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.

Home » Glossary of Literary Terms » Literary Devices
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  • a
  • Accumulation
    Accumulation is a literary device that relates to a list of words or phrases that have similar, if not the same, meanings. Read More
  • Active Voice
    Active voice is used in a phrase in which the subject performs an action which is then expressed through a verb. Read More
  • Ad Hominem
    An ad hominem attack uses irrelevant information in an attempt to discredit someone's opinion or argument. Read More
  • Adynaton
    Adynaton a literary device similar to hyperbole. It's an exaggeration that is stretched to the absolute extreme. The proffered scenario is impossible. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Amplification
    Amplification is a rhetorical device that’s used to improve a sentence or statement with additional information. Read More
  • Anachronism
    An anachronism is an error in the timeline or chronology of a piece of literature. This can be a purposeful or accidental error. Read More
  • Anacoluthon
    Anacoluthon occurs when the writer changes the expected grammatical structure of a sentence and interrupts it with another sentence. Read More
  • Anadiplosis
    Anadiplosis refers to the repetition of words so that the second clause starts with the same word/s that appeared in the previous. Read More
  • Anagnorisis
    Anagnorisis is the moment in a play, or other literary work, in which a character makes an important discovery. Read More
  • Anaphora
    Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of multiple lines, usually in succession. Read More
  • Anastrophe
    Anastrophe, also known as inversion, is a literary technique in which a writer changes the normal order of words. Read More
  • Anecdote
    Anecdotes are short stories used in every day conversation in order to inspire, amuse, caution and more. Read More
  • Antagonist
    The antagonist, in literature, is a character who is considered to be the rival of the protagonist. Read More
  • Antanaclasis
    Antanaclasis is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is used several times and the meaning changes. Read More
  • Antecedent
    An antecedent is a literary device in which a pronoun or noun refers to an earlier phrase or word. Read More
  • Anthimeria
    Anthimeria, also known as antimeria, refers to the use of a word in a new grammatical form, such as changing nouns to verbs. Read More
  • Anthropomorphism
    Anthropomorphism is used to make inanimate objects, forces and animals appear to actually be human beings. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Antimetabole
    Antimetabole is the repetition of words, in reverse order, in successive clauses. Read More
  • Antistrophe
    Antistrophe is a rhetorical device that’s concerned with the repetition of the same word or words at the end of consecutive phrases. Read More
  • Aphorism
    Aphorisms are short, serious, humorous, and philosophical truths about life. Read More
  • Aphorismus
    Aphorismus is a figure of speech that occurs when a word’s use is called into question. Read More
  • Aposiopesis
    Aposiopesis is defined as a figure of speech in which the writer stops a line of text in the middle of a sentence. Read More
  • Apostrophe
    Apostrophe, in poetry, is a figure of speech in which a character or speaker addresses someone who is absent. Read More
  • Archetype
    Archetypes are universal symbols. They are characters, themes, and settings that appear throughout literary works. Read More
  • Aside
    An aside is a dramatic device that is used within plays to help characters express their inner thoughts. Read More
  • Assertion
    An assertion is a strong statement someone makes. It’s spoken as though it's true, even though it may not be. Read More
  • Assonance
    Assonance occurs when two or more words that are close to one another use the same vowel sound. Read More
  • Atmosphere
    Atmosphere is a literary technique that is concerned with the feeling readers get from the elements of a narrative. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Authorial Intrusion
    Authorial intrusion occurs when the writer breaks the wall of their work and addresses the reader. This can happen in any genre. Read More
  • b
  • Bandwagon
    Bandwagon is a persuasive style of writing that is used to convince readers of an argument or make them understand a certain perspective. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • c
  • Cacophony
    Cacophony in literature is the combination of loud and harsh-sounding words. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • 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.  Read More
  • Caricature
    A caricature is a device used in writing, as well as in visual arts, when a character or subject is exaggerated. Read More
  • Catalog
    A catalog is a collection of people, objects, ideas, and other elements in list form within poetry or prose. Read More
  • Catastrophe
    A catastrophe is a turning point in a story, usually a tragedy, in which something terrible happens to the main character/s. Read More
  • Catharsis
    Catharsis occurs when pent-up emotions are released through an art form, whether that be visual arts or literary arts. Read More
  • Character Motivation
    A character’s motivation is the reason behind their actions. This could refer to specific or general actions. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Chiasmus
    Chiasmus is a rhetorical device that occurs when the grammatical structure of a previous phrase or clause is reversed or flipped. Read More
  • Circumlocution
    Circumlocution occurs when a writer or character talks around something they want to say. Read More
  • Cliffhanger
    A cliffhanger is a narrative device that’s used to end a story abruptly before an action or segment the plot is concluded. Read More
  • Coherence
    Coherence refers to the properties of well-organized writing. This includes grammar, sentence structure, and plot elements. Read More
  • Concession
    A concession is a literary device that occurs in argumentative writing in which one acknowledges another’s point. Read More
  • Conflict
    In literature, conflict is a plot device used by writers when two opposing sides come up against each other.  Read More
  • Consonance
    Consonance is the repetition of a consonant sound in words, phrases, sentences, or passages in prose and verse writing. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Cumulative Sentence
    A cumulative sentence is a sentence that begins with an independent clause and then adds subordinate clauses. Read More
  • d
  • Deductive Reasoning
    Deductive reasoning, also known as top-down logic, is a rhetorical device and a way to build a successful argument. Read More
  • Deus Ex Machina
    Deus ex machina refers to conclusions that involve a divine intervention or other improbable events. Read More
  • Diacope
    Diacope is a literary term that refers to the repetition of a word or phrase. Read More
  • Dialogue
    Dialogue is a literary technique that is concerned with conversations held between two or more characters. Read More
  • Diatribe
    Diatribes are angry, long pieces of writing that appear in literature and rhetoric. Read More
  • Dichotomy
    Dichotomies create conflict between characters, groups, states of being, ideas, and more. Read More
  • Digression
    A digression occurs when the writer interrupts the main plot line to contribute additional details. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Dissonance
    Dissonance refers to a lack of harmony in elements of writing, usually created through varied vowel sounds. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Double Entendre
    A double entendre is a literary device, phrase, and/or figure of speech that has multiple meanings or interpretations. Read More
  • Dysphemism
    Dysphemism is a figure of speech that occurs when one uses offensive language rather than inoffensive or positive language. Read More
  • e
  • 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. Read More
  • Ellipsis
    An ellipsis is a literary device that’s used to omit parts of a sentence or phrase. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Enjambment
    Enjambment occurs when a line is cut off before its natural stopping point. Read More
  • Enthymeme
    Enthymeme is an informal argumentative statement in which the speaker omits one of the minor premises. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Epigram
    An epigram is a short, witty, and sometimes surprising statement. It can stand-alone or be part of a novel or poem. Read More
  • 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). Read More
  • Epistrophe
    Epistrophe, or epiphora, is the repetition of the same word, or a phrase, at the end of multiple clauses or sentences. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Epizeuxis
    Epizeuxis is a figure of speech that occurs when the writer repeats a word or phrase in immediate succession. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Eristic
    Eristic is an important and useful literary device. It occurs when the writer and speakers engage in an argument. Read More
  • Euphemism
    A euphemism is an indirect expression used to replace that something that is deemed inappropriate or crude. Read More
  • Euphony
    Euphony is a literary device that refers to the musical, or pleasing, qualities of words. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • 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(...) Read More
  • Exemplum
    Exemplum is a rhetorical device. It is a short story, narrative, anecdote, or tale that’s used in literature to explain moral reasoning. Read More
  • 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.” Read More
  • Exposition
    Exposition is the important background information that a writer includes in a story. Read More
  • Extended Metaphor
    An extended metaphor is a literary term that refers to a long metaphorical comparison that can last an entire poem. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • f
  • 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. Read More
  • False Dichotomy
    A false dichotomy is a choice between two options that's delivered as though they are the only two possible options. Read More
  • Feminine Rhyme
    A feminine rhyme is a type of rhyme that’s made up of two unstressed two syllable rhymes, one following the other. Read More
  • 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.  Read More
  • Flash Forward
    A flash forward provides readers and characters with knowledge about future events. Read More
  • Flashback
    A flashback is a plot device in a book, film, story, or poem in which the readers learn about the past. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Freudian Slip
    A Freudian slip is an error, usually in speech or action, that reveals something about one’s unconscious feelings. Read More
  • h
  • 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. Read More
  • Homophone
    A homophone is a word that’s pronounced the same as another word but has a different definition. Read More
  • Humor
    Humor is a literary device that writers use in order to make their readers or audience members laugh. It should be entertaining. Read More
  • Hypophora
    Hypophora is a figure of speech that occurs when writing asks a question and then immediately follows that question up with an answer. Read More
  • Hypotaxis
    Hypotaxis is the arrangement of constructs in grammar. It refers to the placement of functionally similar although unequal constructions. Read More
  • Hypothetical Question
    A hypothetical question is a question based on an opinion or personal belief, rather than facts. Read More
  • i
  • 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. Read More
  • Imperative Sentence
    An imperative sentence is a type of sentence that makes a command, gives a direction, or expresses instructions of some kind. Read More
  • In Medias Res
    In Medias Res refers to the narration of a story beginning part through events, skipping over the exposition. Read More
  • Inciting Incident
    An inciting incident is an event that starts the story’s main plot. It is whatever changes the protagonist’s life. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • 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(...) Read More
  • Innuendo
    An innuendo is an indirect observation of an event, person, thing, or idea. It is not stated clearly or obviously. Read More
  • 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 Read More
  • Invective
    Invective is the use of abusive language that expresses disapproval or attacks someone, a topic, object, idea, insinuation, or other. Read More
  • Inversion
    An inversion occurs when the writer changes the normal order of words. They are reversed, therefore leading to a different kind of effect. Read More
  • Isocolon
    Isocolon is a figure of speech. It occurs when a series of sentences or phrases are equal in length and follow one another. Read More
  • j
  • Jargon
    Jargon is the use of phrases and words that are specific to a situation, trade, a selective group, or a profession. Read More
  • Juxtaposition
    Juxtaposition is a literary technique that places two unlike things next to one another. Read More
  • k
  • Kinesthesia
    Kinesthesia depicts movement in text. It is a type of imagery that helps readers see the movements someone makes in prose and verse. Read More
  • l
  • Line Break
    A line break occurs when a poet decides to stop a line and begin another. It can happen with or without punctuation. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • m
  • Main Idea
    The main idea of a literary text is the central message that the writer wants to convey. Read More
  • Malapropism
    A malapropism occurs when a writer, character, or other source uses a word incorrectly, usually rendering the sentence nonsensical. Read More
  • Motif
    A motif is an action, image, idea, or sensory perception that repeats in a work of literature. Read More
  • n
  • Narration
    Narration is the use of commentary, either written or spoken, to tell a story or “narrative.” Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Nemesis
    A nemesis in a piece of literature, film, or television show, is usually the antagonist of the story. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Non Sequitur
    A non sequitur is a statement that asserts and concludes something that's obviously absurd and false. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • p
  • Pacing
    Pacing refers to the pace at which a story unfolds, or how fast or slow the plot elements come together. Read More
  • Palindrome
    A palindrome is defined as a word or sentence that is read the same forward as it is backwards. Read More
  • Paradox
    A paradox is used in literature when a writer brings together contrasting and contradictory elements that reveal a deeper truth. Read More
  • Paralipsis
    Paralipsis is a rhetorical device that occurs when the writer pretends to hide the idea or statement they actually want to express. Read More
  • Parallelism / Parallel Structure
    Parallelism, also known as parallel structure, occurs when the writer uses the same structure in multiple lines. Read More
  • Paraprosdokian
    Paraprosdokian is a surprising shift at the end of a short story, novel, poem, play or other literary work. Read More
  • Parataxis
    Parataxis is a literary term used to describe the equal importance of a writer’s chosen words, phrases, or sentences. Read More
  • Parenthesis
    Parenthesis is an element of writing used when a writer wants to insert information into a passage that adds detail. Read More
  • Paronomasia
    Paronomasia occurs when a writer intentionally creates confusion by using similar-sounding words. Read More
  • Parrhesia
    Parrhesia is the use of direct, emotionally honest language in one’s discussion of a topic. It has its roots in Ancient Greece. Read More
  • Passive Voice
    Passive voice is a generally disliked grammatical construction of sentences in which the "object" comes before the "subject." Read More
  • Pathetic Fallacy
    Pathetic fallacy is used to describe the attribution of human emotions and actions onto non-human things found in nature. Read More
  • Pathos
    Pathos is an appeal made by the writer to the audience’s emotions in order to make them feel something. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Persona
    A persona is an invented perspective that a writer uses. The point of view might be entirely different than their own. Read More
  • Personification
    Personification is a literary device that refers to the projection of human characteristics onto inanimate objects in order to create imagery. Read More
  • Perspective
    Perspective is the lens through which the reader experiences a story, film, television series, or poem. Read More
  • Persuasion
    Persuasion is a literary technique. It’s used by writers to ensure that their readers find their written content believable. Read More
  • Pleonasm
    Pleonasm is a rhetorical device that occurs when a writer uses two or more words to express an idea. Read More
  • Poetic Justice
    Poetic justice occurs when a writer punishes an evil character or rewards a good character creating a satisfying conclusion. Read More
  • Point of View
    Point of view is what the speaker, narrator, or character can see from their perspective. Read More
  • Polyptoton
    Polyptoton is a figure of a speech. It occurs when words with the same root are repeated, for example, "run" and "ran." Read More
  • Polysyndeton
    Polysyndeton is a figure of speech. It is concerned with coordinating conjunctions, such as “and” and “or” that join together words and clauses. Read More
  • Portmanteau
    A portmanteau is a literary device. It occurs when the writer joins two or more words together to create a new word. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Propaganda
    Propaganda is a type of information spread in order to influence opinion. It can be negative or positive depending on the source. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Protagonist
    The protagonist is the main character of a story, generally considered to be the hero or the force for good.  Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Proverb
    A proverb is a short, simple statement that gives advice. It is based in common experience. Read More
  • Pun
    A pun is a literary device that’s defined as a play on words. Read More
  • r
  • Rebuttal
    A rebuttal is a response to an argument that contradicts or attempts to disprove it. It is given by one’s opponent. Read More
  • Red Herring
    A red herring is a fallacy that introduces something irrelevant to a larger narrative. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Refutation
    A refutation is the part of the argument that tries to prove that the alternative point of view is false. Read More
  • Repetition
    Repetition is an important literary technique that sees a writer reuse words or phrases multiple times. Read More
  • Resolution
    The resolution of a piece of literature is the parts of the narrative that bring the story to a close. Read More
  • Rhetoric
    Rhetoric is the use of language effectively in writing or speech to persuade the audience. Read More
  • Rhetorical Devices
    Rhetorical devices are parts of literature that are used to persuade audiences. They make use of the three “modes of persuasion." Read More
  • Rhetorical Question
    A rhetorical question is a question that’s asked for effect, not because someone is expecting a genuine answer to it. Read More
  • Rhyme
    The word “rhyme” refers to the pattern of similar sounding words used in writing. Read More
  • s
  • Sarcasm 
    Sarcasm is a type of verbal irony that expresses contempt, mocks, or ridicules. Read More
  • Satire/Satirical Comedy
    Satire and satirical comedy are used to analyze behaviors to make fun of, criticize, or chastise them in a humorous way. Read More
  • Second Person Point of View
    The second person narrative perceptive is a literary style in which the narrator tells a story about “you”.  Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Setting
    Setting is when and where a story takes place. This could be a real place or someone completely fictional, Read More
  • Sibilance
    Sibilance is a literary device in which consonant sounds are stressed. These are primarily "s" and "th" sounds. Read More
  • Situational Irony
    Situational irony occurs when something happens that’s different from what’s expected. Read More
  • Solecism
    Solecism is refers to a phrase, sentence, or longer written work that deviates from the grammatical norm in some way. Read More
  • Soliloquy
    A soliloquy is a dramatic literary device that is used when a character gives a speech that reveals something about their thought process. Read More
  • Sound Devices
    Sound devices are anything writers use that improve or emphasize the sound in a piece of writing. Read More
  • Stanza
    A stanza is one of the most important fundamental elements of a poem. It is the unit of writing poems are composed of. Read More
  • Straw Man
    Straw man is a type of argument in which it appears someone has misunderstood their opponent’s argument in order to win. Read More
  • Stream of Consciousness
    Stream of consciousness is a style of writing in which thoughts are conveyed without a filter or clear punctuation. Read More
  • Style
    Style is the way a writer writes. An individual writer’s style is original and unlike any other. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Suspense
    Suspense is the anticipation of an outcome, created through hints at what's to come. Read More
  • Symbolism
    Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or meanings. They are imbued with certain qualities often only interpretable through context. Read More
  • Syncope
    Syncope refers to a literary device that involves the shortening of a word by removing or omitting letters. Read More
  • Synecdoche
    Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a “part" of something is used to represent its “whole.” Read More
  • Synesis
    Synesis is a rhetorical device that occurs when the writer structures a sentence based on its “sense” rather than its grammatical structure. Read More
  • Synesthesia
    In literature, synesthesia refers to a technique authors use to blur human senses in their imagery. Read More
  • t
  • Tautology
    A tautology is a statement that repeats an idea, using synonymous or nearly synonymous words, phrases, or morphemes. Read More
  • 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.  Read More
  • Tmesis
    Tmesis is a rhetorical device that involves inserting a word in between a compound word or phrase. Read More
  • Tragic Flaw
    A tragic flaw is a literary device that is used by writers to complicate their characters. Flaws include pride, envy, and cowardice. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Transition
    Transitions are the parts of literature that connect phrases, sentences, ideas, and paragraphs. They can even connect one book to the next. Read More
  • Tricolon
    A tricolon is a group of three similar phrases, words, clauses, or sentences. They are parallel in their length, rhythm, and/or structure. Read More
  • Trimeter
    Trimeter is one type of meter used in poetry, in which each line has three metrical feet.  Read More
  • Truism
    A truism is a phrase that sounds meaningful but doesn’t share any new information. Read More
  • u
  • Understatement
    An understatement occurs when the writer presents an idea, situation, person, or thing as less serious than it is. Read More
  • Unreliable Narrator
    An unreliable narrator is a narrator whose credibility is in doubt, or somehow compromised. Read More
  • v
  • Verbal Irony
    Verbal irony occurs when the meaning of what someone says is different from what they actually mean. Read More
  • Vernacular
    Vernacular is a type of speech. It is used to refer to local dialects and common language used among everyday people. Read More
  • Vignette
    A vignette is a short scene within a larger narrative. They are found in novels, short stories, poems, and films. Read More
  • 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. Read More
  • Volta
    A volta is a turn or transition in a sonnet’s main argument, theme, or tone. There are Petrarchan and Shakespearean voltas. Read More
  • z
  • Zoomorphism
    Zoomorphism describes how non-human animal traits are given to humans, events and forces. Read More
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