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47 Cards in this Set

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Alliteration
Heavy use of a given letter or sound at the beginnings of closely connected words. (Scheme)

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country."
Anacoluthon
An abrupt shift in syntactical structure so that a sentence does not run to the end as a syntactical whole. (Scheme)

Normally a device to express extreme emotion.
Anadiplosis
Starting a clause with the last word of the preceding clause. (Scheme)

"The tyrant falls before the oligarch, the oligarch is swept aside by democracy, democracy brings liberty, liberty brings license, license brings anarchy, and anarchy invites the tyrant."
Anaphora
Starting a sequence of clauses with the same word or the same phase. (Scheme)

Anaphora sets up a powerful rhythmic structure...is effective and deeply moving...should be used but only when it's your business to stir emotions.
Anastrophe
Inversion of the normal word order. (Scheme)

If you need to highlight a word, you should contrive to place it at the head or the tail of the sentence.
Antimetabole
In simple inversion the sense remains unchanged—"John shouts, 'Baloney!'" and "'Baloney' shouts John" are identical statements—whereas in antimetabole the words undergo not only a shift in position but a change in syntax. (Scheme)

"I do not live to eat, but eat to live."
Apposition
Placing words near other words by way of description, explanation, or amplification. (Scheme)
Assonance
Repetition of a vowel sound in the stressed symbols of neighboring words. (Scheme)

"WhatEver we had missed, we possEssed together the prEcious, the incommunicable past." ~Willa Cather
Asyndeton
Listing coordinate elements without using conjunctions. (Scheme)

Veni, vidi, vici.
Game, set, match!
Chiasmus
A form of parallelism in which the second element has its main parts inverted. (Scheme)

(1) Take two statements of similar structure. (2) Make it a single statement with a compound predicate. (3) Reverse the second element and you have your chiasm.

(1) I was born in this place. I am a native among these manners here.
(2) I am native here and born to the manner.
(3) I am native here and to the manner born. (Chiasm)

Chiasmus is common; not common is the writer who knows its name.
Climax
Arranging words, phrases, clauses, or whole sentences so that they proceed from the least important to the most important, whether in logic, eloquence, passion, or whatever. (Scheme)

"...and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
Ellipsis
Omission of word or phrase clearly implied in the context. (Scheme)

Ellipsis is extremely common; sentence fragments, the norm of untutored speech, can be understood—charitably—as formal ellipsis. The distinction is that stupor and sloth produce the fragment; but art and effort the ellipsis.
Epanalepsis
Starting and ending a clause with the same word. (Scheme)

Bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.
Epistrophe
Using the same word or phrase at the end of successive clauses. (Scheme)
Hyperbaton
Inversion of the normal word order. (Scheme)
Isocolon
A subspecies of parallelism, in which the parallel phrases are identical in the lengths of the words used. (Scheme)

"...government of the people, for the people, by the people."
Parallelism
The statement of syntactically equivalent things in grammatically equivalent form. (Scheme)

Parallelism is one of the chief building blocks of sentences.
Parenthesis
Interruption of the basic syntax in order to supply additional or even irrelevant material. (Scheme)

Parenthesis, syntactically, is on its own, a free agent, disconnected from the rest of the sentence and independent of it.
Polyptoton
Repetition of a word-root in varied forms, as, to think the unthinkable... (Scheme)
Polysyndeton
The opposite of asyndeton, this figure indulges in conjunctions galore. (Scheme)

Polysyndeton with its repeated connectives tends to impart a stately movement.
Allegory
Any extended metaphor. (Trope)
Anthimeria
Use of a word that is normally one part of speech in a situation that requires it to be understood as a different part of speech. (Trope)

"In English, and this is one of its greatest virtues, any noun can be verbed."
Antonomasia
Substitution of a title, class-name, or epithet for a proper name, or vice versa--"the brass" for General So-and-So, or "Horowitz" for pianist. (Trope)

"More innocent that periphrasis, which see."
Apostrophe
Addressing an absent person or a personified abstraction. (Trope)
Auxesis
Puffing something up by calling it a seriouser name than it deserves. (Trope)

"Puff something up until it explodes in your face and you have hyperbole, which see."
Erotema
A "rhetorical question," asked not to elicit a reply but to suggest or assert something. (Trope)
Hyperbole
Exaggeration, usually exaggerated, to produce certain effects. (Trope)

"Hyperbole seems a ready breeding ground for advertising men and political adventurers--reason enough, right there, to avoid it pretty consistently. Nay, squash it with your foot and throw it to the wolves."
Irony
Using a word to express the opposite of its literal meaning; disapproval masking as praise. (Trope)
Litotes
Affirming something by negating its opposite. He's no slouch; she wasn't born yesterday; this is no laughing matter. Litotes is a form of understatement, characterized by the negative statement. (Trope)
Meiosis
Understatement pure and simple.
Metaphor
Departing from literal meaning in order to suggest a likeness. (Trope)

"He was a pig at the table; Liszt could make the piano thunder; Justice is blind; she is an angel."

Almost all words are metaphorical in themselves, thanks to their derivation from concrete terms; which is the say that metaphor is THE fundamental spirit of language and communication...So the first place to start in sprucing up your writing style is metaphor: think metaphor, write metaphor, live it.
Metonymy
Naming a thing by naming an attribute or accompaniment of it. (Trope)

"Town & gown, the distaff side, bottle baby, flattop, Ivy League, silver screen, mailed fist, sawbones, shrink."
Onomatopoeia
A word whose pronunciation mimics the sound of the thing named. (Trope)

"Buzz, murmur, babble, swish, gobbledygook, lallapalooza."

There is great freedom of invention in this figure. You can screech and howl to your heart's content.
Oxymoron
Union of syntax in terms that clash in logic--a warring union, a jointed disjunction, a reasoned madness, a lovely nuisance, a sober senator. Milton's "darkness visible" is among the most illustrious instances of this fine and startling figure. (Trope)
Parable
A story, which may or may not be true, told to point up a moral; differs from allegory, which is understood to be fanciful (but not frivolous; it too, teaches). Perhaps the headwaters of this pleasing figure are the parables of Jesus and the fables of Aesop.
Paradox
Like oxymoron, parables involves the collision contradictory items, but this time not individual words but whole phrases, clauses, concepts. Because the order of the words is not important, paradox is not a Scheme; and yet it is a figure; and so by eliminating all other choices we may call it a Trope, though none too proudly.

"A man never stands so tall as when he bends down to help a child."
Paralipsis
A form of irony in which one gets one's message across by suggesting the outlines of the message that one is struggling to suppress. (Trope)

"We are not going to say that paralipsis is a form of cowardice, no, nor that it is a form of deception. On that matter our lips are sealed. Nor is it incumbent upon us to mention that paralipsis is the habitual refuge of the courtroom mechanic, who abuses it to suggest to the jury what he can very well deny to the judge ever having said. Nor will we..."
Paronomasia
A play on words that sound the same but are spelt differently. (Trope)

"A pun. Don't."
Periphrasis
A roundabout way of talking. (Trope)

Differs from antonomasia in that periphrasis is the camouflage of him who sets out to deceive or befuddle or smudge.

Revolution? Nothing of the kind, sir. A few of the boys gathered at Boston Harbor the other evening and had a tea party, in some quantity, for they are lads of high humor, you know sir, and..."
Personification
Attributing human qualities or abilities to objects or abstractions. (Trope)

"The gardens prayed for rain; the birds sought solace in the shadows; the proud cat lorded it over the barn; Congress governed."
Prosopopoeia
Representing the speech or action of an imaginary or absent person. (Trope)
Pun
A play on words. (Trope)

There are three types:
antanaclasis
syllepsis
paronomasia (don't)
Rhetorical Question
Erotema. (Trope)

"Is this not a wild goose chase?"
Simile
Saying that one thing is like another (whereas metaphor says one thing actually is another). (Trope)
Syllepsis
Use of one word in relation to two or more other words with the result that it changes its meaning in each instance. (Trope)

"Those heads, as stomachs, are not sure the best,
Which nauseate all, and nothing can digest."
Synecdoche
Letting a part stand for the whole. (Trope)

"Flesh and bone for body and person, gold for money or riches, tongue for speech."
Zeugma
One term syntactically governing two or more others, with grammatical or logical relation to only one of them. (Trope)

Leading to such sticky wickets as, "the authority and protection which a parent exercises..."

When there is no flaw, but the one word must undergo a slight shift in meaning in order to make sense, there is an opportunity for wit, as when the debauched secretary of the Navy, Lord Sandwich, said to the rectitudinous reformer John Wilkes, "You will die on the gallows or of the pox," and Wilkes replies, "That depends, my lord, on whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."