AP English Rhetorical Terms (Set 4) flashcards | Quizlet

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  • Personification

    attributing human characteristics to nonhuman things
    EX: "The wind whispers through the trees."

    Point of view

    the vantage point from which the author presents the actions of the story.

    Polysyndeton (paulee-SIN-dih-tawn)

    the repetition of conjunctions in close succession for rhetorical effect
    EX: "Here and there and everywhere."


    the study of sound and rhythm in poetry


    the central character of a drama, novel, short story, or narrative poem


    a play on words that are identical or similar in sound but have sharply diverse meanings
    EX: When Mercutio is bleeding to death in Romeo and Juliet, he says to his friends, "Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find a grave man"


    reiterating a word or phrase, or rewording the same idea, to secure emphasis

    Rhetorical fragment

    incomplete sentence used deliberately for persuasive purpose

    Rhetorical question

    a question asked solely to produce and effect and not to elicit a reply
    EX: "When will I ever learn?"


    the repetition of sounds in two or more words or phrases that appear close to each other


    the use of verbal irony in which a person appears to be praising something but is actually insulting it
    EX: "As I fell down the stairs headfirst, I heard her say, 'Look at that coordination.'"


    a technique that points out the fallacies in both people and societal institutions, using iron wit and exaggeration


    the time and place in which events in a short story novel, play, or narrative poem take place

    Shift or Turn

    a change or movement in a piece resulting from an epiphany, realization, or insight gained by the speaker, a character, or the reader


    a figure of speech involving a comparison using like or as
    EX: "She is as lovely as a summer's day"


    twist and turn so as to give an intended interpretation
    EX: "The President's spokesmen had to spin the story to make it less embarrassing"


    dialogue in which the endings and beginnings of each line echo each other, taking on a new meaning with each new line
    EX: from Shakespeare's Hamlet:
    QUEEN: Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
    HAMLET: Mother, you have my father much offended.
    QUEEN: Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
    HAMLET: Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.


    the author's characteristic manner of expression

    Syllepsis (a type of zeugma)

    occurs when a single word that governs or modifies two or more others must be understood differently with respect to each of those words. A combination of grammatical parallelism and semantic incongruity, often with a witty or comical effect.
    EX: [a] He grabbed his hat from the rack by the stairs and a kiss from the lips of his wife. [b] She stole his heart and his car on their first date.


    a particular kind of argument containing three categorical propositions, two of them premises, one a conclusion. Logical form allows one to substitute subjects and predicates for letters (variables).
    EX: If all humans are mortal, and all Greeks are humans, then all Greeks are mortal.


    something concrete (such as an object, person, place, or event) that stands for or represents something abstract (such as an idea, quality, concept, or condition)


    repetition of the first and last words in a clause over successive clauses (combines anaphora and epistrophe)
    EX: "Much of what I say might sound bitter, but it's the truth. Much of what I say might sound like it's stirring up trouble, but it's the truth. Much of what I say might sound like it is hate, but it's the truth." -- Malcolm X

    Synecdoche (sih-NECK-duh-kee)

    a type of figurative language in which the whole is used in place of the part or the part is used in place of the whole
    EX: "Give us this day our daily bread." -- Matthew 6:11
    Note: In this case, the part (bread) stands in for the whole (food and perhaps other necessities of life)


    the pattern or structure of the word order in a sentence or phrase: the study of grammatical structure


    the attitude of the writer or speaker toward his subject


    the implied personality the author chooses to adopt

    Zeugma (zoog'-ma)

    A general term describing when one part of speech (most often the main verb, but sometimes a noun) governs two or more other parts of a sentence (often in a series).
    EX: [a] Mr. Glowry was horror-struck by the sight of a round, ruddy face and a pair of laughing eyes. [b] The little baby from his crib, the screaming lady off the roof, and the man from the flooded basement were all rescued.

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