AP English Literature Vocabulary Rhetorical Terms 1. antagonist

AP English Literature Rhetorical Terms Vocabulary 1. antagonist - The character who opposes the interests of the protagonist.
Ex: In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien creates Lord Sauron as the antagonist to
2. antanaclasis - Repetition of a word in two different senses.
Ex: If we do not hang together, we will hang separately.
3. anticipated objection - The technique a writer or speaker uses in an
argumentative text to address and answer objections, even though the audience
has not had the opportunity to voice these objections.
Ex: "You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and
air…You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory." (Winston
4. antimetabole - The repetition of words in successive clauses in reverse
grammatical order.
Ex: One should eat to live, not live to eat.
5. apologist - A person or character who makes a case for some controversial, even
contentious, position.
Ex: In Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, Romeo makes a case for
marrying Juliet, despite the controversy over the issue.
6. apology - An elaborate statement justifying some controversial, even contentious,
Ex: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal.'" (Martin Luther King Jr.)
7. apostrophe - The direct address of an absent person or personified object as if
he/she/it is able to reply.
Ex: "O' Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" (William Shakespeare)
8. appeal to authority - In a text, the reference to words, action, or beliefs of a
person in authority as a means of supporting a claim, generalization, or
Ex: Isaac Newton was a genius and he believed in God. Therefore, God must
9. appeal to emotion - The appeal of a text to the feelings or interests of the
Ex: If you don't graduate from high school, you will always be poor.
10. argument by analysis - An argument developed by breaking the subject matter
into its component parts.
Ex: The Virginians failed miserably at initial colonization and suffered through
disease, war, and famine because of their high expectations and greed, which also
molded their colony socially and economically.
AP English Literature Rhetorical Terms Vocabulary 11. asyndeton - The omission of conjunctions between related clauses.
Ex: "This is the villain among you who deceived you, who cheated you, who
meant to betray you completely." (Aristotle)
12. basic topic - One of the four perspectives that Aristotle explained could be used
to generate material about any subject matter: greater or less, possible and
impossible, past fact, and future fact.
Ex: Topics include justice, peace, rights, and movie theaters.
13. brain-storming - Within the planning act of the writing process, a technique used
by a writer or speaker to generate many ideas, some of which he or she will later
Ex: I brainstorm before history essays by writing down as many specific Exs as I
can think of for the prompt.
14. cloze test - A test of reading ability that requires a person to fill in missing words
in a text.
Ex: The SAT's language portion contains questions modeled in this way.
15. common topic - One of the perspectives, derived from Aristotle's topics, used to
generate material. The six common topics are definition, division, comparison,
relation, circumstances, and testimony.
Ex: Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson's political opinions can be the
subject of a common topic, such as division.
16. compound subject - A sentence in which two or more nouns, noun phrases, or
noun clauses constitute the grammatical subject of a clause
Ex: The dog and the cat scurried away from the approaching car.
17. confirmation - In ancient Roman oratory, the part of a speech in which the
speaker or writer could offer proof or demonstration of the central idea.
Ex: In Julius Caesar's speech, the confirmation was scattered throughout.
18. conflict - The struggle of characters with themselves, with others, or with the
world around them.
Ex: In The Grapes of Wrath, migrants conflict with property owners.
19. connotation - The implied meaning of a word, in contrast to its directly expressed
"dictionary meaning."
Ex: Home literally means one's house, but implies feelings of family and security.
20. consulting - Seeking help for one's writing from a reader.
Ex: I often consult my parents.
21. dramatistic pentad - The invention strategy, developed by Kenneth Burke, that
invites a speaker or writer to create identities for the act, agent, agency, attitude,
scene, and purpose in a situation.
AP English Literature Rhetorical Terms Vocabulary 22. effect - The emotional or psychological impact a text has on a reader or listener.
Ex: The Grapes Of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, causes the reader to have sympathy
for migrant workers.
23. ellipsis - The omission of words, the meaning of which is provided by the overall
context of a passage.
Ex: "Medical thinking . . . stressed air as the communicator of disease, ignoring
sanitation or visible carriers" (Tuchman).
24. epanalepsis - Repetition at the end of a clause of the word that occurred at the
beginning of the clause.
Ex: Blood hath brought blood.
25. epithet - A word of phrase adding a characteristic to a person's name.
Ex: Alexander the Great.
26. figurative language - Language dominated by the use of schemes and tropes.
Ex: "The ground is thirsty and hungry."
27. flashback - A part of the plot that moves back in time and then returns to the
Ex: In Oedipus Rex, both Oedipus and Iocaste recall previous events.
28. generalization - A point that a speaker or writer generations on the basis of
considering a number of particular examples.
Ex: "All French people are rude."
29. genre - A piece of writing classified by type.
Ex: Science Fiction.
30. investigating - Activities that writers use, during the writing process, to locate
ideas and information.
Ex: For my research paper, I have investigated many sources in the library and
31. irony - Writing or speaking that implies the contrary of what is actually written or
Ex 1: "Of course I believe you," Joe said sarcastically.
Ex 2: "I can't describe to you how surprised I was to find out I loved her…I even
hoped for a while that she'd throw me over" (Fitzgerald 157).
32. narration - In ancient Roman oratory, the part of a speech in which the speaker
provided background information on the topic.
Ex: Julius Caesar used narration in many of his speeches.
33. pace - The speed with which a plot moves from one event to another.
Example: In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck paces the story somewhat
slowly, interspersing it with main-idea chapters.
AP English Literature Rhetorical Terms Vocabulary 34. parallelism - A set of similarly structured words, phrases, or clauses that appears
in a sentence or paragraph.
Ex 1: The dog ran, stumbled, and fell.
Ex 2: "After two years I remember the rest of that day, and that night and the next
day…" (Fitzgerald 17).
35. parenthesis - An insertion of material that interrupts the typical flow of a
Ex: The dog (which was black) ran, stumbled, and fell.
36. people's topics - The English translation of konnoi topoi, the four topics that
Aristotle explained could be used to generate material about any subject matter;
also called basic topics.
Ex: Topics include justice, peace, rights, and movie theaters.
37. periodic sentence - A sentence with modifying elements included before the verb
and/or complement.
Ex: "John, the tough one, the sullen kid who scoffed at any show of sentiment,
gave his mother flowers."
38. scheme - An artful variation from typical formation and arrangement of words or
Ex: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.