The Study Guide to Literary Devices
Alliteration- The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. Allusion- An expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference. Anapest – A metrical foot consisting of two short or unstressed syllables followed by one long or stressed syllable. Antithesis- A person or thing that is the direct opposite of someone or something else. Apostrophe- A punctuation mark used to indicate either possession.
Assonance- The repetition of the sound of a vowel or diphthong in nonrhyming stressed syllables Caesura- A break between words within a metrical foot. Consonance- Agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions. Couplet- Two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, forming a unit. Dactyl- A metrical foot consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables or one long syllable. Elision- The omission of a sound or syllable when speaking. Enjambment- The continuation of a syntactic unit from one line of verse into the next line without a pause.
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Epic- A long poem, typically derived from oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of Extrametrical- A tool for prodosic analysis of a word in linguistics. Falling meter- Meter containing metrical feet that move from stressed to unstressed syllables. Foot- Many meters use a foot as the basic unit in their description of the underlying rhythm of a poem. Free verse- Poetry that does not rhyme or have a regular meter. Hyperbole- Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.
Iamb- A metrical foot consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable or a short syllable followed by a long syllable. Irony- The expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect. Meiosis- consists of saying less than one means, or of saying what one means with less force than the occasion warrants. Metaphor- A FIGURE OF SPEECH IN WHICH A WORD OR PHRASE IS APPLIED TO AN OBJECT OR ACTION TO WHICH IT IS NOT LITERALLY APPLICABLE.
Metre- The basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. Metonymy- The substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant. Narrative poem- Poem that has a plot. Poems that make up this genre may be short of long, and the story it relates to may be simple or complex. Octave- A series of eight notes occupying the interval between including two notes, one having twice or half the frequency of vibration of the other. Onomatopoeia- The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named.
Personification- The attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form. Pyrrhic- A metrical foot of two short or unaccented syllables. Rhythm- movement or procedure with uniform or patterned recurrence of a beat, accent, or the like. Rising meter- meter containing metrical feet that move from unstressed to stressed syllables. Sestet- The last six lines of a sonnet Simile- A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid..
Spondee- A foot consisting of two long syllables. Stanza- A group of lines forming the basic recurring metrical unit in a poem. Symbol- A thing that represents or stands for something else, esp. a material object representing something abstract. Synecdoche- A figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa. Tercet- A set or group of three lines of verse rhyming together or connected by rhyme with an adjacent tercet. Tone- The attitude that its style implies. Trochee- A metrical foot of two syllables, one long (or stressed) and one short (or unstressed).