Verb, meaning one or more letters occurring as a bound form attached to the beginning, end, or base of a word and serving to produce a derivative word or an inflectional form (e.g., a prefix or suffix).
A form of extended metaphor in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative are equated with meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning may have moral, social, religious, or political significance, and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas such as charity, greed, or envy.
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The repetition of initial sounds in neighboring words.
An implied or indirect reference in literature to a familiar person, place, or event.
The process or result of identifying the parts of a whole and their relationships to one another.
A word that is the opposite in meaning to another word.
The position or claim the author establishes. Arguments should be supported with valid evidence and reasoning and balanced by the inclusion of counterarguments that illustrate opposing viewpoints.
The author’s intent either to inform or teach someone about something, to entertain people or to persuade or convince his/her audience to do or not do something.
The subtle presence of a positive or negative approach toward a topic.
A written account of another person’s life.
A person, animal or inanimate object portrayed in a literary work.
The method an author uses to reveal characters and their various traits and personalities (e.g., direct, indirect).
The turning point in a narrative; the moment when the conflict is at its most intense. Typically, the structure of stories, novels, and plays is one of rising action, in which tension builds to the climax.
Place together characters, situations, or ideas to show common and/or differing features in literary selections.
A struggle or clash between opposing characters, forces, or emotions.
The range of associations that a word or phrase suggests in addition to its dictionary meaning.
Words and phrases in a sentence, paragraph, and/or whole text, which help reason out the meaning of an unfamiliar word.
The generally accepted importance of a work representing a given culture.
Defense of a Claim
Support provided to mark an assertion as reasonable.
A variety of a language distinct from the standard variety in pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary.
In its widest sense, dialogue is simply conversation between characters or speakers in a literary work; in its most restricted sense, it refers specifically to the speech of characters in a drama.
An author’s choice of words, phrases, sentence structures and figurative language, which combine to help create meaning and tone.
Distinguish, tell apart, and recognize differences between two or more items.
The genre of literature represented by works intended for the stage; a work to be performed by actors on stage, radio, or television; play.
The written text of a play, which includes the dialogue between characters, stage directions and often other expository information.
To make a judgment or decision based on reasoning rather than direct or implicit statement.
Elements of Fiction
Traits that mark a work as imaginative or narrative discourse (e.g., plot, theme, symbol).
Elements of Nonfiction
Traits that mark a work as reportorial, analytical, informative or argumentative (e.g.
, facts, data, charts, graphics, headings).
Examine and judge carefully. To judge or determine the significance, worth or quality of something; to assess.
To make understandable, plain or clear.
Clearly expressed or fully stated in the actual text.
A narrative device, often used at the beginning of a work that provides necessary background information about the characters and their circumstances.
A piece of information provided objectively, presented as true.
The part of a literary plot that is characterized by diminishing tensions and the resolution of the plot’s conflicts and complications. 3
Any story that is the product of imagination rather than a documentation of fact. Characters and events in such narratives may be based in real life but their ultimate form and configuration is a creation of the author.
Language that cannot be taken literally since it was written to create a special effect or feeling.
The “first person” or “personal” point of view relates events as they are perceived by a single character.
The narrating character may offer opinions about the action and characters that differ from those of the author.
An organizational device used in literature to present action that occurred before current (present) time of the story. Flashbacks are often introduced as the dreams or recollections of one or more characters.
The center of interest or attention.
An organizational device used in literature to create expectation or to set up an explanation of later developments.
A conclusion drawn from specific information that is used to make a broad statement about a topic or person.
A category used to classify literary works, usually by form, technique or content (e.g.
, prose, poetry).
Headings, Graphics and Charts
Any visual cues on a page of text that offer additional information to guide the reader’s comprehension. Headings typically are words or phrases in bold print that indicate a topic or the theme of a portion of text; graphics may be photographs, drawings, maps or any other pictorial representation; charts (and tables or graphs) condense data into a series of rows, lines or other shortened lists.
An exaggeration or overstatement (e.g.
, I had to wait forever.)
Descriptive or figurative language in a literary work; the use of language to create sensory impressions.
Though unexpressed in the actual text, meaning that may be understood by the reader; implied.
A judgment based on reasoning rather than on a direct or explicit statement. A conclusion based on facts or circumstances; understanding gained by “reading between the lines.”
Nonfiction written primarily to convey factual information.
Informational texts comprise the majority of printed material adults read (e.g., textbooks, newspapers, reports, directions, brochures, technical manuals).
To give reasons through an explanation to convey and represent the meaning or understanding of a text.
The use of a word or phrase to mean the exact opposite of its literal or usual meaning; incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the expected result.
Points of information in a text that strongly support the meaning or tell the story. Statements that define, describe, or otherwise provide information about the topic, theme, or main idea.
Specific word choices in a text that strongly support the tone, mood, or meaning of the text. 4
Tool used by the author to enliven and provide voice to the text (e.g., dialogue, alliteration).
An essential technique used in literature (e.g.
, characterization, setting, plot, theme).
The overall structure or shape of a work that frequently follows an established design. Forms may refer to a literary type (narrative, short story) or to patterns of meter, lines, and rhymes (stanza, verse).
A trend or pattern of shared beliefs or practices that mark an approach to literature (e.g., Realism, Naturalism, Romanticism).
Text that includes literary elements and devices usually associated with fiction to report on actual persons, places, or events. Examples include nature and travel text, biography, memoir and the essay.
The author’s central thought; the chief topic of a text expressed or implied in a word or phrase; the topic sentence of a paragraph.
The comparison of two unlike things in which no words of comparison (like or as) are used (e.g.
, The speech gave me food for thought.)
An extended speech spoken by one speaker, either to others or as if alone.
The prevailing emotions or atmosphere of a work derived from literary devices such as dialogue and literary elements such as setting.
The mood of a work is not always what might be expected based on its subject matter.
A recurring subject, theme, or idea in a literary work.
Words that have several meanings depending upon how they are used in a sentence.
A story, actual or fictional, expressed orally or in text.
A person, animal, or thing telling the story or giving an account of something.
Text that is not fictional; designed primarily to explain, argue, instruct or describe rather than entertain. For the most part, its emphasis is factual.
A personal view, attitude, or appraisal.
An object or abstract idea given human qualities or human form (e.g., Flowers danced about the lawn.)
The structure of a story. The sequence in which the author arranges events in a story. The structure often includes the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution. The plot may have a protagonist who is opposed by an antagonist, creating what is called conflict.
In its broadest sense, text that aims to present ideas and evoke an emotional experience in the reader through the use of meter, imagery and connotative and concrete words. Some poetry has a carefully constructed structure based on rhythmic patterns. Poetry typically relies on words and expressions that have several layers of meaning (figurative language). It may also make use of the effects of regular rhythm on the ear and may make a strong appeal to the senses through the use of imagery. 5
Point of View
The position of the narrator in relation to the story, as indicated by the narrator’s outlook from which the events are depicted (e.g., first person, third person limited, third person omniscient, etc).
The perspective from which a speaker or author recounts a narrative or presents information. The author’s manner in revealing characters, events, and ideas; the vantage point from which a story is told.
Groups of letters placed before a word to alter its meaning.
Information aimed at positively or negatively influencing the opinions or behaviors of large numbers of people.
Propaganda techniques and persuasive tactics are used to influence people to believe, buy or do something. Students should be able to identify and comprehend the propaganda techniques and persuasive tactics listed below.
is an attack on a person instead of an issue.
tries to persuade the reader to do, think or buy something because it is popular or because “everyone” is doing it.
is an attempt to distract the reader with details not relevant to the argument.
tries to persuade the reader by using words that appeal to the reader’s emotions instead of appealing to logic or reason.
attempts to persuade the reader by using a famous person to endorse a product or idea (for instance, the celebrity endorsement).
attempts to persuade the reader by repeating a message over and over again.
(stereotyping) makes an oversimplified statement about a group based on limited information.
states a conclusion as part of the proof of the argument.
Appeal to numbers, facts, or statistics
attempts to persuade the reader by showing how many people think something is true.
The portion of a story following the climax in which the conflict is resolved. The resolution of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is neatly summed up in the following sentence: “Henry and Catherine were married, the bells rang and everybody smiled.”
The part of a story where the plot becomes increasingly complicated. Rising action leads up to the climax, or turning point.
A literary approach that ridicules or examines human vice or weakness.
Various sentence structures, styles, and lengths that can enhance the rhythm of or add emphasis to a piece of text. The presence of multiple sentence structures in a text (simple, complex, compound, compound?complex) and/or various sentence beginnings (e.g.
, dependent and independent clauses, phrases, single words)
Sequence of Steps
A literary organizational form that presents the order in which tasks are to be performed.
The time and place in which a story unfolds.
A comparison of two unlike things in which a word of comparison (like or as) is used (e.g., The ant scurried as fast as a cheetah.)
A dramatic speech, revealing inner thoughts and feelings, spoken aloud by one character while alone on the stage.
The voice used by an author to tell/narrate a story or poem. The speaker is often a created identity, and should not automatically be equated with the author.
See also narrator and point of view.
A playwright’s written instructions provided in the text of a play about the setting or how the actors are to move and behave in a play.
Structure of Poem
The rhyming pattern, meter, grammar, and imagery used by a poet to convey meaning.
The author’s choices regarding language, sentence structure, voice, and tone in order to communicate with the reader.
Groups of letters placed after a word to alter its meaning or change it into a different kind of word, from an adjective to an adverb, etc.
To capture all of the most important parts of the original text (paragraph, story, poem), but express them in a much shorter space, and as much as possible in the reader’s own words.
A device in literature where an object represents an idea.
A word that is similar in meaning to another word (e.g.
, sorrow, grief, sadness).
The ordering of words into meaningful verbal patterns such as phrases, clauses, and sentences.
The author’s method of structuring a text; the way a text is structured from beginning to end. In literary works, the structure could include flashback and foreshadowing, for example.
In nonfiction works, the structure could include sequence, question?answer, cause?effect, etc.
A topic of discussion or work; a major idea broad enough to cover the entire scope of a literary work. A theme may be stated or implied. Clues to the theme may be found in the prominent and/or reoccurring ideas in a work.
A perspective in literature, the “third person” point of view presents the events of the story from outside of any single character’s perception, much like the omniscient point of view, but the reader must understand the action as it takes place and without any special insight into characters’ minds or motivations.
The attitude of the author toward the audience, characters, subject or the work itself (e.g., serious, humorous). 7
A character that symbolically embodies well?known meanings and basic human experiences, regardless of when or where he/she lives (e.g., hero, villain, intellectual, dreamer).
The generally accepted importance or value of a work to represent human experience regardless of culture or time period.
The fluency, rhythm, and liveliness in a text that make it unique to the author.