Literary Devices

Literary devices are techniques writers use to improve their work. They can hint at themes, convey the meaning of the story, or serve a wide variety of other purposes.

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  • Accumulation
    Accumulation is a literary device that relates to a list of words or phrases that have similar, if not the same, meanings.
  • Active Voice
    Active voice is used in a phrase in which the subject performs an action which is then expressed through a verb.
  • Ad Hominem
    An ad hominem attack uses irrelevant information in an attempt to discredit someone's opinion or argument.
  • Adynaton
    Adynaton a literary device similar to hyperbole. It's an exaggeration that is stretched to the absolute extreme. The proffered scenario is impossible.
  • Alienation Effect
    The alienation effect occurs when the writer makes a concerted effort to remind the audience that they’re engaged in something artificial.
  • Allegory
    An allegory is a narrative found in verse and prose in which a character or event is used to speak about a broader theme.
  • Alliteration
    Alliteration is a technique that makes use of repeated sound at the beginning of multiple words, grouped together. It is used in poetry and prose.
  • Allusion
    An allusion is an indirect reference to, including but not limited to, an idea, event, or person. It is used within both prose and verse writing.
  • Amplification
    Amplification is a rhetorical device that’s used to improve a sentence or statement with additional information.
  • Anachronism
    An anachronism is an error in the timeline or chronology of a piece of literature. This can be a purposeful or accidental error.
  • Anacoluthon
    Anacoluthon occurs when the writer changes the expected grammatical structure of a sentence and interrupts it with another sentence.
  • Anadiplosis
    Anadiplosis refers to the repetition of words so that the second clause starts with the same word/s that appeared in the previous.
  • Anagnorisis
    Anagnorisis is the moment in a play, or other literary work, in which a character makes an important discovery.
  • Anaphora
    Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of multiple lines, usually in succession.
  • Anastrophe
    Anastrophe, also known as inversion, is a literary technique in which a writer changes the normal order of words.
  • Anecdote
    Anecdotes are short stories used in every day conversation in order to inspire, amuse, caution and more.
  • Antagonist
    The antagonist, in literature, is a character who is considered to be the rival of the protagonist.
  • Antanaclasis
    Antanaclasis is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is used several times and the meaning changes.
  • Antecedent
    An antecedent is a literary device in which a pronoun or noun refers to an earlier phrase or word.
  • Anthimeria
    Anthimeria, also known as antimeria, refers to the use of a word in a new grammatical form, such as changing nouns to verbs.
  • Anthropomorphism
    Anthropomorphism is used to make inanimate objects, forces and animals appear to actually be human beings.
  • Anti-Hero
    An anti-hero is a character who is characterized by contrasting traits. This person has some of the traits of a hero and of a villain.
  • Anticlimax
    An anticlimax occurs when the author builds a reader’s expectations. Then, they fail to fulfill them in some fundamental way.
  • Antimetabole
    Antimetabole is the repetition of words, in reverse order, in successive clauses.
  • Antistrophe
    Antistrophe is a rhetorical device that’s concerned with the repetition of the same word or words at the end of consecutive phrases.
  • Aphorism
    Aphorisms are short, serious, humorous, and philosophical truths about life.
  • Aphorismus
    Aphorismus is a figure of speech that occurs when a word’s use is called into question.
  • Aposiopesis
    Aposiopesis is defined as a figure of speech in which the writer stops a line of text in the middle of a sentence.
  • Apostrophe
    Apostrophe, in poetry, is a figure of speech in which a character or speaker addresses someone who is absent.
  • Archetype
    Archetypes are universal symbols. They are characters, themes, and settings that appear throughout literary works.
  • Aside
    An aside is a dramatic device that is used within plays to help characters express their inner thoughts.
  • Assertion
    An assertion is a strong statement someone makes. It’s spoken as though it's true, even though it may not be.
  • Assonance
    Assonance occurs when two or more words that are close to one another use the same vowel sound.
  • Atmosphere
    Atmosphere is a literary technique that is concerned with the feeling readers get from the elements of a narrative.
  • Attitude
    In literature, attitude refers to the tone a writer takes on whatever they are writing. It can come through in a character’s intentions, histories, emotions, and actions.
  • Audience
    The audience of a piece of literature, a film, or a song, is the group for which an artist or writer makes a piece of art or writes.
  • Authorial Intrusion
    Authorial intrusion occurs when the writer breaks the wall of their work and addresses the reader. This can happen in any genre.
  • Auxesis
    Auxesis is a literary device that is used to intensify the meaning and importance of a word, phrase, or idea.
  • Bandwagon
    Bandwagon is a persuasive style of writing that is used to convince readers of an argument or make them understand a certain perspective.
  • Bathos
    Bathos is defined as a sudden, jolting change in the tone of a work. This could occur in a poem, play, story, or film.
  • Black Humor
    Black humor is a literary device that's used in all forms of literature in order to discuss taboo subjects in a less distressing way.
  • Cacophony
    Cacophony in literature is the combination of loud and harsh-sounding words.
  • Cadence
    Cadence is the natural rhythm of a piece of text, created through a writer’s selective arrangement of words, rhymes, and the creation of meter.
  • Caesura
    A caesura is a break or pause in the middle of a line of verse. These breaks can be towards the beginning, middle, or the end of a line. 
  • Caricature
    A caricature is a device used in writing, as well as in visual arts, when a character or subject is exaggerated.
  • Catalog
    A catalog is a collection of people, objects, ideas, and other elements in list form within poetry or prose.
  • Catastrophe
    A catastrophe is a turning point in a story, usually a tragedy, in which something terrible happens to the main character/s.
  • Catharsis
    Catharsis occurs when pent-up emotions are released through an art form, whether that be visual arts or literary arts.
  • Character Motivation
    A character’s motivation is the reason behind their actions. This could refer to specific or general actions.
  • Characterization
    Characterization is a literary device that is used to detail and explains the aspects of a specifically crafted character in a novel, play, or poem.
  • Chiasmus
    Chiasmus is a rhetorical device that occurs when the grammatical structure of a previous phrase or clause is reversed or flipped.
  • Circumlocution
    Circumlocution occurs when a writer or character talks around something they want to say.
  • Cliffhanger
    A cliffhanger is a narrative device that’s used to end a story abruptly before an action or segment the plot is concluded.
  • Coherence
    Coherence refers to the properties of well-organized writing. This includes grammar, sentence structure, and plot elements.
  • Concession
    A concession is a literary device that occurs in argumentative writing in which one acknowledges another’s point.
  • Conflict
    In literature, conflict is a plot device used by writers when two opposing sides come up against each other. 
  • Consonance
    Consonance is the repetition of a consonant sound in words, phrases, sentences, or passages in prose and verse writing.
  • Couplet
    A couplet is a literary device that is made up of two rhyming lines of verse. These fall in succession, or one after another.
  • Cumulative Sentence
    A cumulative sentence is a sentence that begins with an independent clause and then adds subordinate clauses.
  • Deductive Reasoning
    Deductive reasoning, also known as top-down logic, is a rhetorical device and a way to build a successful argument.
  • Deus Ex Machina
    Deus ex machina refers to conclusions that involve a divine intervention or other improbable events.
  • Diacope
    Diacope is a literary term that refers to the repetition of a word or phrase.
  • Dialogue
    Dialogue is a literary technique that is concerned with conversations held between two or more characters.
  • Diatribe
    Diatribes are angry, long pieces of writing that appear in literature and rhetoric.
  • Dichotomy
    Dichotomies create conflict between characters, groups, states of being, ideas, and more.
  • Digression
    A digression occurs when the writer interrupts the main plot line to contribute additional details.
  • Dilemma
    A dilemma is a problem or conflict that has more than one possible solution. There are always important consequences one has to contend with.
  • Dissonance
    Dissonance refers to a lack of harmony in elements of writing, usually created through varied vowel sounds.
  • Distortion
    Distortion occurs when writers twist an idea or thing. It is exaggerated or altered in a way that makes it appear different from reality.
  • Double Entendre
    A double entendre is a literary device, phrase, and/or figure of speech that has multiple meanings or interpretations.
  • Dream Vision
    The term “dream vision” is a literary device. It suggests a story is taking place within the confines of a dream. 
  • Dysphemism
    Dysphemism is a figure of speech that occurs when one uses offensive language rather than inoffensive or positive language.
  • Elision
    An elision is the removal of part of a word to shorten it. This might be an unstressed syllable, consonant, or letter from a word or phrase.
  • Ellipsis
    An ellipsis is a literary device that’s used to omit parts of a sentence or phrase.
  • End Rhyme
    An end rhyme is a common type of rhyme found in poetry. They occur when the last word of two or more lines rhyme.
  • End-Stopped Line
    An end-stopped line is a pause that occurs at the end of a line of poetry. It might conclude a phrase or sentence.
  • Enjambment
    Enjambment occurs when a line is cut off before its natural stopping point. It is a transition/continuation between lines.
  • Enthymeme
    Enthymeme is an informal argumentative statement in which the speaker omits one of the minor premises.
  • Enumeration
    Enumeration is a rhetorical device that occurs when a writer chooses to list out items, events, ideas, or other parts of a story/setting.
  • Epigram
    An epigram is a short, witty, and sometimes surprising statement. It can stand-alone or be part of a novel or poem.
  • Epigraph
    An epigraph, in literature, is a phrase, quote, or any short piece of text that comes before a longer document (a poem, story, book, etc).
  • Epistrophe
    Epistrophe, or epiphora, is the repetition of the same word, or a phrase, at the end of multiple clauses or sentences.
  • Epithet
    An epithet is a literary device used to describe something or someone with characteristics that are more interesting and prominent than they are in reality.
  • Epizeuxis
    Epizeuxis is a figure of speech that occurs when the writer repeats a word or phrase in immediate succession.
  • Eponym
    An eponym is an allusion to a famous or legendary person whose name is given to some other thing. That might be an institution, object, person, or event.
  • Eristic
    Eristic is an important and useful literary device. It occurs when the writer and speakers engage in an argument.
  • Euphemism
    A euphemism is an indirect expression used to replace that something that is deemed inappropriate or crude.
  • Euphony
    Euphony is a literary device that refers to the musical, or pleasing, qualities of words.
  • Euphuism
    Euphuism is a literary term that describes a style of English prose. It features ornate, overly complicated language. It is deliberately excessive.
  • Exact Rhyme
    Exact rhyme is a literary device that's used in poetry. It occurs when the writer uses the same stressed vowel or consonant sounds.
  • Exaggeration
    An exaggeration is a statement that pushes the limits of a situation, feeling, idea, or experience. It is used to make something appear worse or better than it actually is in reality.
  • Exemplum
    Exemplum is a rhetorical device. It is a short story, narrative, anecdote, or tale that’s used in literature to explain moral reasoning.
  • Expletive
    An expletive is a grammatical assertion that starts with words like “it,” “here,” and “there,” or includes words like “in fact,” “so,” or “indeed.”
  • Exposition
    Exposition is the important background information that a writer includes in a story.
  • Extended Metaphor
    An extended metaphor is a literary term that refers to a long metaphorical comparison that can last an entire poem.
  • External Conflict
    External conflict is a type of conflict, problem, or struggle that takes place in a novel, narrative poem, play, or other literary work.
  • Eye Rhyme
    An eye rhyme is a literary device used in poetry. It occurs when two words are spelled the same or similarly but are pronounced differently.
  • Fallacy
    A fallacy is a faulty or erroneous argument. It depends on poor premises and an illogical conclusion. It is used in literature as well as in everyday conversations.
  • False Dichotomy
    A false dichotomy is a choice between two options that's delivered as though they are the only two possible options.
  • Feminine Ending
    The feminine ending is a prosodic term, which is used to refer to a verse line having an unstressed syllable at the end.
  • Feminine Rhyme (Double Rhyme)
    A feminine rhyme is a type of rhyme that’s made up of two unstressed two syllable rhymes, one following the other.
  • First Person Point of View
    The first person narrative perspective is a literary style in which the narrator tells a story about him or herself. 
  • Flash Forward
    A flash forward provides readers and characters with knowledge about future events.
  • Flashback
    A flashback is a plot device in a book, film, story, or poem in which the readers learn about the past.
  • Foil
    A foil is a literary device used in narrative poems, novels, short stories, and plays. It is used to define a character’s traits.
  • Foregrounding
    Foregrounding is a literary technique that’s employed in order to draw attention to a specific part of a poem, novel, short story, or other literary work. 
  • Foreshadow
    Foreshadowing refers to the hints a writer gives a reader about what’s going to happen next. It's a common literary device that's used every day.
  • Frame Story
    A frame story is a narrative within a narrative. It occurs when one character decides to tell another story to the other characters around him/her.
  • Freudian Slip
    A Freudian slip is an error, usually in speech or action, that reveals something about one’s unconscious feelings.
  • Heroic Couplet
    A heroic couplet is a form of poetry commonly used in epics and narrative poems. It is composed of a pair of rhyming lines that are written in iambic pentameter. 
  • Homograph
    A homograph is a word that shares the same spelling but a different meaning, with another word. These words are tricky parts of language.
  • Homophone
    A homophone is a word that’s pronounced the same as another word but has a different definition.
  • Humor
    Humor is a literary device that writers use in order to make their readers or audience members laugh. It should be entertaining.
  • Hypophora
    Hypophora is a figure of speech that occurs when writing asks a question and then immediately follows that question up with an answer.
  • Hypotaxis
    Hypotaxis is the arrangement of constructs in grammar. It refers to the placement of functionally similar although unequal constructions.
  • Hypothetical Question
    A hypothetical question is a question based on an opinion or personal belief, rather than facts.
  • Illusion
    An illusion is a false belief. The writer uses it in order to trick someone, the reader or a character, into believing something untrue.
  • Imperative Sentence
    An imperative sentence is a type of sentence that makes a command, gives a direction, or expresses instructions of some kind.
  • In Medias Res
    In Medias Res refers to the narration of a story beginning part through events, skipping over the exposition.
  • Inciting Incident
    An inciting incident is an event that starts the story’s main plot. It is whatever changes the protagonist’s life.
  • Induction
    An induction is a conclusion that’s reached after the analysis of facts. The conclusions might be right or wrong but it depends strongly on the logic of the premises.
  • Inference
    An inference is a literary device that occurs when logical assumptions are made. These should be based on true premises, but are often based around those that are assumed to be true.
  • Innuendo
    An innuendo is an indirect observation of an event, person, thing, or idea. It is not stated clearly or obviously.
  • 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
  • Invective
    Invective is the use of abusive language that expresses disapproval or attacks someone, a topic, object, idea, insinuation, or other.
  • Inversion
    An inversion occurs when the writer changes the normal order of words. They are reversed, therefore leading to a different kind of effect.
  • Isocolon
    Isocolon is a figure of speech. It occurs when a series of sentences or phrases are equal in length and follow one another.
  • Jargon
    Jargon is the use of phrases and words that are specific to a situation, trade, a selective group, or a profession.
  • Juxtaposition
    Juxtaposition is a literary technique that places two unlike things next to one another.
  • Kinesthesia
    Kinesthesia depicts movement in text. It is a type of imagery that helps readers see the movements someone makes in prose and verse.
  • Line Break
    A line break occurs when a poet decides to stop a line and begin another. It can happen with or without punctuation.
  • Literary Argument
    The argument of a piece of literature is a statement, towards the beginning of a work, that declares what it’s going to be about.
  • Main Idea
    The main idea of a literary text is the central message that the writer wants to convey.
  • Malapropism
    A malapropism occurs when a writer, character, or other source uses a word incorrectly, usually rendering the sentence nonsensical.
  • Masculine Rhyme
    Masculine rhyme is a literary device that occurs when the stressed syllables at line endings rhyme together.
  • Mosaic Rhyme
    A mosaic rhyme is a type of rhyme in which a multisyllabic word is made to rhyme with two or more monosyllabic words.
  • Motif
    A motif is an action, image, idea, or sensory perception that repeats in a work of literature.
  • Narration
    Narration is the use of commentary, either written or spoken, to tell a story or “narrative.”
  • Narrative Hook
    A narrative hook appears at the beginning of a piece of literature and is used to “hook” or capture the reader’s attention.
  • Nemesis
    A nemesis in a piece of literature, film, or television show, is usually the antagonist of the story.
  • Neologism
    A neologism is a new word, serious or humorous, coined by a writer. It is used in everyday speech as well as in literary texts.
  • Non Sequitur
    A non sequitur is a statement that asserts and concludes something that's obviously absurd and false.
  • Nostalgia
    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.
  • Pacing
    Pacing refers to the pace at which a story unfolds, or how fast or slow the plot elements come together.
  • Palindrome
    A palindrome is defined as a word or sentence that is read the same forward as it is backwards.
  • Paradox
    A paradox is used in literature when a writer brings together contrasting and contradictory elements that reveal a deeper truth.
  • Paralipsis
    Paralipsis is a rhetorical device that occurs when the writer pretends to hide the idea or statement they actually want to express.
  • Parallelism / Parallel Structure
    Parallelism, also known as parallel structure, occurs when the writer uses the same structure in multiple lines.
  • Paraprosdokian
    Paraprosdokian is a surprising shift at the end of a short story, novel, poem, play or other literary work.
  • Pararhyme
    Pararhyme is a type of half-rhyme that occurs when the same pattern of consonants is used by the vowel changes.
  • Parataxis
    Parataxis is a literary term used to describe the equal importance of a writer’s chosen words, phrases, or sentences.
  • Parenthesis
    Parenthesis is an element of writing used when a writer wants to insert information into a passage that adds detail.
  • Paronomasia
    Paronomasia occurs when a writer intentionally creates confusion by using similar-sounding words.
  • Parrhesia
    Parrhesia is the use of direct, emotionally honest language in one’s discussion of a topic. It has its roots in Ancient Greece.
  • Passive Voice
    Passive voice is a generally disliked grammatical construction of sentences in which the "object" comes before the "subject."
  • Pathetic Fallacy
    Pathetic fallacy is used to describe the attribution of human emotions and actions onto non-human things found in nature.
  • Pathos
    Pathos is an appeal made by the writer to the audience’s emotions in order to make them feel something.
  • Periphrasis
    Periphrasis occurs when the writer chooses to use more words than necessary to talk about a subject. It occurs in a variety of situations.
  • Persona
    A persona is an invented perspective that a writer uses. The point of view might be entirely different than their own.
  • Personification
    Personification is a literary device that refers to the projection of human characteristics onto inanimate objects in order to create imagery.
  • Perspective
    Perspective is the lens through which the reader experiences a story, film, television series, or poem.
  • Persuasion
    Persuasion is a literary technique. It’s used by writers to ensure that their readers find their written content believable.
  • Pleonasm
    Pleonasm is a rhetorical device that occurs when a writer uses two or more words to express an idea.
  • Poetic Justice
    Poetic justice occurs when a writer punishes an evil character or rewards a good character creating a satisfying conclusion.
  • Point of View
    Point of view is what the speaker, narrator, or character can see from their perspective.
  • Polyptoton
    Polyptoton is a figure of a speech. It occurs when words with the same root are repeated, for example, "run" and "ran."
  • Polysyndeton
    Polysyndeton is a figure of speech. It is concerned with coordinating conjunctions, such as “and” and “or” that join together words and clauses.
  • Portmanteau
    A portmanteau is a literary device. It occurs when the writer joins two or more words together to create a new word.
  • Prologue
    The prologue is the opening to a story that comes before the first page or chapter. It is used to establish context or to provide necessary details.
  • Propaganda
    Propaganda is a type of information spread in order to influence opinion. It can be negative or positive depending on the source.
  • Prosody
    Prosody is the study of meter, rhyme, and the sound and pattern of words. It is used in prose but far more commonly in poetry.
  • Protagonist
    The protagonist is the main character of a story, generally considered to be the hero or the force for good. 
  • Prothesis
    Prosthesis is a literary device that occurs when a writer adds a new syllable or an extra sound to the beginning of a word.
  • Proverb
    A proverb is a short, simple statement that gives advice. It is based in common experience.
  • Pun
    A pun is a literary device that’s defined as a play on words.
  • Rebuttal
    A rebuttal is a response to an argument that contradicts or attempts to disprove it. It is given by one’s opponent.
  • Red Herring
    A red herring is a fallacy that introduces something irrelevant to a larger narrative.
  • Refrain
    Refrains are used in poems and songs. They are repeated sections of text that usually appear at the end of a stanza or verse.
  • Refutation
    A refutation is the part of the argument that tries to prove that the alternative point of view is false.
  • Repetition in Poetry
    Repetition is an important poetic technique that sees writers reuse words, phrases, images, or structures multiple times within a poem.
  • Resolution
    The resolution of a piece of literature is the parts of the narrative that bring the story to a close.
  • Rhetoric
    Rhetoric is the use of language effectively in writing or speech to persuade the audience.
  • Rhetorical Devices
    Rhetorical devices are parts of literature that are used to persuade audiences. They make use of the three “modes of persuasion."
  • Rhetorical Question
    A rhetorical question is a question that’s asked for effect, not because someone is expecting a genuine answer to it.
  • Rhyme
    The word “rhyme” refers to the pattern of similar sounding words used in writing.
  • Romantic Irony
    Romantic irony is a rhetorical device that occurs when an author breaks through the fictional facade of their narrative and exposes their presence. This is normally seen through a demonstration of the writing process.
  • Sarcasm
    Sarcasm is a type of verbal irony that expresses contempt, mocks, or ridicules.
  • Satire/Satirical Comedy
    Satire and satirical comedy are used to analyze behaviors to make fun of, criticize, or chastise them in a humorous way.
  • Second Person Point of View
    The second person narrative perceptive is a literary style in which the narrator tells a story about “you”. 
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
    A self-fulfilling prophecy in literature is a phenomenon in which a character predicts something and by trying to avoid it makes the thing happen.
  • Setting
    Setting is when and where a story takes place. This could be a real place or someone completely fictional.
  • Sibilance
    Sibilance is a literary device in which consonant sounds are stressed. These are primarily "s" and "th" sounds.
  • Situational Irony
    Situational irony occurs when something happens that’s different from what’s expected.
  • Solecism
    Solecism is refers to a phrase, sentence, or longer written work that deviates from the grammatical norm in some way.
  • Soliloquy
    A soliloquy is a dramatic literary device that is used when a character gives a speech that reveals something about their thought process.
  • Sound Devices
    Sound devices are anything writers use that improve or emphasize the sound in a piece of writing.
  • Stanza
    A stanza is one of the most important fundamental elements of a poem. It is the unit of writing poems are composed of.
  • Straw Man
    Straw man is a type of argument in which it appears someone has misunderstood their opponent’s argument in order to win.
  • Stream of Consciousness
    Stream of consciousness is a style of writing in which thoughts are conveyed without a filter or clear punctuation.
  • Style
    Style is the way a writer writes. An individual writer’s style is original and unlike any other.
  • Subplot
    A subplot is a side story that occurs at the same time as the main plotline. It is less important than the central storyline.
  • Suspense
    Suspense is the anticipation of an outcome, created through hints at what's to come.
  • Symbolism
    Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or meanings. They are imbued with certain qualities often only interpretable through context.
  • Symploce
    Symploce occurs when a writer repeats a phrase at the beginning of successive lines and a different phrase at the end of those same successive lines.
  • Syncope
    Syncope refers to a literary device that involves the shortening of a word by removing or omitting letters.
  • Synecdoche
    Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a “part" of something is used to represent its “whole.”
  • Synesis
    Synesis is a rhetorical device that occurs when the writer structures a sentence based on its “sense” rather than its grammatical structure.
  • Synesthesia
    In literature, synesthesia refers to a technique authors use to blur human senses in their imagery.
  • Tautology
    A tautology is a statement that repeats an idea, using synonymous or nearly synonymous words, phrases, or morphemes.
  • Third Person Point of View
    The third person narrative perspective is a literary style in which the narrator tells a story about a variety of characters. 
  • Tmesis
    Tmesis is a rhetorical device that involves inserting a word in between a compound word or phrase.
  • Tragic Flaw
    A tragic flaw is a literary device that is used by writers to complicate their characters. Flaws include pride, envy, and cowardice.
  • Tragic Hero
    A tragic hero is usually the protagonist in a piece of literature. Specifically, a tragedy. This kind of character has a tragic flaw.
  • Transition
    Transitions are the parts of literature that connect phrases, sentences, ideas, and paragraphs. They can even connect one book to the next.
  • Tricolon
    A tricolon is a group of three similar phrases, words, clauses, or sentences. They are parallel in their length, rhythm, and/or structure.
  • Trimeter
    Trimeter is one type of meter used in poetry, in which each line has three metrical feet. 
  • Truism
    A truism is a phrase that sounds meaningful but doesn’t share any new information.
  • Understatement
    An understatement occurs when the writer presents an idea, situation, person, or thing as less serious than it is.
  • Unreliable Narrator
    An unreliable narrator is a narrator whose credibility is in doubt, or somehow compromised.
  • Verbal Irony
    Verbal irony occurs when the meaning of what someone says is different from what they actually mean.
  • Vernacular
    Vernacular is a type of speech. It is used to refer to local dialects and common language used among everyday people.
  • Vignette
    A vignette is a short scene within a larger narrative. They are found in novels, short stories, poems, and films.
  • Voice
    Voice refers to the specific style an author writes in. This includes the way they use point of view, tone, rhetorical devices, syntax, and more.
  • Volta
    A volta is a turn or transition in a sonnet’s main argument, theme, or tone. There are Petrarchan and Shakespearean voltas.
  • Zoomorphism
    Zoomorphism describes how non-human animal traits are given to humans, events and forces.