Writing: 24 basic terms to know

In Nuce: Literature and Language Geekland

You'll come out way ahead if you take time to knock back a few literary terms before tackling your next book. Then read and let your new background knowledge illuminate the text. Can you identify the author's use of literary devices and grammatical techniques?

From the Sixth or Classic English Reader, by William Swinton:
Def. 1. A figure of speech is a deviation from the direct and literal meaning of a word or phrase.

Def. 2. A simile, or comparison, is the statement of a likeness between one thing and another:
    The tear down childhood's cheek that flows
    Is like the dewdrop on the rose.

3. A metaphor speaks of one object as if it were another:

    Virtue is a jewel.

Simile and metaphor both express comparison. In the simile, one object is said to resemble another; and some sign of comparison (as, like, etc.) stands between them. In the metaphor, an object is spoken of as if it were another, and no sign of comparison is used. A metaphor is an implied simile. Thus,—

    Simile. — He is like a lion in the fight.
    Metaphor. — He is a lion in the fight.

Def. 4. Personification is a figure of speech in which an inanimate object is represented as animated or endowed with personality:
The mountains sing together, the hills rejoice and clap hands. 

Def. 5. Antithesis is the statement of a contrast or opposition of thoughts and words:
    I do not live that I may eat, but I eat that I may live. 

Def. 6. Climax (meaning literally a ladder) is a series of statements rising in strength or importance until the last:
    Learning is better than wealth; culture is better than learning; Wisdom is better than culture.

Def. 7. Synecdoche¹ is the figure of speech by which the whole of a thing is put for a part, or a part for the whole:
    Sail, for ship. 
    Daily bread, for daily food.

Def. 8. Metonymy² is the use of the name of one object to represent some related object:
Gray hairs, meaning old age.
The fatal cup, meaning the drink in the cup.

Def. 9. Hyperbole  consists in magnifying objects beyond their natural bounds to make a statement more emphatic:
    "Swift as the wind"
    "Rivers of blood, and hills of slain"

Def. 10. Apostrophe consists in addressing some absent person or thing as if present:
Milton, thou shouldst be with us at this hour!

Def. 11. Irony is the use of words to express meanings that are opposite their literal meaning:
Brutus is an honorable [meaning not honorable] man!

Def. 12. Ellipsis is the omission of words grammatically necessary, but supplied by the thought:
    Sit down [meaning You sit down].

Def. 13. The direct or grammatical order of words is their ordinary prose arrangement:
    In the sentence, "I shall neither attempt to palliate nor deny the atrocious crime of being a young man," ³  the words are arranged in the grammatical order,—subject, verb, object.

Def. 14. The indirect or rhetorical order of words is an inverted arrangement of words adopted to make a statement more impressive:
    In the form, "The atrocious crime of being a young man, I shall neither attempt to palliate nor deny," the words are arranged in the indirect or rhetorical order.

Def. 15. A period sentence is one in which the meaning is suspended, by using an inverted order of words, till the end or near the end of the sentence:
    On the rich and the eloquent, on nobles and priests, the Puritans looked down with contempt.
Def. 16. A loose sentence is one which may be brought to a grammatical close at one or more points before the end:
    The Puritans looked down with contempt on the rich | and the eloquent, | on nobles and priests.
Def. 17. Description is the representation of things observed at any one point in time.

Def. 18. Narration is the report of a succession of events observed chronologically.

Def. 19. Exposition is the discussion of principles.

Def. 20. Poetry is a kind of composition in which words are arranged in lines and verses containing a definite number and order of accented and unaccented syllables.

Def. 21. Rhyme is a kind of verse in which there is a concord of sounds in words at the end of lines.

Def. 22. Blank verse consists of unrhymed lines containing five feet of two syllables each, with the accent on the second syllable.

Def. 23. A refrain is a phrase or verse which occurs at the end of each stanza of a poem.

Def. 24. Style is the peculiar manner in which thought is expressed in language. There are many descriptive words used to denote the various kinds of style:  figurative, flowery, plain, verbose, terse, simple, sublime, witty, epigrammatic

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¹Synecdoche (pron. sin-ek'do-ke, from the Greek sun, "together with," and ekdechomai, "to understand in a certain sense."  
²Metonymy (pron. me-ton'i-me), from the Greek meta, implying "change," and unoma, "a name."
³Both irony and hyperbole are used in this statement. Can you explain them?
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