A Vocabulary of Terms Flashcards

Terms Definitions
imperative sentence
a command
asyndeton
the deliberate omission of conjunctions from a series of related independent clauses
polysyndeton
the use of consecutive coordinating conjunctions even when they are not needed
personification
giving human attributes to non-human things
understatement
this creates exaggeration by showing restraint; it is the opposite of hyperbole
Connotation
The association or moods that accompany a word.
stem
In the multiple-choice section, this is the question you are asked to complete with the given possible answers.
chiasmus
this is an ABBA syntactical structure rather than the more common parallel ABAB structure
theme
the basic message or meaning conveyed through elements of character and conflict; appears often in literature and is paralleled in nonfiction prose by an argument's thesis
object
a noun toward which thought, feeling, or action is directed
juxtaposition
making one idea more dramatic by placing it next to its opposite
appositive
also called a noun phrase, this modifies the noun next to it
prompt
in essay questions, this has two definitions: the correct one and the common one; the correct one is that this is the paragraph or language that defines the essay task (doesn't include the passage itself); the common definition of this is one you will hear teachers and consultants use to refer to any and all parts of an essay question
deductive
a form of logical argumentation that uses claims or premises, where the author assumes that you will accept the claims as true and that you will then deduce the correct conclusion from the accepted premises at the outset
false analogy
an argument using an inappropriate metaphor
Bandwagon
Also called VOX POPULI. This argument is the "everyone's doing it" fallacy.
Analogy
A term that signifies a relational comparison of or similarity between two objects or ideas.
epanalepsis
Like chiasmus, this figure repeats the opening word or phrase at the end of the sentence to emphasize a statement or idea, but it is not an ABBA reversal.
"The demon descended in a crowd toward a village now afraid of the demon."
"Common sense is not so common."
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.
"While watching the cave and wondering why the rain had not stopped, nor even abated, the hero filed his fingernails and waited."
slippery slope
This fallacy of argumentation argues that one thing inevitably leads to another. Politicians love to use it as a form of exaggeration.
passive voice
The opposite of active voice. Something happens to someone.
"Mordred was bitten by the dog."
ethos
One of the fundamental strategies of argumentation identified by Aristotle. It is basically an appeal to credibility. The writer is seeking to convince you that he or she has the background, history, skills, and/or expertise to speak on the issue. Whenever you encounter this type of argument, always ask yourself if the credibility is substantiated and valid. An essay advocating policy changes on drug rehabilitation programs is more powerful if the person is a former addict or counselor in a current rehab program.
tricolon
A sentence with three equally distant and equally long parts (separated by commas). Such sentences are dramatic and often memorable, but they are used infrequently.
"I came, I saw, I conquered."
inductive
A form of logical argumentation that requires the use of examples. They are most like science: You get example after example until you reach a conclusion. These types of arguments are fairly easy to spot and very common to argumentative essays. When you encounter one of these, ask yourself two questions: Are there enough examples, and are the examples relevant to the question being addressed?
"A writer who argues for the success of a particular diet plan would use testimony from success stories, a scientific study proving its effectiveness, and a few doctors who claim it has safe and natural ingredients."
apostrophe
Prayer-like, this is a direct address to someone who is not present, to a deity or muse, or to some other power. It rarely appears on the Language exam, but when it does, it is usually significant and nearly always pathos.
"O eloquent, just, and mighty Death!"
oxymoron
two words that together create a sense of opposition
infinitive
the word "to" plus a verb, usually functioning as a noun, and often as a predicate in a sentence
simple sentence
an independent clause; has a subject and a verb, and that's pretty much it
complex sentence
a sentence structure that is a combination of a dependent clause and an independent clause
aphorism
a brief statement of an opinion or elemental truth
loose sentence
an independent clause followed by all sorts of debris, usually dependent clauses
non sequitur
this literally means "it does not follow"; this is an argument by misdirection and is logically irrelevant
logos
an appeal to reason; one of the fundamental strategies of argumentation identified by Aristotle
synthesis
to unite or synthesize a variety of sources to achieve a common end
alliteration
the repetition of a phonetic sound at the beginning of several words in a sentence
paradox
a major figure of speech in rhetorical analysis that seeks to create a mental discontinuity, which then forces the reader to pause and seek clarity
syllogism
in its basic form, this is a three-part argument construction in which two premises lead to a truth
Active Voice
The opposite of passive voice, the active voice is essentially any sentence with an active verb.
Anastrophe
The reversal of the natural order of words in a sentence or line of poetry.
Antithesis
An observation or claim that is in opposition to your claim or the author's claim.
predicate
The formal term for the verb that conveys the meaning or carries the action of the sentence.
irony
The use of words to express something other than and often the opposite of the literal meaning. There are three types of ____ : verbal ____ , a contrast between what is said and what is meant (sarcasm); situational ____ , a contrast between what happens and what was expected; and dramatic ____ , a contrast between what the character thinks to be true and what the reader knows to be true. Familiarity with this is absolutely essential in reading nonfiction prose and especially in doing rheotorical analysis on the exam, as it appears in nearly every piece in one form or another. It is often connected to satire or satiric speech.
"He bought the ring and brought it back to their apartment. She had left a note, 'Gone to find myself in North Dakota.' "
An example on the linguistic level uses a metaphor:
"Your love is a fine cloth - a rag, actually, deteriorating as the elements take their toll."
cause and effect
Another fallacy, this argument falls under the general umbrella of a causality fallacy or false cause.
"It seems that every time you turn on the game on TV, the team loses. Therefore, you are the cause of the losses."
syntax
the study of the rules of grammar that define the formation of sentences
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
onomatopoeia
a minor figure of speech in which a sound imitates the thing or action associated with it
metonymy
a minor figure of speech in which the name of one thing is substituted for another with which it is closely associated
gerund
a verb ending in "ing" that serves as a noun
declarative sentence
a basic statement or an assertion; the most common type of sentence
compound sentence
a sentence structure made up of two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction
Begging the Question
This argument occurs when the speaker states a claim that includes a word or phrase that needs to be defined before the argument can proceed.
Compound-Complex Sentence
A combination of a compound and a complex sentence.
etymology
The study of the origin of words and their historical uses. This is a minor term and rarely appears on the test, but it is nice to know.
subject
The formal term for the noun that is the basic focus of the sentence. It is who or what is doing the action.
euphemism
To use a safer or nicer word for something others find inapproprate or unappealing. It generally appears only in the multiple-choice section. The English language offers many of these for death and bodily functions, such as "Bambi's mother now grazes in the pastures of forever" to mean died, or "After a long night of partying, the young man spent the morning repenting at the altar of the porcelain god" to mean vomiting.
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 in 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.
rhetorical question
A question whose answer is assumed, it is designed to force the reader to respond in a predetermined manner and is a significant tool in the study of rhetoric. One of its most basic purposes is cheerleading. They 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, they 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.
parallel syntax
A pattern of language that creates a rhythm of repetition often combined with some other language of repetition. This is a significant element in syntactical analysis. The College Board loves to ask you about it and, as its use is a sign of strong, effective writing, you should write this way as well. It may best be likened to a train gaining momentum: it drives through a piece of nonfiction prose, gathering emotional steam as it goes.
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. They are important to recognize because they are dramatic and usually occur at critical points in an argument.
pathos
An appeal to emotion. This is one of the fundamental strategies of argumentation identified by Aristotle. Typically, it may use loaded words to make you feel guilty, lonely, worried, insecure, or confused. The easiest way to remember what they are is to see most advertising as a form of it.
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.
"He is the very pineapple of politeness."
dependent clause
this clause contains a noun and a verb but is set up with a subordinate conjunction, which makes the clause an incomplete thought
independent clause
A clause that can stand alone as a sentence. It must have a noun and a verb.
predicate nominative
A noun or pronoun that uses a linking verb to unite, describe, or rename the noun in the subject of the sentence.
"The silly dwarf is a squirrel."
interrogative sentence
a question
fallacy
a failure of logical reasoning
repetition
a fundamental form of rhetorical stress that calls the reader's attention to a particular word, phrase, or image for emphasis of meaning
hyperbole
an exaggeration, fairly common in nonfiction prose arguments, that bolsters an argument
denotation
the opposite of connotation; quite literally the dictionary meaning of a word
parentheticals
phrases, sentences, and words inside parentheses ( )
Allusion
A reference that recalls another work.
thesis
The writer's statement of purpose. Every well-written essay will have one. It is the focal intent of the essay.
subordinate conjunction
a conjunction that makes an independent clause into a dependent clause
jargon
a pattern of speech and vocabulary associated with a particular group of people
anadiplosis
a wonderful technique of repetition in which the last word of the clause begins the next clause, creating a connection of ideas important to the author's purpose in some way
ellipsis
three dots that indicate words have been left out of a quotation; they also can be used to create suspense
dialect
a regional speech pattern; the way people talk in different parts of the world
anaphora
In rhetoric, this is the deliberate repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several successive poetic lines, prose sentences, clauses, or paragraphs. You will see this quite often in political speeches, when politicians make promises to voters:
"I will fight for medical care for every man, woman, and child. I will fight for social security for our children. I will fight to raise the minimum wage."
imagery
any time one of the five senses (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory) is evoked by what you have read, you have encountered this
red herring
an argument that distracts the reader by raising issues irrelevant to the case
premise
another word for a claim; a statement of truth, at least to the person making the argument
predicate adjective
an adjective that follows a linking verb and modifies the subject of the sentence
participle
a verbal (expressing action or a state of being) that is used as an adjective and most often ends in -ing or -ed
phrase
a grouping of words that define or clarity; a group of words that is not a sentence because there is no verb
distractor
a possible answer that seems to be correct, but is either wrong or is not as good as other answers
diction
the particular words an author uses in an essay
false dilemma
also known as an either/or fallacy; the suggestion is made in the argument that the problem or debate only has two solutions; can also be called the fallacy of the excluded middle
zeugma
a minor device in which two or more elements in a sentence are tied together by the same verb or noun; these are especially acute if the noun or verb does not have the exact same meaning in both parts of the sentence
ad hominem
an attack on the person rather than the issues at hand (a common fallacy)
pun
a play on words; in an argument, this usually calls humorous attention to a particular point
point of view
the perspective from which the writer chooses to present his or her story (fiction) or essay (nonfiction)
synecdoche
a minor figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole
metaphor
a figure of speech in which what is unknown is compared to something that is known in order to better gauge its importance
epistrophe
a minor device, this is the ending of a series of lines, phrases, clauses, or sentences with the same word or words
Argument from Ignorance
An argument stating that something is true because it has ever been proven false.
slippery slope (also called domino theory)
this fallacy of argumentation argues that one thing inevitably leads to another
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