English Language and Literature Terminology

Terminology for English Language and Literature

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Concrete Noun

Things that exist physically

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Abstract Noun

Things that refer to ideas or feelings

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Pronoun

Replace nouns 'You', 'We', 'She' and established sense of identity, distance and mystery

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Proper Nouns

Specific people and places, add realism

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Modifier

Pre or post, add detail to noun or verb to influence reader

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Superlative

Describe the best or worst of something, emphasise extremes

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Dynamic Verb

Physical actions, often imply that the action is more important in the sentence

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Stative Verb

Express state of being or processes with no obvious action

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Intransitive Verbs

Verbs which cannot take an object

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Transitive Verb

Verb which must take an object

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Modal/Auxiliary Verbs

Verbs such as 'most', 'could', 'should' which express degrees of certainty, obligation or possibility

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Emotive Language

Words that arouse strong feelings in the audience

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Figurative Language

Words that are used figuratively to construct a comparision

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Deictic Language

Words that rely on context to give them meaning

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Transactional Language

Term to describe language that is mainly factual

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Colloquial Language

Expressions from everyday speech, often found in spontaneous conversation and writing which tries to mimic this (realism)

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Register

A style of writing suited to a particular purpose, e.g. informal/formal

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Idiolect

An individual's unique style of speaking

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Idiom

Slang expressions found in everyday speech which are not to be taken literally, e.g. 'It's raining cats and dogs'

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Pathos

Language producing feelings of pity or sorrow

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Bathos

Language delibrately used for anti-climatic effect

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Syntactic structure/parallelism

Expressing ideas through repeating sentence structures for emphasis or effect

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Triadic Structure

Pattern of three used, giving a sense of rhythm

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Minor Sentence

Sentence without a verb

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Simple Sentence

A sentence that contains only one verb

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Compound Sentence

Two clauses joined together with a connective, e.g. 'and', 'if', 'but'

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Complex Sentence

Two or more clauses joined together, of which one clause would not make sense without the other

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Declarative

Statement, used for facts and opinions

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Imperative

Begin with a verb. Used to give instruction, warning or advice; often connote power

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Exclamative

End with '!', used to express extreme feelings of horror, shock, anger, surprise etc

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Interrogative

End with a '?', and used to make the audience consider the question asked

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Ellipsis

Omission of part of a sentence that can only be understood by context

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Asyndetic Listing

Listing which does not contain any conjunctions

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Syndetic Listing

List which contains conjunctions

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Hyperbole

Exaggeration or overstatement for delibrate effect

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Dramatic Irony

When the meaning of a situation is understood by the audience, but not by the characters

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Symbolism

One thing is used to represent another

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Connotation

Ideas, feelings or associations that a word suggests in addition to its primary, literal meaning

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Denotation

The primary, literal meaning with no extra associations

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Rhetorical Devices

Linguistic devices used to influence the audience e.g. parallelism, hyperbole, rhetorical questions, emotive language

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Semantic Field

A set of words catergorised in a certain way

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Utterance

Simplest unit of speech, bounded only by a fullstop

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Adverb

Word that changes or qualifies the meaning of a verbadjective, other adverb, clausesentence or any other word or phrase, except that it does not include the adjectives and determiners that directly modify nouns

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Adjective

Describing word, which gives more information about a noun or noun phrase

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Assonance

Two or more words which contain the same vowel letter or sound

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Noun phrase

A single noun or pronoun that function together as a noun or pronoun, which function together as a subject or object of a verb

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Address

How people refer to each other

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Hedges

Words used to soften the force of something that is being said, e.g. 'Perhaps', 'maybe'

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Agenda

The topic of conversation

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Backtracking

When a speaker re-formulates an utterance to include information that should have been included earlier

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Phatic Talk

Formulaic utterances with stock responses, used to establish rapport

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Adjacency Pairs

Exchanges between speakers that are connected and have expected responses (e.g. a question expects an answer)

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Adverbial

Group of words that modifies or tells us something about the sentence or verb (time, manner, place, frequency etc)

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Archaism

Use of a form of a speech or writing that is no longer current

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Etymology

Study of the history of words

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Satirical Comedy

Intends to underline the vices of society

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Parody

Imitation of the style of a particular writer that mocks the piece

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Pastiche

Work of literature that closely imitates the work of a writer etc but celebrates rather than mocks the piece of work

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Syntax

The order of words

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Antithesis

A contrast or direct opposition of something else

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Parenthesis

A word or phrase inserted as an explanation or afterthought into a passage which is grammatically complete without it, in writing usually marked off by brackets, dashes, or commas

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Typography

Arranging of type in order to make language visible

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Graphology

Study of handwriting

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