part of speech
of that word. For example, -ly added to immediate, a noun, creates the word, immediately,
an adverb or adjective.
A person, place, or object that represents something beyond itself. These can succinctly
communicate complicated, emotionally rich ideas.
In literature, the serious and extensive use of symbols.
A word that has a meaning identical with, or very similar to, another word in the
same language. For example, in some situations, right is a this of correct.
The way in which words are put together to form constructions, such as phrases or
A distinctively American type of humorous story characterized by exaggeration.
These and practical jokes have similar kinds of humor. In both, someone gets fooled, to the
amusement of the person or persons who know the truth.
tall tale
A central idea or abstract concept that is made concrete through representation in person,
action, and image. No proper one is simply a subject or an activity. Like a thesis, this
implies a subject and predicate of some kind—not just vice for
An attitude or position taken by a writer or speaker with the purpose of proving or supporting
An expression of a writer’s attitude toward a subject. Unlike mood, which is intended to
shape the reader’s emotional response, this reflects the feelings of the writer. This can be serious,
humorous, sarcastic, playful, ironic, bitter, or
The meaning a literary work refers to, stated in a phrase or word. For example, in
Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, this is “dissatisfaction with reality.”
The knowledge and beliefs of cultures that are transmitted by word of
mouth. It consists of both prose and verse narratives, poems and songs, myths, dramas, rituals,
fables, proverbs, riddles, and the like. Folk literature exists side by side w
Traditional narrative
The change of a character in appearance or form
by magic. For example, Cinderella went through this by her godmother after midnight.
Story relating the adventures of a mischievous supernatural being much given
to capricious acts of sly deception, who often functions as a cultural hero or symbolizes the ideal of
a people.
Trickster tale
A technique of creating emphasis by saying less than is actually or literally
true. This is the opposite of hyperbole or exaggeration, and can be used to create humor
as well as biting satire. For example, if one were in a desert where the temp
A word, or set of words, that expresses action or state of being.
A unit of poetry such as a stanza or line.
Indicates whether the subject is acting or being acted upon. The active form of this indicates that the
subject is acting—doing something. (Benjamin Franklin discovered the secrets of electricity.)
The passive form of this indicates that the

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