AP Lang Literary terms

Topics: ArtPhotography


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Last updated: May 8, 2019

The listener, viewer, or reader of a text

An acknowledgement that an opposing argument may be true or reasonable

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Meanings or association that readers have with a word beyond its dictionary definition, or denotation

The circumstances, atmosphere, attitudes and events surrounding a text

An opposing argument to the one a writer is putting forward

Greek for “character.” credibility, trustworthy appeal

Greek for “embodied thought.” Appeal to reason, examples, facts, statistics, or expert testimony

The time and place a speech is given or a piece is written.

Greek for “suffering” or “experience.” emotional appeal

Greek for “mask.” The face or character that a speaker shows to his or her audience.

Greek for “hostile.

” An aggressive argument that tries to establish superiority of one opinion over all others.

The spread of ideas and info to further a cause.

The goal the speaker wants to achieve

A denial of the validity of an opposing argument

The art of finding ways to persuade an audience

Rhetorical Appeals
Techniques used to persuade an audience by emphasizing what they find most important or compelling. 3 Major ones are: Ethos (character), Logos (reason), and Pathos (emotion).

Rhetorical/Aristotelian Triangle
Rhetorical/Aristotelian Triangle


The person or group who creates a text

The topic of a text.

What the text is about

anything written, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, cartoons, art, photography, performances,fashion, cultural trends, etc.

Repetition of the same sound beginning several words or syllables in sequence

Brief reference to a person, event, or place, or to a work of art

Repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases clauses, or lines

Repetition of words in reverse order

Opposition, or contrast, of ideas or words in a parallel construction

Archaic Diction
Old fashioned or outdated choice of words

Omission of conjunctions between coordinate phrases, clauses, or words

Cumulative Sentence
Sentence that completes the main idea at the beginning of the sentence then builds or adds on

Hortative Sentence
Sentence that exhorts, urges, entreats, implores, or calls to action.

Imperative sentence
Sentence used to command or enjoin. (think of speaker saying “together”)

Inverted order of words in a sentence. From subject-verb-object to object-verb-subject

Placement of two things closely together to emphasize similarities or differences

Figure of speech that compares two things without using like or as

Paradoxical juxtaposition of words that seem to contradict one another

Similarity of structure in a pair of series of related words, phrases, or clauses

Periodic sentence
Sentence whose main clause is withheld until the end

Attribution of a lifelike quality to an inanimate object or an idea

Rhetorical Question
Figure of speech in the form of a question posed for the rhetorical effect rather than getting an answer

Figure of speech that uses a part to represent a whole

Use of two different words in a grammatically similar way that produces different, often incongruous, meanings

ad hominem
fallacy of diverting the issue at hand to the character of the other speaker

ad populem
fallacy, Bandwagon appeal

appeal to false authority
fallacy of a not credible person speaking on an issue

a process of reasoned inquiry; a persuasive discourse resulting in a coherent and considered movement from a claim to a conclusion

In the Toulmin model, the warrant expresses the assumption necessarily shared by the speaker and the audience

in the Toulmin model, backing consists of further assurances or data without which the assumption lacks authority

begging the question
A fallacy in which a claim is based on evidence or support that is in doubt.

It “begs” a question whether the support itself is sound.

Circular Reasoning
A fallacy in which the writer repeats the claim as a way to provide evidence

also assertion of a proposition, a claim states the argument’s main idea or position. A claim differs from a topic or subject in that a claim has to be arguable.

Claim of Fact
Claim that asserts that something is true or not true

Claim of policy
Claim that proposes a change

Claim of value
Claim that argues that something is good or bad, right or wrong.

Classical oration
Five Part argument structure used by classical rhetoricians.

Introduction (exordium)- introduces the reader to the subject under discussionNarration (narratio)- Provides factual information and background material on the subject at hand or establishes why the subject is a problem that needs addressingConfirmation (conformatio)- Usually the major part of the text, the confirmation includes the proof needed to make the writer’s caseRefutation (refutatio)- Addresses the counter argument. It is a bridge between the writer’s proof and conclusionConclusion (peroratio)- Brings the essayto a satisfying close

Closed thesis
A statement of the main idea of the argument that also previews the major points the writer intends to make

Logical process where one reaches a conclusion by starting with a universal truth (Major Premise) and applying it to a specific case (Minor Premise)

Either/or (false dilemma)
Fallacy in which the speaker presents two extreme options as the only possible choices

(logical) fallacy
Potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses in an argument. They often arise from a failure to make a logical connection between the claim and the evidence used to support it

Faulty analogy
Fallacy the occurs when an analogy compares two things that are not comparable.

First-Hand evidence
Evidence based on something the writer knows, whether it’s from personal experience, observations, or general knowledge of events.

Hasty Generalization
Fallacy in which a faulty conclusion is reached because of inadequate evidence

A logical process whereby the writer reasons from particulars to universals, using specific cases in order to draw a conclusion, which is also called a generalization

Open thesis
thesis that does not list all the points the writer intends to cover in an essay

post hoc ergo propter hoc
Fallacy meaning that it is incorrect to always claim that something is a cause just because it happened earlier.

Correlation does not imply causation

In the Toulmin model, this uses words like usually, probably, maybe, in most cases, and most likely to temper the claim, making it less absolute

Quantitative evidence
Evidence that includes things that can be measured, cited, counted, or otherwise represented in numbers

In the Toulmin model, this gives voice to possible objections

In the Toulmin model, this explains the terms and conditions necessitated by the qualifier

Rogerian arguments
Developed by psychiatrist Carl Rogers, this is based on the assumption that having a full understanding of an opposing position is essential to responding to it persuasively and refuting it in a way that is accommodating rather than alienating

Second-hand evidence
Evidence that is accessed through research, reading, and investigation.

Straw man
Fallacy that occurs when a speaker chooses a deliberately poor or oversimplified example in order to ridicule and refute an idea.

A logical structure that uses the major premise and minor premise to reach a necessary conclusion

Toulmin model
An approach to analyzing and construction arguments created by a british philosopher in his book: The Uses of Argument.This can be stated as a template: Because (evidence of support), therefore (claim), since (warrant/assumption), on account of (backing), unless (reservation)

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