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Figurative Language. Alliteration. Alliteration is the repetition of identical consonant sounds in words Example: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” Example: “ Tim took tons of tools to make toys for tots”. Apostrophe.

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  • Alliteration is the repetition of identical consonant sounds in words

Example: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”

Example: “Tim took tons of tools to make toys for tots”

  • In grammar, an apostrophe is a punctuation mark; however, in poetry apostrophe is an invisible force like nature, god or ghost, is being addressed or called upon as if they were present.

Example: In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus asks, “Oh Zeus! What plaything will you make of me?!”

blank verse
Blank Verse
  • In most poems, lines are written according to a certain rhythm. Blank verse is poetry that does not rhyme, but keeps the rhythm.


“What is the boy now, who has lost his ball,What, what is he to do? I saw it go”

  • Unlike alliteration, assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds without repeating consonants.

Example: “Fleet feet sweep by sleeping geese”


A joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word.

Example: “A horse is a very stable animal.”

“An elephant’s opinion carries a lot of weight.”

“The trampoline was on sale for fifty cents…I jumped on the offer.”

free verse
Free Verse

A form of poetry that has no particular rhythm. Free verse can rhyme, but it does not have to.


“After the Sea-Ship—after the whistling winds;

After the white-gray sails, taut to their spars and ropes,

Below, a myriad, myriad waves, hastening, lifting up their necks, 

Tending in ceaseless flow toward the track of the ship” 


A mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing

Example: “That person is a few sandwiches short of a picnic”

Example: “Their brother’s soul is at rest now”

  • The continuation of a sentence or clause over a line-break

Example: “I carry your heart with me (I carry it inmy heart) I am never without it (anywhereI go you go, my dear; and whatever is doneby only me is your doing, my darling)”

  • A direct or indirect reference to something historical, literary, religious or mythical. The author will usually use references that will be understood by his audience.

Example: “Jennifer’s love of chocolate cake was her Achilles’ heel.”

  • The use of words to create a certain picture in the reader’s mind. Imagery is usually based on sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell.

Example: “…the burnt out ends of smoky days,

The stale cold smell of morning.

The withered leaves collect at my feet,

And the wind begins to moan”

  • A poem that has the form and musicality of a song. In lyrical poetry, the mood is usually very emotional

Example: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate”

  • The use of a word whose sound suggests its meaning

Example: clang, buzz, twang

  • The ordinary language people use in speaking or writing

Example: “Although both Oedipus and Hector are tragic heroes, more readers admire Hector for his bravery and loyalty.”

idiom and clich
Idiom and Cliché

A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not clear from those of the individual words

Example: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”

Example: “The repairs on the house are costing us an arm and a leg”

  • A group of lines which form a section of the poem

Example: DaylightSee the dew on the sunflowerAnd a rose that is fadingRoses whither awayLike the sunflowerI yearn to turn my face to the dawnI am waiting for the day . . . MidnightNot a sound from the pavementHas the moon lost her memory?She is smiling aloneIn the lamplightThe withered leaves collect at my feetAnd the wind begins to moan

  • The overall feeling or effect created by a writer’s use of words. This feeling may be serious, humorous or critical

Example: “What a nice dress!” vs. “Uh yeah. Nice dress there…real nice.”

  • A figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common.

Example: “Men's words are bullets that their enemies take up and make use of against them."


A statement or proposition that leads to a conclusion that seems contradictory and logically unacceptable

Example: “I can resist anything but temptation”

Example: “Nobody goes to that restaurant because it is too crowded”

  • A comparison of two things using the words “like” or “as”

Example: “You eat like a pig.”

“You play basketball like a professional”

“This room is as bright as a sunny day.”

  • The act of giving character traits to non-living objects, animals or nature.


“The sun kissed the flowers.”

“The leaves were dancing in the wind.”

  • A single line in poetry

Example: “Shall I compare thee to a summers’ day?”


An idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning.

Example: “For some students, ‘homework’ is a four-letter word.”


The literal or primary meaning of a word, in contrast to the feelings or ideas that the word suggests.

  • The feeling or emotional state of the speaker in a poem. Mood lets the reader know about the speaker’s state of mind.


“And neither the angels in Heaven above,

Nor the demons under the sea

Can dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.”

  • Obvious and intentional exaggeration used for effect and emphasis

Example: “I was so tired, I could have slept all year.”

“If you don’t clean your room, your mom is going to kill you.”

“If you don’t read Jane Eyre,

Miss Hasholian put a million

questions on the final exam.”

  • A figure of speech in which one word is substituted for another with which it is closely associated.

Example: “My cousins from France are coming to the U.S.”

“My cousins from France are coming to America.”

  • Two opposite ideas expressed evenly in a balanced sentence

Example: “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless;

Knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.”

symbol symbolism
  • Symbol: A word or object that stands for another word or object
  • Symbolism: Frequent use of words, places, characters, or objects that mean something beyond what they are on a literal level
  • A figure of speech in which unequal terms appear side by side.

Example: “That girl is pretty ugly.”

“She is a little pregnant.”

“This pie tastes awfully good.”

“I got that math problem almost exactly correct.”

  • The representation of morals or principles through characters or events

Example: In the Harry Potter books, there is an allegorical character named Draco Malfoy.

Example: In Hard Times, Charles Dickens creates a character named Mr. McChoackumchild.

  • A comparison of two dissimilar things put together to clarify a point or make an image.

Example: “Fish are to water as birds are to sky.”

“Fork is to food as saw is to wood”

  • A short and amusing or interesting story about an incident or a person.
  • The recurring subject, theme or idea in a poem, novel, play or other literary work


Good morning! Good morning!

We’ve slept the whole night through.

Good morning! Good morning!

To you and you and you and you!

  • The repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of a poem or song.
  • A haiku is a Japanese poem of three lines and seventeen syllables. Although it does not have to do so, a haiku usually discusses some part of nature.

The first line has 5 syllables

The second line has 7 syllables

The third line has 5 syllables

  • A limerick is an Irish poem of five lines, three long and two short. A limerick usually tells a funny story and/or makes little sense

The first, second and last lines have 8 or 9 syllables

The third and fourth lines have 5 or 6 syllables


A sonnet is a 14 line poem with a very specific structure.

A sonnet has three stanzas, each with four lines with every other line rhyming.

Each line in a sonnet is ten syllables long

The last two lines of a sonnet is a couplet.

sonnet continued
Sonnet Continued…

Meter: the basic rhythm structure of a poem

Iamb: a metrical foot consisting of one stressed and one unstressed syllable.

Iambic Pentameter: the name given to a line of verse that consists of five iambs

Quatrain: Four lines of a sonnet

sonnet structure
Sonnet Structure

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? a

Thou art more lovely and more temperate. b

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, a

And summer's lease hath all too short a date. b

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, c

And often is his gold complexion dimmed; d

And every fair from fair sometime declines, c

By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed; d

But thy eternal summer shall not fade, e

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, f

Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade, e

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st. f

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, g

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. g