Juxtaposition – Making one idea more dramatic by placing it next to an opposite. In art it is called chiaroscuro, where a bright white object is placed next to a black object and thus both are made or visible. My goodness is often chastened by my sense of sin, or The gasoline savings from a hybrid car as compared to a standard car seem excellent until one compares the asking prices of the two vehicles. The juxtaposition of the asking prices shows that the savings are not as significant as they first appear. Logos – An appeal to reason. Logos is one of the fundamental strategies of argumentation identified by Aristotle. It occurs when a writer tries to convince you of the logic of his argument. Writers may use inductive argumentation or deductive argumentation, but they clearly have examples and a generally rational tone to their language. The problem with logos is that it can appear reasonable until you dissect the argument and then find fallacies that defeat the viability of the argument in the reader’s eyes. Of course, that presupposes that the reader is able to identify the fallacies. Loose Sentence – An independent clause followed by all sorts of debris, usually dependent clauses. It is minor, but might appear in the multiplechoice portion of the test. She wore a yellow ribbon that matched the shingles of the house, which were painted last year, just before he left for the war. Malapropism – A wonderful form of word play in which one word is mistakenly substituted for another that sounds similar. It doesn’t appear often, but when it does, it is usually pretty funny. The name comes from the character of Mrs. Malaprop in Richard Sheridan’s play The Rivals, who said things like “He is the very pineapple of politeness” rather than “He is the very pinnacle of politeness.” Another example comes from the Duke in Huckleberry Finn, who says “funeral orgy” instead of “funeral eulogy.” Metaphor – A figure of speech in which what is unknown is compared to something that is known in order to better gauge its importance. Remember the ripple effect and look for patterns in metaphors and similes in any piece of nonfiction prose. The loose floorboards of his mind rattled as he tried to find his way out of the legal mess he had made. Metonymy – A minor figure of speech in which the name of one thing is substituted for another with which it is closely associated. You may find metonymy in multiple-choice questions. The crown spoke with authority about the gathering crisis over bread and cheese. “Crown” is not literal, but is associated with a king or queen. Non Sequitur – This literally means “it does not follow.” Non sequitur is an argument by misdirection and is logically irrelevant. “Should we invade Canada, Sire?” “Has anyone seen my wand?” Object – A noun toward which a though, feeling, or action is directed. Not all sentences have objects, although all must have subjects and predicates. The entrance to the dark fortress dared the knight to try his hand at entering. Onomatopoeia – A minor figure of speech in which a sound imitates the thing or action associated with it. This shows up occasionally in the multiple-choice questions. Bonks, conks, and calamities whirled through the air from the shifting coconut shells hung on strings. Oxymoron – Two words that together create a sense of opposition. Oxymorons often call attention to a particular point in an argument. The mariner’s cultivated vulgarity was alarming to sailors more comfortable with the bubbly heaviness of their captain. Paradox – A major figure of speech in rhetorical analysis that seeks to create mental discontinuity, which then forces the reader to pause and seek some clarity. A paradox is a truth or a group of sentences that defy our intuition. Be careful how you pace yourself – by walking too quickly you get there more slowly, or My silent love grows louder and louder with each passing moment. Parallel Syntax (or parallelism) – A pattern of language that creates a rhythm of repetition often combined with some other language of repetition. Parallel sets of sentences or parallel clauses can exist within a sentence. This is a significant element in a syntactical analysis. The College Board loves to ask about parallel syntax and, as its use is a sign of strong, effective writing, you should write this way as well. Parallel syntax may best be likened to a train gaining momentum: It drives though a piece of nonfiction prose, gathering emotion steam as it goes. We will fight them on the beaches, and fight them in the hills, and fight them in the forests, and in the villages of the dell. One famous speech filled with parallel syntax is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream.” Pick a line and it is likely parallel. Parentheticals – Phrases, sentences, and words inside parentheses (). In rhetorical analysis, pay attention to parenthetical statements. Two questions should arise when you see a parenthetical: Why are these words inside parentheses? and Are there other parentheticals that together make a pattern in the essay? They aren’t a big deal, but sometimes they merit a paragraph of analysis. The Big Bopper (J.P. to his friends) rolled into Chantilly Lace and all the girls went wild. Participle – A verbal (expressing action or state of being) that is used as an adjective and most often ends in –ing or –ed. Participles function as adjectives, modifying nouns or pronouns. Creating a ruckus (participle = noun = subject) confused the robber and led to an escape. Creating a ruckus (participle = adjective), the hero made the really bad guys turn away from the hidden treasure. Passive Voice – The opposite of active voice; in the passive voice something happens to someone. Mordred was bitten by the dog, rather than The dog bit Mordred. Pathos – An appeal to emotion. This is one of the fundamental strategies of argumentation identified by Aristotle. Typically, pathos arguments may use loaded words to make you feel guilty, lonely, worried, insecure, or confused. The easiest way to remember what pathos arguments are is to see most advertising as a form of pathos argument. Periodic Sentence – A sentence with several dependent clauses that precede the independent clause. An easy way to remember this is to think of the independent clause as appearing immediately before the period (periodic sentence). While watching the cave and wondering why the rain had not stopped, nor even abated, the hero filed his fingernails and waited. Personification – Giving human attributes to nonhuman things. Although the use of personification in an argument makes something in the issue seem more approachable or potentially agreeable, you will not find to many examples of it in nonfiction prose. The rain grumbled all night as rain slapped the windows. Phrase – A grouping of words that define or clarify. The syntactical definition of “phrase” is a group of words that is not a sentence because there is no verb. There are many different forms, but the most common is the prepositional phrase. The monster jumped into the swamp. Point of View – The perspective from which the writer chooses to present his or her story (fiction) or essay (nonfiction). This is a fundamental part of any writing. The first element of point of view is the normal fictional element of writing in the first, second, or third person (omniscient or limited), which refers to the person telling the story. The second element of point of view dealing with nonfiction refers to the writer’s attitude. Is he or she obsessive, neutral, dogmatic, and so forth? What is the nature of the persona who has composed the essay? You will usually have a pretty good sense of this unless the passage contains a shift in point of view. The author may deliberately alter his or her attitude toward the subject in order to give you a different perspective or to convey a better sense of balance toward the topic. You should be alert in your analysis of both multiplechoice passages and essay passages fro shifts in point of view. They are always significant. Poisoning the Well – A person or character is introduced with language that suggests that he is not at all reliable before the listener/reader knows anything about him. The next speaker, an alcoholic wife-abuser, will seek to sway us to his view that the Fleur de Lis should become our state flower. Polysyndeton – The use of consecutive coordinating conjunctions even when they are not needed. The effect is to render the reader somewhat breathless. He was overwhelmed, as if by a tsunami, and by the fishes, and by the seaweed, and by the salt spray from the heavens. Predicate – The formal term for the verb that conveys the meaning or carries the action of the sentence. The fair maiden awakened from a deep sleep to find an ogre at her bedside. Predicate Adjective – An adjective that follows a linking verb and modifies the subject of the sentence. A gigantic whirlpool was inky black, and there was no moon. Predicate Nominative – A noun or pronoun that uses a linking verb to unite, or rename the noun in the subject of the sentence. The silly dwarf is a squirrel. Premise – Another word for a claim. A premise is a statement of truth, at least to the person making the argument. Premises come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. They can be limited and absolute – two parallel lines will remain equidistant forever – or they can be vague and open-ended – China’s trade policy with the United States is unfair. Every argument has a premise, and most of what you read on the Language AP test is argumentative, so get used to the word and become comfortable identifying claims and deciding whether you agree, disagree, or are waiting to make up your mind. Prompt – In essay questions, prompt has two definitions: the correct one and the common one. The correct one is that the prompt is the paragraph or language that defines the essay task. It does not include the passage itself. The common definition of prompt is one you will hear teachers and consultants use to refer to any and all parts of an essay question. Pun – A play on words. In an argument, a pun usually calls humorous attention to a particular point. He kept waving at the princess. He was a devoted fan. Red Herring – An argument that distracts the reader by raising issues irrelevant to the case. It is like being given too many suspects in a murder mystery. Repetition – A fundamental form or rhetorical stress that calls the reader’s attention to a particular word, phrase, or image for the emphasis of meaning. Repetition is a basic part of all rhetorical analysis. It also reinforces the power of parallel syntax. She certainly was beautiful, the way a cow is beautiful standing in the beautiful radiance of a moonlight night. Rhetorical Question – A question whose answer is assumed, a rhetorical question is designed to force the reader to respond in a predetermined manner and is a significant tool in the study of rhetoric. One of the most basic purposes for rhetorical questions is cheerleading. Rhetorical questions, therefore, propel an argument emotionally. They often look like extensions of a logical argument, but more often than not, they are setting you up to agree with the writer. As with parallel syntax, rhetorical questions are excellent devices to use in the development of your own essay writing. As graders, we notice when you use them-if you use them to effectively nurture your argument. There are other types of rhetorical questions, but they always follow the same basic pattern: the writer asks herself something and then answers the question in the next sentence or paragraph. Another form is when the question functions as an ironic assault on the writer’s adversaries. This kind of rhetorical question can have many uses, and you should notice its function whenever you encounter one in nonfiction prose. Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Who’s afraid of the Jolly Green Giant? Are we? No!!! Rhetorical Shift – This occurs when the author of an essay significantly alters his or her diction, syntax, or both. It isn’t exactly a different writer who is writing, but it feels awfully close to it. Rhetorical shifts are important to recognize because they are dramatic and usually occur at critical points in an argument. Simile – A crucial figure of speech in an argument when what is unknown is compared to something that is known using the word “like,” “as,” or “than” in order to better perceive its importance. Remember the ripple effect and look for patterns in similes and metaphors in any piece of nonfiction prose. The troll’s fishing technique was like a mercenary throwing bombs in the water to catch a trout. Simple Sentence – An independent clause. It has a subject and a verb, and that’s pretty much it. The giant chopped down the bean tree. Slippery Slope (Also called the Domino Theory) – this fallacy of argumentation argues that one thing inevitably leads to another. Politicians love to use it as a form of exaggeration. We cannot allow insurgents into the borders towns or they will control the entire country by next winter. Stem – In the multiple-choice section, this is the question you are asked to complete with the given possible answers. Which of the following best describes Cyberus’s attitude toward the avengers. Straw Man – This occurs when a person engaging in an argument defines his opponent’s position when the opponent is not present and defines it a manner that is easy to attack. It is a fairly easy fallacy to spot and recognizing it has been helpful with rhetorical analysis questions in the past. Politicians use it frequently: My opponent believes that issuing parking tickets to firsttime DUI offenders will reduce the damage they do to our city and our citizens. Subject – The formal term for the noun that is the basic focus of the sentence. It is who or what is doing the action in the sentence. An anxious gryphon got lost in the queen’s maze. Subordinate Conjunction – A conjunction that makes an independent clause into a dependent clause. There is a huge list of subordinate conjunctions, but some of the more common are: because, since, which, if, when, and although. Syllogism – In its basic from, this is a three-part argument construction in which two premises lead to a truth. The term has appeared in the multiple-choice section a few times, but it is also helpful if you can both spot and use a syllogistic argument. In its simplest form, a syllogism looks like this: All human beings are mortal. Heather is a human being. Therefore, Heather is mortal. You can also produce really odd ones that are incorrect. All crows are black. The bird in my backyard is black. The bird in my backyard is a crow. This is a false argument because an implies premise-all blackbirds are crows-is false, and thus the logic falls apart. Another is: Some televisions are black and white. All penguins are black and white. Some televisions are penguins. There is both misinformation here and false implied premises. Also, despite these simple examples, a syllogistic argument can be set up in three paragraphs: An essential truth is defended. An essential truth is defended. A conclusion is drawn. Synecdoche – A minor figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole, synecdoche shows up occasionally in multiple-choice questions. Our favorite is All hands on deck. (One assumes the rest of the sailors’ bodies will follow . . .) Syntax – The study of the rules of grammar that define the formation of sentences. Syntax is critical to the analysis of all the passages on the AP English Language test. Synthesis – To unite or synthesize a variety of sources to achieve a common end. We use this term almost exclusively to refer to the new synthesis question on the exam. Using your wits and argumentative skill, you combine memory, commentary you’ve recently read, and a discussion to create a single coherent argument. For example, you may argue and conclude that bicycles would be safer in battle than a Hummer. Theme – Theme is the basic message or meaning conveyed through elements of character and conflict. The term appears often in literature and is paralleled in nonfiction prose be an argument’s thesis. Thesis – The writer’s statement of purpose. Every well-written essay will have one. It is how the reader identifies what the writer is arguing, the position the writer is taking, the action the writer is advocating. Essentially, it is the focal intent of the essay. Tricolon – A sentence with three equally distinct and equally long parts (separated by commas rather than colons, despite the name). Such sentences are dramatic and often memorable, but they are used infrequently. The most famous is I came, I saw, I conquered. Another might be The dragon wept, the cow bellowed, and the sheep fleeced. Understatement – This creates exaggeration by showing restraint. It is the opposite of hyperbole. The knight said the giant, “Please hand me the barrel of ale if it’s not too heavy for you.” Zeugma – A minor device in which two or more elements in a sentence are tied together by the same verb or noun. Zeugmas are especially acute if the noun or verb does not have the exact same meaning in both parts of the sentence. She dashed his hopes and out of his life when she walked through the door.