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  1. AP Exam Identifying Literary Devices

  2. Alliteration • The repetition of initial consonant sounds

  3. “Sweet-scented stuff”

  4. anadiplosis • Repetition of an important word from one phrase or clause (usually the last word) at the start of the next phrase or clause.

  5. “the love of wicked men converts to fear,/That fear to hate, and hate turns one or both/ To worthy danger and deserved death”—Shakespeare, Richard II

  6. anaphora • Repeated use of a word or phrase at the start of successive phrases or sentences for effect; also the use of a pronoun to refer to an antecedent (noun)

  7. “We shall fight on the beaches, We shall fight on the landing grounds, We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, We shall fight in the hills.” • Winston Churchill

  8. “As Caesar loved me, I weep for him. As he was fortunate, I rejoice at it. As he was valiant, I honor him. But as he was ambitious, I slew him.” --Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

  9. anthimeria A type of pun in which one part of speech is substituted for another (in this case a noun for a verb)

  10. “The thunder would not peace at my bidding.” --Shakespeare, King Lear

  11. antithesis The contrasting of ideas by the use of parallel structure in phrases or clauses

  12. “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” ---Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

  13. “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” --Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

  14. aphorism A concise expression of insight or wisdom

  15. “The vanity of others offends our taste only when it offends our vanity.” --Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

  16. apostrophe A direct address to an absent or dead person, or to an object, quality, or idea

  17. “Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness…” --John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn

  18. assonance The repetition of similar vowel sounds in a sequence of nearby words

  19. “All day the wind breathes low with mellower tone.” ---Tennyson “The Lotos-Eaters”

  20. asyndeton The omission of coordinating conjunctions, such as in a series.

  21. “I came, I saw, I conquered.” attributed to Julius Caesar

  22. Antanaclasis A type of pun in which one words is repeated in two different senses

  23. “If we don’t hang together we’ll hang separately.” --Ben Franklin

  24. Bathos A sudden and unexpected drop from the lofty to the trivial or excessively sentimental

  25. “Ye Gods! Annihilate but Space and Time And make two lovers happy.” --Alexander Pope, Martinus Scriblerus on the Art of Sinking in Poetry

  26. Cacophony (dissonance) The clash of discordant or harsh sounds within a sentence or phrase

  27. “Anfractuous rocks” --T.S. Eliot, “Sweeney Erect”

  28. Catalog A list of people or things

  29. “The tropics at first-hand: the trumpet-vine, fox glove, giant snap-dragon, a salpiglossis that has spots and stripes.” --Marianne Moore, “The Steeple-Jack”

  30. chiasmus Two phrases in which the syntax is the same but the placement of words is reversed

  31. “To stop too fearful, and too faint to go.” --Oliver Goldsmith, “The Traveller”

  32. Colliquialism An informal or slang expression, especially in the context of formal writing

  33. “All the other lads there were Were itching to have a bash.” ---Philip Larkin, “Send No Money”

  34. Consonance The repetition of consonants in a sequence of nearby words (“moth breath”), especially at the end of stressed syllables when there is no similar repetition of vowel sounds

  35. “All night your moth breath Flickers among the flat pink roses” --Sylvia Plath, “Morning Song”

  36. Epanalepsis • Repetition at the end of a clause of the word that appeared at the beginning of the clause

  37. “Possessing what we were still unpossessed by Possessed by what we now no more possessed.” --Robert Frost, “The Gift Outright”

  38. Epistrophe The repetition of a word or group of words at the end of successive phrases, clauses, verses, or sentences.

  39. “Of the people, by the people, for the people” --Lincoln, Gettysbury Address

  40. Epithet An adjective or phrase that describes a prominent or distinguishing feature of a person or thing.

  41. “The wine-dark sea” --Homer, The Iliad

  42. Epizeuxis Repetition of the same word with no other words in between for emphasis

  43. “Words, words, words…” --Shakespeare, Hamlet

  44. Hyperbaton A scheme of unusual or inverted word order

  45. “I got, so far as the immediate moment was concerned, away.” --Henry James, The Turn of the Screw

  46. Hard Evidence The use of empirical or factual data in support of an argument

  47. The law should require seat belts because studeies show that they reduce the rate of fatalities in accidents (RFIA) by 80 percent.

  48. Hamartia (tragic flaw) In the context of tragedy, a fatal flaw or error that brings about the downfall of someone of high status.

  49. Othello’s jealousy, fueled by the false Iago, ultimately causes him to kill Desdemona, his wife.

  50. Hyperbole Excessive overstatement or conscious exaggeration of fact