Literary Terms and Definitions for Writing and Analysis

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a lesson, especially one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.


words whose sounds echo their meaning used to intensify images.


similar grammatical constructions to express related or equally important ideas.

parts of speech:

a category that a word is assigned in accordance with its syntactic function


an appeal to emotion, and is a way of convincing an audience of an argument by creating an emotional response.


figure of speech that gives human qualities to an object, animal, or idea.


the sequence of events in a story; focuses on a central conflict faced by the characters and typically develops in five stages: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution.

point of view:

the method of narration used in a short story, novel, narrative poem, or work of nonfiction. First-person, third person omniscient or limited,

primary source:

an artifact, a document, diary, manuscript, autobiography, a recording, or any other source of information that was created at the time under study.

quotation marks:

punctuation marks used in pairs in various writing systems to set off direct speech, a quotation, or a phrase.


one or more lines repeated in each stanza of a poem


language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

secondary source:

information is one that was created later by someone who did not experience first-hand or participate in the events or conditions you're researching.


the place or type of surroundings where something is positioned or where an event takes place.


figure of speech that compares two unlike things using like or as


an act of speaking one's thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play.


a group of lines forming the basic recurring metrical unit in a poem; a verse.


a central idea or underlying message about life or human nature that the writer wants the reader to understand


the attitude the writer takes toward a subject.


writing arranged with a metrical rhythm, typically having a rhyme.

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