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AP LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION. Rhetorical Terms Review Set 5 Language Devices. Periphrasis. Definition : substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name or of a proper name for a quality associated with the name. Examples : “The big man upstairs hears your prayers.“

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ap language composition

AP LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION

Rhetorical Terms Review

Set 5

Language Devices

periphrasis
Periphrasis

Definition: substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name or of a proper name for a quality associated with the name.

Examples:

  • “The big man upstairs hears your prayers.“
  • “They do not escape Jim Crow; they merely encounter another, not less deadly variety.“ (James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name,)
imagery
Imagery

Definition: lively descriptions which appeal to the five senses.

Example:

  • “The dog stood up and growled like a lion, stiff-standing hackles, teeth uncovered as he lashed up his fury for the charge” (Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God)
  • "When the others went swimming my son said he was going in, too. He pulled his dripping trunks from the line where they had hung all through the shower and wrung them out. Languidly, and with no thought of going in, I watched him, his hard little body, skinny and bare, saw him wince slightly as he pulled up around his vitals the small, soggy, icy garment. As he buckled the swollen belt, suddenly my groin felt the chill of death. (E.B. White, "Once More to the Lake," 1941)
metaphor
Metaphor

Definition: a figure of speech in which one thing is compared to another by being spoken of as though it were that thing

Examples:

  • The question of federal aid to parochial schools is a bramble patch.
  • David was a lion in battle.
oxymoron
Oxymoron

Definition: a figure of speech in which contradictory terms or ideas are combined

Examples:

  • "O brawling love! O loving hate! / O anything of nothing first create! / O heavy lightness, serious vanity! / Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms! / Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!" (Romeo, Act One from Romeo and Juliet)
  • Jumbo shrimp
paralipsis
Paralipsis

Definition: drawing attention to something by pretending to pass over it.

Examples:

  • Mark Antony’s famous Friends, Romans, Countrymen speech – “Let the commons hear this testament,/Which (pardon me) I do not mean to read,/And they would go and kiss dead Caesar’s wounds…/have patience, gentle friends; I must not read it./It is not meet you know how Caesar lov’d you…/Tis good you know not that you are his heirs.”
  • "The music, the service at the feast,The noble gifts for the great and small,The rich adornment of Theseus's palace . . .All these things I do not mention now."(Chaucer, "The Knight's Tale," The Canterbury Tales)
personification
Personification

Definition: a figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstract concept is endowed with human attributes.

Examples:

  • “And indeed there will be time/for the yellow smoke that slides along the street,/Rubbing its back upon the window panes.” (T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock”)
  • “A tree whose hungry mouth is prest/Against the earth’s sweet-flowing breast."(Joyce Kilmer, “Trees”)
simile
Simile

Definition: an explicit comparison of two things, usually with the word “as” or “like”

Examples:

  • He had a posture like a question mark.
  • Like an arrow, the prosecutor went directly to the point.
symbol
Symbol

Definition: a person, place, action, or thing that represents something other than itself.

Examples:

  • The rose bush outside the prison in The Scarlet Letter
  • The conch shell in Lord of the Flies
alliteration
Alliteration

Definition: the repetition of initial or medial consonants in two or more adjacent words

Examples:

  • “A sable, silent, solemn forest stood.” (James Thomson, “The Castle of Indolence”)
  • “Already American vessels had been searched, seized, and sunk.” (JFK, Profiles in Courage)
assonance
Assonance

Definition: the repetition of similar vowel sounds in the stressed syllables of adjacent words.

Examples:

  • “Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore--Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.“ (“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe)“Whales in the wake like capes and Alps.” (from “Ballad of the Long-Legged Bait”, Dylan Thomas)