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Literary Terms 1-40
act An act is the major unit of a play.
alliteration Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words.
author The author is the writer of a literary work.
Author’s purpose The author’s purpose is the reason why an author writes a particular work.
autobiography An autobiography is a form of nonfiction in which a person tells the story of his or her own life.
ballad A ballad is a poem meant to tell a story. It can also be sung.
biography A biography is the story of someone’s life written by a different person.
Cast of Characters The cast of characters is the list of characters in a play.
Cause and Effect Cause and effect is the term used for two related events. One event happens and makes the other event happen.
Character Development Character development is the term used to describe the growth and changes a character goes through in a story.
Chronological Order Chronological order refers to the events which happen in time order. Chronological order
Climax The climax is the point of maximum interest in a story, also known as the turning point.
Comic relief Comic relief refers to a funny part of a story that happens right in the middle of a serious part.
Conflict A conflict is a struggle between opposing forces.
Context clues Context clues are hints within a sentence to help you understand a difficult word in the sentence.
Description Description refers to writing that helps you picture scenes, events, or characters
Dialect A dialect is a form of language spoken by a particular group of people in a particular place
Dialogue Dialogue consists of the words characters say to each other.
Exaggeration An exaggeration is an overstatement. It is also called HYPERBOLE.
Exposition The exposition is the beginning of a story where the setting is established and the characters are introduced.
Fiction Fiction is writing that tells an imaginary story.
Flashback A flashback is an interruption of the action which moves from the present to the past.
Folktale A folktale is a simple story, usually told from generation to generation.
Foreshadowing Foreshadowing refers to a hint the author gives you about what may happen in the future.
Free verse Free verse is a poem without regular lines, rhyme, or rhythm.
Inference Inference is a logical guess which you made based on what you already know or some information that you may have.
Lyric Poem A lyric poem is a poem based on the thoughts and feelings of the poet.
Metaphor A metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things without the use of the words “like” or “as.”
Mood The mood is the atmosphere or feeling the literary work conveys to you as you read.
Narrator The narrator is the teller of a story.
Non-fiction Non-fiction is writing that tells about real people and real events.
Paraphrasing Paraphrasing is when you explain the writer’s ideas using your own words.
Personification Personification is when the author gives human characteristics to non-human objects.
Play A play is a form of literature performed by actors before an audience.
Plot The plot is the sequence of events that make up a story.
Rhyme Rhyme is the repetition of similar sounds at the end of words. The rhyme can be recorded as a rhyme scheme.
Simile A simile is a comparison between two unlike obejcts, using the words “like” or “as.”
Stage Directions Stage directions are the instructions given to the actors, crew, director, etc. for a play.
Stanza A stanza is an arrangement of lines, forming a section of a poem.
Symbol A symbol is something that stands for or represents something else.
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Line: the basic unit of a poem Stanza: a collection of lines in a poem
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