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We have the largest database of literary terms explained, with examples and resources to assist. Explore the glossary with 579 terms defined.

Confessional Poetry

Confessional Poetry is a style of poetry that is personal, often making use of a first-person narrator. It is a branch of Postmodernism that emerged in the US in the 1950s.

Verbal Irony

Verbal irony occurs when the meaning of what someone says is different from what they actually mean.

Adventure Story

An adventure story tells the tale of a protagonist’s journey. They go on an adventure or quest: one that could be personal or geographical.


A nemesis in a piece of literature, film, or television show, is usually the antagonist of the story.

Do unto others as you would have done unto you

“Do unto others as you would have do unto you” asks everyone to treat those around them as they would like to be treated.


A subplot is a side story that occurs at the same time as the main plotline. It is less important than the central storyline.


Mythopoeia is a genre of modern literature (and film) that refers to the creation of artificial mythology.

Internal Rhyme

Internal rhyme occurs in the middle of lines of poetry. It refers to words that rhyme in the middle of the same line or across multiple lines


Nostalgia refers to a need or longing for the past. This can be anything that’s no longer accessible due to the passage of time.

Formal Diction

Formal diction is used when the setting is sophisticated. This could be anything from a speech, to a paper submitted to a journal.

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