Literary Terms General Ela Vocabulary Oxacorg

Literary terms general ela vocabulary oxacorg

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Literary Terms & General ELA Vocabulary
Allegory ​- the representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative,
dramatic, or pictorial form

Alliteration ​– the repetition of initial consonant sounds. Used to draw attention to certain words or
ideas, to imitate sounds, and create musical effects. ie. “​M​arilyn ​M​onroe ​m​akes ​m​uffins on ​M​ondays.”
Allusion​ – a reference to something in literature, history, mythology, religious texts, etc., considered
common knowledge

Ambiguity​ - when an author leaves out details/information or is unclear about an event so the reader
will use his/her imagination to fill in the blanks

Analogy​ – a point by point comparison between two dissimilar things for the purpose of clarifying the
less familiar of the two things

Anaphora​ - repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive lines in a poem

Anecdote​ - a short story or joke told at the beginning of a speech to gain the audience’s attention

Antagonist​ - is the character that is directly opposed to the protagonist (a rival, opponent, enemy). The
antagonist can be another character in the work, the forces of nature, fate, chance, or any combination of
these things

Anti-Climatic​ -- when the ending of the plot in poetry or prose is unfulfilling or lackluster

Anti-hero​ -- is the protagonist who is the opposite of what we would expect a hero to be

Apostrophe​ -- the device, usually in poetry, of calling out to an imaginary, dead, or absent person, or to
a place, thing, or personified abstraction either to begin a poem or to make a dramatic break in thought
somewhere within the poem

Assonance​ - the repetition of the same vowel sound in a phrase or line of poetry. ie. “H​ow​ n​ow​ br​ow​n
c​ow​.” or “mad as a hatter”
Ballad​ -- a narrative poem that was originally meant to be sung. Ballads are generally about ordinary
people who have unusual adventures, with a single tragic incident as the central focus. They contain
dialogue and repetition, and imply more than they actually tell

Blank Verse​ - name for unrhymed iambic pentameter. An iamb is a metrical foot in which an unstressed
syllable is followed by a stressed syllable. In iambic pentameter there are five iambs per line making ten

Cacophony​ -- harsh, clashing, or dissonant sounds, often produced by combinations of words that
require a clipped, explosive delivery, or words that contain a number of plosive consonants such as b, d,
g, k, p, and t; the opposite of EUPHONY

Character​ – person or an animal that take part in the action of a literary work

Major character​ – the most important character(s) in the story

Minor character​ – one who takes part in the action, but is not the focus of attention

Flat character​ – one-sided, often stereotypical

Round character​ – fully developed and exhibits many traits (good and bad)

Dynamic character​ – one who changes or grows during the course of the work

Static character​ – one who does not change

Foil -​- A character that by contrast underscores or enhances the distinctive characteristics
of another

Characterization​ – act of creating and developing a character

Direct characterization​ – a writer states the character’s traits or characteristics

Indirect characterization​ – reader draw conclusions about the character’s traits

Colloquial Language​ -- informal, conversational language. Colloquialisms are phrases or sayings that
are indicative of a specific region. Do not confuse this with slang - ​colloquialism is considered standard
language, but slang is not

Conceit​ -- an elaborate figure of speech comparing two very dissimilar things

Conflict​ – struggle between opposing forces

External ​– character struggles between outside forces, such as another person, force of
nature, society

Internal​ – character struggles within the mind of self, to make a decision, take action, or
overcome a feeling

Conflict Types -- ​the five basic types of conflicts are:
Person vs. Nature ​-- is where man struggles with weather, wind, water or other natural

Person vs. Person ​-- is where humans struggle against other humans or human forms
Person vs. Self --​ is where a human struggles against two or more elements within

Person vs. Society​ -- is where man struggles against society’s institutions (such as IRS,
legal systems, prejudice, peer pressure etc.)
Person vs. Supernatural --​ is where a human struggles with some opposing force outside
of the ordinary (mythical gods, such as ghosts, “magical forces,” etc.)
Connotation ​– set of ideas associated with a word, in addition to its explicit meaning. It can be
personal, based on individual experiences

Consonance​ -- the repetition of consonant sounds in a phrase or line of poetry. The consonant sound
may be at the beginning, middle, or end of the word

Convention​ -- an understanding between a reader and a writer about certain details of a story that does
not need to be explained

Couplet​ - two rhyming lines in poetry

Denotation ​– the dictionary meaning of a word, independent of other associations that the word may

Example​: lake – denotation is “an inland body of water.” Connotations might be
“Vacation spot” and “place where fishing is good.”
Deus ex machina​ -- term that refers to a character or force that appears at the end of a story or play to
help resolve conflict. Word means “god from a machine.” In ancient Greek drama, gods were lowered
onto the stage by a mechanism to extricate characters from a seemingly hopeless situation. The phrase
has come to mean any turn of events that solve the characters’ problems through an unexpected and
unlikely intervention

Dialect ​– form of a language spoken by people in a particular region or group

Dialogue ​– spoken conversation between characters

Diction​ -- word choice or the use of words in speech or writing

Elegy​ -- a lyric poem that mourns the dead; an entire poem about the loss that one feels after someone or
something has died

Enjambment​ -- the continuation of reading one line of a poem to the next with no pause, a run-on line

Epic​ -- a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and
adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation

Epigram​ -- any witty, pointed saying. Originally an epigram meant an inscription, or epitaph usually in
verse, on a tomb. Later it came to mean a short poem that compressed meaning and expression in the
manner of an inscription

Epilogue -​- a short poem or speech spoken directly to the audience following the conclusion of a play,
or in a novel the epilogue is a short explanation at the end of the book which indicates what happens
after the plot ends

Epistle​ -- a poem or other literary work in the form of a letter or series of letters

Epitaph ​-- the inscription on a tombstone or monument in memory of the person or people buried there

Epitaph also refers to a brief literary piece that sums up the life of a dead person

Essay ​– short nonfiction work about a particular subject. Usually have a single focus, with a clear
introduction, body, and conclusion

Euphemism ​-- the act of substituting a harsh, blunt, or offensive comment for a more politically
accepted or positive one. (short=vertically challenged)
Euphony​ -- a succession of words which are pleasing to the ear. These words may be alliterative, utilize
consonance, or assonance and are often used in poetry but also seen in prose; the opposite of cacophony
Extended Metaphor ​-- refers to a comparison between two unlike things that continues throughout a
series of sentences in a paragraph, or lines in a poem. It is often comprised of more than one sentence,
and sometimes consists of a full paragraph

Feminine Ending​ -- term that refers to an unstressed extra syllable at the end of a line of iambic

Fiction​ – prose writing that tells about imaginary characters and events
Figurative Language ​– writing or speech that is not to be taken literally
Hyperbole -​- A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or
comic/dramatic effect

Metaphor –​ something is described as though it were something else, points out similarity
between two unlike things
Simile – ​a comparison of two unlike things, using “like” or “as”
Personification- ​a nonhuman subject is given human characteristics
Flashback​ – an interruption in the major action of a story, play or nonfiction work to show an episode
that happened at an earlier time and place. A flashback can shed light on the characters and events of the
present by providing background information

Foreshadow ​– clues in the text about incidents that will occur later in the plot, foreshadowing creates
anticipation in the novel or story

Foot ​-- the metrical length of a line is determined by the number of feet it contains. The most common
feet have two to three syllables, with at least one stressed syllable

Monometer:​ One foot
Dimeter:​ Two feet
Trimeter:​ Three feet
Tetrameter:​ Four feet
Pentameter:​ Five feet
Hexameter:​ Six feet
Heptameter: ​Seven feet
Types of feet in verse:
Iamb​ -- an iambic foot has two syllables. The first is unstressed and the second is
stressed. The iambic foot is most common in English poetry

Trochee​ -- a trochaic foot has two syllables. The first is stressed and the second is

Dactyl -​- a dactylic foot has three syllables beginning with a stressed syllable; the other
two unstressed

Anapest -​- an anapestic foot has three syllables. The first two are unstressed with the third

Free Verse​ -- type of verse that contains a variety of line lengths, is unrhymed, and lacks traditional

Genre ​– a division or type of literature
Poetry ​– lyric poetry, concrete poetry, dramatic poetry, narrative poetry, epic poetry
Prose ​– fiction (novels and short stories) and nonfiction (biography, autobiography,
letters, essays, and reports)
Drama​ – serious drama and tragedy, comic drama, melodrama, and farce
Autobiography​ ​– story of the writer’s own life, told by the writer. They are a form of
nonfiction and are generally written in first person

Biography​ ​– life story of a person told by another person. They are a form of nonfiction,
but effective biographies share qualities of a good narrative

Epic​ -- An extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the
feats of a legendary or traditional hero

Folktale/Folklore​ ​– story composed orally and passed from person to person by word of

Fable​ ​– a brief story or poem, usually with animal characters, that teaches a lesson or

Fantasy​ – highly imaginative writing that contain elements not found in real life

Gothic​ -- a genre of fiction characterized by mystery and supernatural horror, often set in
a dark castle or other medieval setting

Legend​ – widely told story about the past
Memoir -​- an account of the personal experiences of an author

Myth​ ​– a fictional tale that explains the actions of gods or heroes ore the origins of
elements of nature

Satire​ -- A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision,
or wit; the goal is to change the behavior/issue. Authors known for satires are Jonathan
Swift and George Orwell

Science Fiction​ – combines elements of fiction and fantasy with scientific facts. Are
generally set in the future

Hero/Heroine​ – a character whose actions are inspiring or noble. They struggle to overcome the
obstacle and problems that stand in their way

Hubris​ -- used in Greek tragedies, refers to excessive pride that usually leads to a hero’s downfall

Hypophora​ -- also referred to as ​anthypophora​ or ​antipophora​, is a figure of speech in which the
speaker poses a question and then answers the question

Idiom​ -- is the figurative use of words in a certain way that has meaning that should not be taken
literally. “Stop pulling my leg!” means stop joking, NOT that someone is actually physically pulling
your leg

Imagery ​– the use of vivid or figurative language to represent objects, actions, or ideas; the descriptive
use of detail to appeal to one or more of the reader’s senses or to create a picture in the reader’s mind

Inference ​– a form of reasoning based on the information given and what you already know through
your own experiences. To make an inference is to draw a logical conclusion or assumption from what is
already known

In medias res​ -- a story that begins in the middle of things

Inversion​ -- in poetry is an intentional digression from ordinary word order which is used to maintain
regular meters. For example, rather than saying “the rain came” a poem may say “came the rain”

Meters can be formed by the insertion or absence of a pause

Irony ​– surprising, interesting, or amusing contradictions
Dramatic Irony:​ When the audience or reader knows something characters do not know
Situational Irony: ​It involves a discrepancy between what is expected to happen and what
actually happens
Verbal Irony:​ When one thing is said, but something else, usually the opposite, is meant
Journal ​– a daily or periodic account of events and the writer’s thoughts and feelings about events
Literal​ -- a word for word interpretation for what is written or said

Main Idea ​-- what a piece of writing is mostly about. Clues to finding the main idea can often be found
in the title and topic sentences found in the work. The main idea is also closely related to the topic of
the passage

Meter​ -- the measured arrangement of words in poetry, as by accentual rhythm, syllabic quantity, or the
number of syllables in a line

Metonymy ​-- the use of a word or phrase to stand in for something else which it is often associated. ie

Lamb means Jesus

Moral ​– a lesson taught by a literary work. Moral must be made by the reader based on other elements
in the story

Motif​ - is a term for a reoccurring theme or idea in a piece of literature. In The Outsiders, one recurring
motif is the repeated reference to literary works in an attempt by the main character to make a
connection with the reader about the characters within the story

Motive ​– reason that explains or partially explains a character’s thoughts, feelings, actions, or speech
Mood​ -- is the overall feeling or atmosphere the writer creates in a work through the choice of setting,
imagery, details, and descriptions
Narrative ​– a story that is either fiction or nonfiction
Narrative Hook​ - is any device at the opening of a work to capture the interest of the readers and make
them continue reading (most often seen in nonfiction)
Narrator ​– a speaker or character that tells a story
Narrator’s perspective ​– the way he or she see things
Third person narrator ​– stands outside the action and speaks about it
First person narrator ​– one who tells a story and participates in the action
Nonfiction ​ - prose writing that presents and explains ideas or that tells about real people, places,
objects, and events
Novel ​– a long work of fiction writing
Novella​ -- A short novel usually under 100 pages

Ode​ -- A lyric poem of some length, usually of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated
style and formal stanzaic structure. An ode celebrates something. John Keats is known for writing odes

Onomatopoeia – ​the use of words that imitate sounds
Oxymoron​ -- is a combination of contradictory terms (silent scream, civil war, jumbo shrimp, freezer

Parallelism​ -- the use of similar grammatical form gives items equal weight, as in Lincoln’s line “of the
people, by the people, for the people.” Attention to parallelism generally makes both spoken and written
expression more concise, clear and powerful

Paraphrase​ -- is a restatement of an idea that keeps the same meaning but uses different words

Paradox ​-- Statement which seems to contradict itself. i.e. His old face was youthful when he heard the

Parody​ -- A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for
comic effect or ridicule. i.e. SNL or Weird Al Yankovich

Persuasion ​– writing or speech that attempts to convince the reader or listener to adopt a particular
opinion or course of action
Plot ​– the sequence of events in which each event results from a previous one and causes the next

Usually involves both characters and a central conflict

Exposition ​– begins the plot, introduces the setting, characters, and basic situation
Inciting Incident ​- ​is the event, moment, or decision that begins a story’s main conflict or
Rising action ​– introduces the central conflict, events which lead up to the turning point,
the climax
Climax​ – the turning point, the high point of interest or suspense
Falling action ​– events which lead to the end of the central conflict
Resolution ​- the moment the main character(s) solve(s) the main problem/conflict or
someone solves it for him or her
Dénouement​ – (day-new-mon) - ​the ending. At this point, any remaining secrets,
questions or mysteries which remain after the resolution are solved by the characters or
explained by the author. Sometimes the author leaves us to think about the THEME or
future possibilities for the characters

Poetic Justice​ -- the rewarding of virtue and the punishment of vice in the resolution of a plot. The
character, as they say, gets what he/she deserves

Poetry ​– one of the three major types of genre. Most poems use highly concise, musical, and
emotionally charged language; making use of figurative language, imagery, and special devices, such as

Point of View (POV) – ​the perspective or vantage point, from which a story is told

First person ​– told by the narrator in the story who uses the first person pronoun “I”
Third person ​– a narrator outside the story, uses third-person pronouns “he,” and “she,”
no use of “I” telling the story
▪ Omniscient ​– the narrator knows and tells about what each character feels and
▪ Limited ​– the narrator relates the inner thoughts and feelings of one characters;
and everything is viewed from this character’s perspective
Prequel ​-- a literary, dramatic, or cinematic work whose narrative takes place before that of a
preexisting work or a sequel
Prologue​ -- an introduction or preface, especially a poem recited to introduce a play
Prose ​– the ordinary form of written language – fiction and nonfiction
Protagonist​ – the main character in a literary work
Pun​ -- a play on words...humorous use of words that have different meanings. (ex. “A bicycle can’t
stand on its own because it’s two tired.”)
Rhyme​ -- the repetition of sounds in words
Rhyme Scheme​ -- the act of assigning letters in the alphabet to demonstrate the rhyming lines in a poem
Rites of Passage​ -- an incident which creates tremendous growth signifying a transition from
adolescence to adulthood

Satire​ -- a literary technique in which foolish ideas or customs are ridiculed for the purpose of
improving society

Sensory Language ​– writing or speech that appeals to one or more of the senses; also known as imagery
Setting – ​the time and place of the action of a story
Short story ​– a brief work of fiction that presents a sequence of events, or plot. Plot usually deals with
central conflict of main character (protagonist). These events usually communicate a message about life
or human nature (theme)

▪ Plot
▪ Characters
▪ Setting
▪ Theme
Slang​ -- A kind of language occurring chiefly in casual and playful speech, made up typically of
short-lived coinages and figures of speech that are deliberately used in place of standard terms for added
raciness, humor, irreverence, or other effect. Do not confuse for colloquialism; ​slang is more informal
than colloquialism. It is used only by certain groups – like teenagers or people of certain professions​

Soliloquy​ -- A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to himself or herself or
reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener. Typical in plays

Sonnet​ -- A poem with fourteen lines. An Italian sonnet subdivides into two quatrains and two tercets;
while an English sonnet subdivides into three quatrains and one couplet. A volta is a sudden change of
thought which is common in sonnets

Stream of Consciousness​ -- the technique of presenting the flow of thoughts, responses, and
sensations of one or more characters is called stream of consciousness

Style ​-- The combination of distinctive features of literary or artistic expression, execution, or
performance characterizing a particular person, group, school, or era

Surprise Ending – ​a conclusion that is unexpected. Often this is ​foreshadowed​, or subtly hinted at,
during the course of the work
Suspense ​– a feeling of anxious uncertainty about the outcome of events in the literary work
Syllogism​ -- a logical argument based on deductive reasoning

Symbol​ -- something concrete, such as an object, person, place or happening, that stands for or
represents something beyond itself. For example, a dove is a bird, but it may also be a symbol for peace
Synecdoche​ -- a figure of speech in which a part of something stands for the whole thing

Syntax​ -- sentence structure

Theme ​– the central message or lesson in a literary work. The theme is usually an idea about life or
about people. Writers sometimes state the story’s theme outright, but more often they simply tell the
story and let the reader discover the theme. Therefore, theme is an idea revealed by the events of the
story; plot is simply what happens in the story; it is not the theme

Tragedy​ -- a drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme
sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with
unfavorable circumstances

Tone​ -- the way in which a writer uses their choice of words or arrangement of ideas and events to
convey the writer’s attitude or feelings toward a subject

Epistle -- a poem or other literary work in the form of a letter or series of letters. Epitaph -- the inscription on a tombstone or monument in memory of the person or people buried there. …

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Who wrote the ela glossary of terms?

ELA Glossary of Terms Author Ludwig, Stacy Subject ELA Glossary of Terms Keywords English Language Arts, Ohio, Glossary Created Date 7/5/2017 1:04:04 PM

What is the english language arts glossary of terms?

The purpose of the new English Language Arts Glossary of Terms is to provide definitions for terms that educators may find confusing or for which they need a clear definition while teaching the standards. The glossary will also help as educators are reviewing English language arts webpages.

Why do i need a glossary of literary terms?

The glossary will also help as educators are reviewing English language arts webpages. This glossary is not meant to be a comprehensive content-area list of literary terms or a list for students.