Literary Critical Vocabulary

40 useful words for AS or A2 English students for use when talking about literary techniques used by authors in their writing.

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Alliteration
The use of the same letter to begin a succession of words.
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Amplification
The act and the means of extending thoughts or statements to increase rhetorical effect, to add importance, or to make the most of a thought or circumstance.
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Anadiplosis
Repeating the last word of one clause or phrase to begin the next.
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Analogy
The use of a similar or parallel case or example to reason or argue a point.
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Anastrophe
Inversion of the natural word order.
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Anaphora
The repetition of a word of phrase at the beginning of successive sentences; when applied to a succession of phrases it is called epanaphora.
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Anthropomorphic
Where something is treated as if it human - be sure to distinguish it from personification where it is used a stylistic device.
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Antithesis
Two statements in quick succession, the second modifying or positing another case like the first.
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Aposiopesis
A rhetorical device where a sentence is deliberately left unfinished.
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Bdelgymia
A heap of insults.
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Chiasmus
Reversal of an idea.
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Congeries
A list of adjectives of names - very unlikely in natural speech.
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Ecphonesis
A sentence consisting of a single word or short phrase ending with an exclamation point.
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Enallage
A deliberate grammatical error.
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Epanallepsis
Where a portion of writing begin and ends with the same word.
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Epistrophe
A succession of clauses, phrases or sentences that all end with the smae word or group of words.
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Epizeuxis
Repetition of words in immediate succession for vehemence or emphasis.
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Hyperbaton
Using odd or unusual syntax.
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Irony
Where a speaker expresses an idea by stating its opposite.
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Isocolon
Two clauses that are grammatically parallel and structurally the same.
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Jargon
The use of highly specialist language.
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Litotes
Emphasising something through a double negative.
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Merism
Not naming a thing but its parts instead.
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Metaphor
A comparison intended to draw out particular aspects of the thing being compared.
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Mythopeic
Myth-making.
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Parataxis
A sequence of simple, direct sentences.
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Paroemion
Excessive use of alliteration.
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Pleonastic
Using more words than are necessary to convey the sense.
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Ploce
Where a word is repeated but with other words between.
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Plosives
The use of letters where the vocal tract is blocked so that all airflow ceases.
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Polyptoton
The repeated use of one word as different parts of speech.
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Polysyndeton
The use of lots of conjuctions.
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Prolepsis/Proleptic
The anticipation and answering of objections in rhetorical speech or the use of a pronoun before it is known what it refers to.
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Rhetorical Question
A question that does not invite an answer from a listener but more of an internal reaction.
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Scesis Onamaton
A sentence withou a main verb.
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Synaesthesia
One sense described in terms of another.
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Synecdoche
A type of metonymy referring to body parts.
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Transferrred Epithet (Hypallage)
An adjective applied to the incorrect noun.
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Tricolon
Making points in three - a pattern of three.
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Banal
Something that is useless or pointless.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

The act and the means of extending thoughts or statements to increase rhetorical effect, to add importance, or to make the most of a thought or circumstance.

Back

Amplification

Card 3

Front

Repeating the last word of one clause or phrase to begin the next.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

The use of a similar or parallel case or example to reason or argue a point.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Inversion of the natural word order.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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