Literary Terms

Literary Terms
These terms commonly
appear in the narrative
reading section of the
Alliteration: the repetition of an
initial consonant sound
Example: Rabbits Running over Roses
Irony: when the result of something is opposite to
what the reader expects
Example: “Trusting no man as his friend, he could not
recognize his enemy when the latter actually
Hyperbole: To exaggerate something for an effect
Simile: a comparison between two things,
using like or as, to show or suggest that they
are similar
Examples: The little boy is as light as a feather.
Your eyes sparkle like diamonds.
a comparison between two
things to show or suggest that they are
Examples: She is a shining star. Johnny is a
Foreshadowing: giving clues to the reader about
what is going to happen
Examples: "put off your journey until sunrise and sleep
in your own bed to-night“…”The sun is setting, and
Faith's worries create a mood of apprehension. “
Understatement: a statement that makes
something seem smaller or less important than
it really is
Example: You've just
finished the hardest
workout of your entire life,
you're moments away
from dropping dead from
exhaustion, and a friend
comes by and sees you
sweaty, huffing and
puffing, and says, "Tired?"
and you answer, "Just a
Theme: the central idea of a story; the
message or main point the author wants
to get across
Satire: making fun of something or
someone with humor or sarcasm
Examples: “Saturday Night Live,” “South Park”
Tone: the emotional attitude or feeling of an
entire work
Examples: playful, serious, funny
Allusion: a reference to a commonly known
person, place, event, or piece of literature
Example: Taylor Swift’s song, “Love Story”…
…That you were Romeo
You were throwing pebbles
And my daddy said, "Stay away
from Juliet"
And I was crying on the staircase
Begging you, "Please don't go"
Symbolism: something that stands for
something else or suggests an idea
Examples: A heart symbolizes love.
Onomatopoeia: the creation of words
that imitate natural sounds; words that look
how they sound
Examples: bang, boom, splat
Oxymoron: a combination of words that have
opposite or very different meanings
Examples: No-Smoking sign in an ashtray; Jumbo
Personification: giving human qualities to
nonhuman objects
Example: “…the moon gazed”