Literary Terms – Elements of Style

Topics: Philosophy

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Last updated: April 22, 2019

atmosphere
The mood the reader gets from the setting, the characterization and the tone of the narrator.

colloquial
words and phrases used in everyday speech but avoided in formal writing

connotation
the implied or associative meaning of a word

denotation
The dictionary definition of a word

dialogue
a literary composition in the form of a conversation between two people

diction
the manner in which something is expressed in words

epigram
a witty, ingenious, and pointed saying that is tersely expressed.

invective
an intensely vehement, highly emotional verbal attack

inversion
A reversal of the usual order or words to receive some sort of emphasis.

irony
A contrast or an incongruity between what is stated and what is really meant, or between what is expected to happen and what actually does happen.

dramatic irony
a reader or audience member perceives something that a character in the story does not

situational irony
an outcome that turns out to be very different from what was expected, the difference between what is expected to happen and what actually does

verbal irony
a writer or speaker says one thing and means something entirely different

mood
verb inflections that express how the action or state is conceived by the speaker

paradox
a statement that is apparently self-contradictory or absurd but really contains a possible truth.

proverb
a short saying, usually of unknown or ancient origin, that expresses some useful thought, commonplace truth, or moral lesson and is most often expressed in simple, homely language.

pun
a play on words or the humorous use of a word emphasizing a different meaning or application.

sarcasm
sneering and often ironic language intended to hurt a person’s feelings

tone
encompasses the attitudes toward the subject and toward the audience implied in a literary work.

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