useful english literature words

A list of words and their definitions which may come in handy when describing the imagery in a poem.

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Term Definition Example
SIMILE Compares two things for effect using `as' or `like'. My English teacher is as nasty as a witch.
METAPHOR Compares two things for effect without using `as' or `like'. My English teacher is a nasty witch.
PERSONIFICATION Giving a non-living thing human or animal characteristics. The wind clawed at my window
CAESURA A strong piece of punctuation in the middle of a line of poetry. At dawn and dusk. Follow the dance.
OXYMORON A phrase combining two terms which seem to contradict each Exploding comfortably down by the cliffs.
ONOMATOPOEIA Words which sound like what they are describing. ...where the bees were lately buzzing
ALLITERATION A series of words which begin with the same sound. Flagless, followed by flies.
ENJAMBMENT Where lines of poetry run into each other without punctuation. In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses...
RHYMING COUPLET Two consecutive lines in a poem which rhyme at the end. When midnight comes, a host of dogs and
Go and track the badger to his den.
EUPHEMISM Using pleasant terms to disguise something unpleasant or He rests in soft peace.
INTETRNAL RHYME Words which rhyme within a line of poetry. I could hear the beat if a horse's feet.
ANTHROPOMORPHISM Giving an animal human characteristics. [The eagle] clasps the crag with crooked
ASSONANCE Repetition of a vowel sound within a series of words. The trees deeper green.


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