AP English Rhetorical Terms (Set 1) flashcards | Quizlet

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  • Abstract

    designating qualities of characteristics apart from specific objects or events: it is the opposite of concrete.


    a narrative, either in verse or prose, in which character, action and sometimes setting represent abstract concepts apart from the literal meaning of a story.
    EX: The Scarlet Letter, Animal Farm


    the repetition of initial identical consonant sounds or any vowel sounds in successive or closely associated syllables
    EX: The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, the furrow followed free.


    a brief reference to a real or fictional person, place, event, or work of art
    EX: As the cave's roof collapsed, he was swallowed up in the dust like Jonah, and only his frantic scrabbling behind a wall of rock indicated that there was anyone still alive.


    a process of reasoning that assumes if the two subjects share a number of specific observable qualities then they may be expected to share qualities that have not been observed.
    EX: "He that voluntarily continues ignorance is guilty of all the crimes which ignorance produces, as to him that should extinguish the tapers of a lighthouse might justly be imputed the calamities of shipwrecks." --Samuel Johnson

    Anaphora (an-NAF-ruh)

    one of the devices of repetition in which the same expression (word or words) is repeated at the beginning of two or more lines, clauses or sentences.
    EX: "What we need in the United States is not division. What we need in the United States is not hatred. What we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness" - Robert F. Kennedy

    Anastrophe (an-as'-tro-phee)

    the inversion of the usual order of the parts of a sentence.
    EX: "Ready are you? My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained!" - Yoda

    Anticipating Audience Response

    Anticipating audience response is a rhetorical technique often used to convince an audience is that of anticipating and stating the arguments that one's opponent is likely to give and then answering these arguments even before the opponent has had a chance to voice them.

    Antimetabole (an'-ti-me-ta'-bo-lee)

    Repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order.
    EX: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."JFK

    Antithesis (an-TIH-theh-sis)

    A direct juxtaposition of structurally parallel words, phrases, or clauses for the purpose of contrast.
    EX: "We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom, symbolizing an end as well as a beginning, signifying renewal as well as change." -- John F. Kennedy


    a concise statement of a principle or precept given in pointed words.
    EX: "Life is short, art is long, opportunity fleeting, experimenting dangerous, reasoning difficult."


    a figure of speech in which someone (usually, but not always absent), some abstract quality or a nonexistent personage is directly addressed as though present.
    EX: Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel. / Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him."


    The repetition of accented vowel sounds in a series of words.
    EX: The words "cry" and "side" have the same vowel sound

    Asyndeton (a-SIN-dih-tawn)

    The deliberate omission of conjunctions in a series of related clauses.
    EX: "Be one of the few, the proud, the Marines." -- Marine Corps Advertisement

    Balanced Sentence

    Phrases or clauses which balance each other by likeness of structure, meaning and length.


    harsh joining of sounds.
    EX: "My stick fingers click with a snicker" - John Updike

    Call to Action

    Writing that urges people to action or promotes change.


    the techniques used to create and reveal fictional personalities in a work of literature

    Chiasmus (ki-AZ-mus)

    A type of balance in which the second part of the sentence is balanced against the first but with the part reversed (from the Greek letter
    chi [X])
    EX: "My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington." (Barack Obama)
    "But O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
    Who dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet strong loves." —Shakespeare, Othello 3.3


    a timeworn expression that through overuse has lost its power to evoke concrete images.
    EX: "gentle as a lamb," "smart as a whip," "pleased as punch."

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