"A" Terms - AP Lang 9/9/19

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Ab ovo (literary)

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Ab ovo (literary)

A Latin phrase coined in Horace's Ars Poeticae meaning "from the egg" which describes the story that begins its narration from the beginning of the events and proceeds in a chronological order to the end.

Example: The opening descriptions from Death of a Salesman. The reader can see the story begins with an initial entrance of the main character Willy Loman. It does not begin in the middle of things, but rather builds establishing information and moves forward from here.

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Active Voice (grammatical)

A syntactical term for a sentence where the subject of that sentence is the doer of the action.

Example: "Jack hit Ricardo in the mouth." In this sentence, the main subject, Jack, is doing the "hitting" and the sentence is, therefore, presented in this term.

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Abstract (rhetorical)

Not related to the concrete properties of an object; pertaining to ideas, concepts or qualities. Related to issues of diction.

Example: should send you to jail
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Acronym (rhetorical)

A word formed from the initial syllables or letters of a sentence of words.

Example: M.A.D.D.- Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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Adjective (grammatical)

Words that modify nouns. They can appear in sentences in two ways:

Before the noun it modifies: I am holding hot coffee. After a helping verb: The coffee is hot.

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Adjective Clause (grammatical)

A clause (a group of words containing a noun-verb pair) that describes a noun and functions adjectivally in a sentence. Almost always signaled by a relative pronoun (who, whom, which, where, and when).

Example: "I'm standing in the room that changed my life forever". This term, "that changed my life forever" is describing the noun "room". The noun of this term is the signal is "that", the relative pronoun, and the verb us the past tense verb "changed".

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Adverb (grammatical)

A word that modifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb, or an entire sentence.

Modifying a verb: Nina ran quickly. Modifying an adj: Nina is pretty fast. Modifying adverb: Nina ran really quickly. Modifying entire sentence: Honestly, Nina is the fastest runner on the team.

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Allegory (literary)

A system of interconnected symbols that work to represent different ideas or concepts not readily apparent in the primary narrative.

Example: The animals in Animal Farm by George Orwell represent different social classes and the series of events reflect the chain of events that led to the Communist Revolution in Russia in the 1920s. The characters function in their own right but they also have symbolic value.

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Alliteration (rhetorical)

The repetition of consonant sounds, usually at the beginning of words. This is done to focus the reader's ear to certain words, phrases, or lines.

Example: The cool cucumbers calmed my crazy cousin.

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Allusion (literary)

A passing reference to a familiar person, place, or thing drawn from history, the Bible, mythology, or literature. Creates a resonance in the reader or mood in the story by employing a subtle reference.

Example: The language Mr. Cunningham used in his lecture was Shakespearean; it was so carefully crafted.

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Ambiguity (literary)

The use of language when multiple meanings are possible. This can be a result of one of two things:

Insufficient attention to other denotations/connotations: Chi Chi's advertising slogan in the 1980s used to be, "Chi Chi's, when you want to feel a little Mexican". Presumably, they meant Mexican food, but it could suggest you would go to Chi Chi's if you wanted to feel a small Mexican person.

Intentional choice to bring multiple meanings to the same word: "After finishing his presentation, while battling bout of diarrhea, Tony was relieved". The author intentionally meant to bring both denotations of "relieved" to the table: one meaning alleviation of anxiety, the other meaning a cleansing of his bowels.

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Amblysia (rhetorical)

Modified language that is used in preparation for the tragic or alarming news.

Example: "I'm afraid I have some bad news. The United States has been attacked by spies."

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Analogy (rhetorical)

A mode of thought where the speaker compares two unlike things:

To explain something complex more simply: A transmission line is simply a pipeline for electricity. In the case of a water pipeline, more water will flow through the pipe as water pressure increases. The same is true of a transmission line for electricity.

To explain something abstract more concretely: God is a father, who sits on a throne, and loves his children.

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Anachronism (literary)

The use of historically inaccurate details in a text usually used to highlight qualities of timelessness.

Example: In T.H. White's The Once and Future King, which takes place in the middle ages, the character of Merlin wears bifocals, which were not invented until the 19th century.

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Anacoluthon (rhetorical)

A sentence that begins in one way, pauses, and ends in another; an incomplete or broken off thought.

Example: "Alright kids, today we are going to learn—ahhh, let's go play dodgeball!"

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Anadiplosis (rhetorical)

The repetition (or close repetition) of the final word of a clause at the beginning of the following clause for emphasis.

Example: From Sophocles' play Antigone... "Illimitable in cunning, cunning-less He meets no change for fortune that can come; He has found escape from pain and helplessness; Only he knows no refuge from the tomb." ***Cunning, cunning-less

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Anagram (rhetorical)

Letters of a word or phrase that can be rearranged to make a new word or phrase. These are most often found in titles of works to embed hidden meaning.

Example: United Tastes of America- a program on the cooking channel.

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Anaphora (rhetorical)

The repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of the successive phrases or clauses. This is used as an emphasizing device.

Example: Clauses: The commander rallied his troops, exclaimed, "We will face them at dawn! We will face them in the evening! We will face them at the gates of Hell!"

Phrases: "I am the best there is, the best there was, the best there will ever be!"

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Anastrophe (rhetorical)

The inversion of normal word order in a sentence.

Example: "Size matters not. Judge me by size, do you?"

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Anecdote (rhetorical)

A short story or recounting of events used in either fiction or non-fiction. Provide specific focus and personal flavor to a written piece.

Example: "When I entered my freshman year of high school, I was shiftless and lazy. But as the year went on..."

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Antagonist (literary)

The character or force in a literary work that opposes the main character.

Example: Iago v. Othello in Shakespeare's Othello

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Antecedent (grammatical)

The word that a pronoun replaces in a sentence or series of sentences.

Example: "Judith was a mean, old lady. One time, she bit me right in the nose."

"She" replaces the term, "Judith".

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Antithesis (rhetorical)

An opposition or contrast of ideas that is often expressed in balanced phrases or clauses.

Example: "Although Napoleon was loved by his men, history will remember his brutality".

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Aphorism (rhetorical)

A concise statement that illustrates a deep truth or widely held belief.

Example (from Walden): "Simplify, simplify". (from B. Franklin): "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise".

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Apocope (rhetorical)

The deliberate removal of a letter or letters from the end of a word.

Example: "I need to grab a taxi(cab) so I'm not late for bio(logy) and trig(onometry)!"

Creates an informal tone.

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Aposiopesis (rhetorical)

A breaking off of speech, usually because of rising emotion or excitement.

Example: "If you touch me, just one more time-"

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Apostrophe (rhetorical)

A form of personification where an abstract idea, dead person or thing, or place is addressed directly as if they were able to understand.

Example (from Obama): "America. In the face of common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come".

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Appositive (grammatical)

A modifier that is built from a noun. A word or phrase that follows as noun or pronoun for emphasis or clarity. Usually set off by commas.

Example: "Mr. Cunningham, the teacher, stood in front of the room".

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Archaism (rhetorical)

A form of speech or writing that is outdated, obsolete, or no longer current. Used to allude to or evoke associations to older traditions in writing, thought. or practice.

Example: "Whilst thou accompany me to purchase a cheeseburger and a milkshake at McDonald's?"

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Archetype (Literary)

A theme, symbol, or stock character that holds a familiar place in a culture's consciousness.

Example: Theme: rugged individualism in American literature symbol: "glasses" in Lord of the Flies character: "the hero" in Beowulf

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Argumentum ad. (argumentative)

A Latin phrase meaning "appeal to" which distinguishes the different objects to which an author can appeal in persuasive writing.

ad baculum- (to the stick) appeals to force or coercion ad crumenam- (to the wallet) appeals to material interests ad hominem- (to the man) attacks the person making the counter argument instead of the issue ad ignorantium- (to ignorance) relies on ignorant audience ad populum- (to the people) stirs an emotional response from audience

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Assonance (rhetorical)

A type of internal rhyming in which identical or similar vowel sounds are repeated. Similar to alliteration and consonance, this is done to focus, or draw the reader's ear to certain words, phrases, or lines.

Example: "The table was hiding a baby with rabies".

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Assumption (rhetorical)

A belief of principle, stated or implied, that is taken for granted.

Example: "I always wash the lettuce before I eat it".

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Asyndeton (rhetorical)

When coordinating junctions (such, as, and, or, but) that would normally connect a sting or words, phrases, or clauses are omitted from a sentence.

Example: "Sammy was brave, fearless, afraid of nothing".

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Atmosphere (literary)

A compound term that encompasses the tone and mood.

Example: In The Pearl, the opening chapters have an atmosphere of despair and uneasiness.

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Audience (rhetorical)

The intended readership for a piece...narrow or broad.

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