AP English III Rhetorical Terms


repetition of the same beginning sound in two or more neighboring words.


brief reference to a person, event, or place, real or fictitious, or to a work of art


repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines.


The identical or near repetition of words in one phrase or clause in reverse order in the next phrase or clause.


figure of balance in which two contrasting ideas are intentionally juxtaposed, usually through parallel construction; a contrasting of opposing ideas in adjacent phrases, clauses, or sentences.

Archaic diction

the use of words common to an older time period; old-fashioned or outdated choice of words.


omission of conjunctions between coordinate phrases, clauses, or words.

Cumulative sentence

sentence that completes the main idea at the beginning of the sentence, and then builds and adds on.

Hortative sentence

sentence that exhorts, advises, calls to action.

Imperative sentence

sentence used to command, enjoin, implore, or entreat.

Periodic sentence

a sentence that presents its central meaning in a main clause at the end of the sentence; the main clause is preceded by a phrase or clause that cannot stand alone.


inverted order of words in a sentence (variation of the subject-verb-object order) ; usually the verb precedes the subject.


a device wherein the writer places a person, concept, place, idea or theme parallel to another for the purpose of comparison, contrast, rhetorical effect, suspense, or character development.


a figure of speech which makes an implicit, implied or hidden comparison between two things or objects that are poles apart from each other but have some characteristics common between them. In other words, a resemblance of two contradictory or different objects is made based on a single or some common characteristics.


figure of speech that consists of the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related, or of which it is part of.


phrase with words that seem to contradict one another.


recurrent syntactical similarity. Several parts of a sentence or several sentences are expressed similarly to show that the ideas in the parts or sentences are equal in importance. Also adds balance and rhythm and, most importantly, clarity to the sentence.


attribution of a lifelike quality to an inanimate object or idea.

Rhetorical question

figure of speech in the form of a question used for effect, emphasis, or provocation; different from hypophora in that it is not answered by the writer because its answer is obvious or obviously desired.


a figure of speech in which a word, usually a verb or adjective, applies to more than one noun, blending together grammatically and logically different ideas.


A similarity or comparison between two different things or the relationship between them. An analogy can explain something unfamiliar by associating it with or pointing out its similarities; more extensive and elaborate than a simile or metaphor.


a close relative to anaphora; It is the repetition of a group of words at the end of successive clauses or sentences.


Figure of reasoning in which one or more questions is/are asked and then answered, often at length, by one and the same speaker; raising and responding to one's own question(s)


a brief saying embodying a moral; a concise statement of a principle or precept given in pointed words.


a strategy in which an absent person, inanimate object ( the sun, for example) or abstract being (Death) is addressed directly.


a statement which seems self-contradictory, but which may reveal some truth; forces the reader to pause and seek clarity


a syntactical structure by which the order of the terms in the first two parallel clauses is reversed in the second. This may involve a repetition of the same words or just a reversed parallel between two corresponding pairs of ideas.


exaggeration; deliberate exaggeration for emphasis


opposite of hyperbole; intensifies an idea by understatement using a word opposite to the condition.


repeats the last word of one phrase, clause, or sentence at or near the beginning of the next. It can be generated in series for the sake of beauty or to give a sense of logical progression.


an inoffensive expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or harsh; makes the idea more appealing and acceptable to the reader


use of ridicule, sarcasm, irony, etc. to expose vices, abuses, etc.

Simple Sentence

also called an independent clause, contains a subject and a verb, and it expresses a complete thought.

Compound Sentence

two or more independent clauses ( simple sentences) joined by a coordinating conjunction or a semi-colon (FANBOYS;)

Complex Sentence

a sentence containing one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.


the picturing in words of something or someone through detailed observation of color, motion, sound, taste, smell, and touch ( sensory details)


The act of telling a story, usually based on personal experience; it usually incorporates descriptive elements--senses, metaphors, and similes. Narration is used to get the reader to "identify" with the writer on some level, and thereby ultimately agree with the writer.


classification takes individual examples and groups them based on common traits. Classification is important because it organizes a large amount of material for the reader.


The process of explaining a word, object, or idea in such a way that the reader knows precisely what the writer means. A good definition focuses on the special qualities of a word or phrase that set it apart. It gives the reader and writer a mutual starting point.


presents the causes and/or effects of a situation or phenomenon; this can be used as an author's main organizational strategy, or it can be one paragraph used to support a point in an essay developed through another pattern.


a literary genre that uses irony, wit, and sometimes sarcasm to expose humanity's vices and follies, giving impetus to change or reform through ridicule.


a person who writes satire


satire - gentle, sympathetic form of satire with subject mildly made fun of; the audience is asked to laugh at themselves as much as the players.


satire - harsh and bitter satire that denounces, sometimes with invective, human vice, ( evil or immoral habit) and error in dignified and solemn tones.

Situational Irony

when something happens as a result of or in reaction to something else in a way that is contrary to what would be expected or acceptable; usually involves a cruel twist, and emphasizes that human beings are enmeshed in forces beyond their control.

Verbal Irony

a method of expression, often sarcastic or humorous, in which the intended meaning of the words is the opposite of their usual meaning

Dramatic Irony

reader knows something a character or characters do not


The satirist takes an existing work and makes it look ridiculous; not simply imitation; point out faults, emphasize weaknesses; through distortion evokes amusement, derision, scorn; parody exists in all art media, including literature, music and cinema.


descriptive writing that greatly exaggerates a specific feature of a person's appearance or a facet of personality; used for comic effect or criticism.


A composition which derives its humor from exaggerated imitation of a more serious work; a parody that ridicules a serious literary work by treating its solemn subject in an undignified style (travesty) , or by applying its elevated style to a trivial subject (mock-heroic)


The satirist usually is speaking behind a thinly veiled mask. He states his view of a problem, cites examples, and endeavors to impose his views on the reader/listener.


a derogatory suggestion that is not literally spoken but rather hinted at


a figure of speech employed by writers or speakers to intentionally make a situation seem less important than it really is.


Using praise to personally mock someone; a harsh and personally directed comment; usually aims to hurt.

Mock Heroic

Exaggeration and distortion of a literary epic and its style; elevating the trivial to a level higher than it deserves.


the use of angry and insulting language to attack, abuse, or denounce.

Double Entendre

A figure of speech similar to the pun, in which a spoken phrase can be understood in either of two ways and is thus a clever play on words.


a play on words in which a humorous effect is produced by using a word that suggests two or more meanings or by exploiting similar sounding words having different meanings.


to present things that are out of place or absurd in the surroundings.


a deliberate mispronunciation of a name or term with the intent of poking fun.