Critical Terms

Definition of word which are useful when studying English language or Literature.

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  • Created on: 02-11-09 00:07
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Critical Terms
Allegory A type of narrative which makes literal sense in its own right
but also has a double meaning.
Alliteration The repetition of consonants in words and phrases.
E.g. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Pepper.
Ambiguity Words, phrases or whole texts which have several unclear
meanings.
Assonance The repetition of vowel sounds in words and phrases.
E.g. and howls and hollos long and loud
Blank verse
Unrhymed poetry written in iambic pentameter.
Chorus
A character or group in a play who comments on the action.
Comedy Nowadays a work which makes us laugh, but used to be work
with happy endings.
Doublebarrelled words made by combining two existing, and
Compound words often unrelated, words. They are often used to condense
description.
E.g. seadog, whitemossed, woolclouds, ivymantled.
Connotation The suggestion or implication evoked by a word, phrase or
statement.
Couplet Two lines of poetry together. A rhyming couplet is two lines of
poetry together which rhyme.
Dialogue
Two or more characters speaking to each other.
Diction
The vocabulary chosen by the writer.
Dramatic irony The audience of a play is aware of facts that the character(s)
are not.

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First person
The use of `I' in speech or writing.
Form
The shape or pattern in which a poem is written.
Free verse Poetry which seems to have no set pattern, stanzas of rhyme
scheme.
Hyperbole
Huge exaggeration or overstatement.
A line of poetry made up of ten syllables with alternating light
Iambic pentameter
or heavy beats.
E.g. Is this the face that launched a thousand ships?
Imagery Writing that creates a picture in the mind, usually through the
use of comparisons.…read more

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Parody The style of an author or work is imitated and either matched
to a trivial subject or exaggerated for comic purposes.
Objects that are given human characteristics.
Personification
E.g. Old Father Time, the wind moaned, England mourns for
her dead, the walls have ears.
Prose
A piece of continuous writing which is not verse or dialogue.
Protagonist
The leading character in a play or novel.
Pun A play on words which sound the same or similar which is
usually used for comic effect.…read more

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