Glossary of literary terms

Glossary of Literary Terms

This glossary of literary terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in the discussion, classification, analysis, and criticism of all types of literature, such as poetry, novels, and picture books, as well as of grammar, syntax, and language techniques.

Glossary of Literary Terms
Literary terms

A Compendium of Literary Devices: Your Guide to Rhetorical Gems

Strap yourselves in, word nerds, because we’re about to embark on a whirlwind tour of literary devices! We’ll be unraveling the mysteries of action, ad hominem, and alliteration, all the way to zeugma and beyond. Buckle up, and let’s get started!

Action! Boom! Pow! That’s the essence of this genre. Think explosions, chases, and witty one-liners, not Shakespearean soliloquies. It’s all about adrenaline-pumping thrills, not dissecting the human psyche.

Ad hominem: Hold on, is someone attacking someone else’s character instead of their argument? That’s ad hominem, folks. Just because someone has funky hair doesn’t mean their point is invalid. Let’s stick to the facts, shall we?

Adage: Remember those golden oldies, those nuggets of wisdom passed down through generations? Those are adages. Think “Early to bed, early to rise…” or “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Short, sweet, and straight to the point.

Adventure: Ah, the call of the wild! Adventure isn’t just a trip to Disneyland. It’s about unexpected journeys, chance encounters, and a dash of danger. Think Indiana Jones battling snakes, or Huck Finn rafting down the Mississippi.

Allegory: Buckle up for a story within a story! An allegory hides a deeper meaning beneath its surface. Imagine two neighbors flinging pebbles, but it’s really about a war between nations. Mind blown, right?

Alliteration: Tongue twisters, anyone? Alliteration is all about that catchy repetition of sounds at the beginning of words. Think Peter Piper picking pickled peppers, or Scooby-Doo solving spooky mysteries.

Allusion: Feeling déjà vu? An allusion is a wink to something else, like a literary reference or a nod to an earlier part of the story. It’s like saying, “Hey, remember that thing?” without being too obvious.

Ambiguity: Not sure what’s going on? That’s ambiguity, baby! It’s like a riddle wrapped in a mystery. Is this sentence ironic or literal? Does this character love them or hate them? The possibilities are endless!

Amplification: Need to drive your point home? Amplification is your megaphone. It’s about elaborating, emphasizing, even exaggerating to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Think air quotes and dramatic pauses.

Anagram: Word jumble, anyone? Anagrams are like puzzles where you rearrange letters to create new words. Think “silent” being an anagram of “listen.” Fun, right?

Analogy: Apples and oranges? Not quite! Analogy compares seemingly different things to highlight their shared qualities. It’s like saying, “This new law is like putting a band-aid on a broken leg.” It shows connections and makes complex ideas clearer.

Anaphora: Feeling rhythmic? Anaphora is like a catchy chorus. It’s repeating a word or phrase at the beginning of sentences to create a flow and make your writing sing. Think President Obama’s “Yes we can!” speech.

Anecdote: Short and sweet, an anecdote is a personal story that packs a punch. It’s like adding a sprinkle of “I’ve been there” to your argument or explanation. Think using your grandma’s baking secret to illustrate a point about tradition.

Antagonist: The yin to the protagonist’s yang, the antagonist is the worthy opponent. They’re not always villains, but they’re the ones making life difficult for our hero. Think Darth Vader breathing down Luke Skywalker’s neck.

Anthimeria: Feeling grammatical? Anthimeria is like a word doing double duty. It’s a noun acting like a verb, or vice versa. Think “time flies” or “the flower bloomed.” It’s a sneaky way to add depth and surprise.

Anthropomorphism: Talking animals? Check. Teacups throwing tea parties? Double check! Anthropomorphism is giving human traits to non-human things. It’s like making your dog wear a hat and calling him Sir Fluffypants.

Antithesis: Opposites attract! Antithesis is about putting contrasting ideas side-by-side. Think “light and darkness” or “love and hate.” It’s like saying, “She was an angel, but with devilish eyes.” It creates tension and emphasizes the differences.

Antonomasia: Ditch the boring old names! Antonomasia is like giving someone a cool nickname based on their defining quality. Think “The Bard” for Shakespeare or “The King” for Elvis. It’s a shortcut with a touch of flair.

Aphorism: A bite-sized morsel of wisdom, a pithy statement that packs a punch. Think of it as a fortune cookie message, minus the sugary coating, delivering a profound truth in a handful of words. Metaphors and imagery are its spices, making the medicine of insight go down smoothly.

Aphorismus: Not to be confused with its cousin, this term raises a red flag. It questions the very fabric of a word’s usage, holding it up to the light and asking, “Are you truly what you seem?” Often cloaked in the guise of a rhetorical question, it exposes the gap between a word’s intended meaning and its actual application.

Apologia: When you find yourself on the defensive, not for a wrong, but for a misunderstood right, you craft an apologia. It’s a shield woven from logic and explanation, a justification of your actions or beliefs, standing tall in the face of质疑.

Apologue: Imagine a fable whispering wisdom in your ear, using furry friends and fantastical settings to convey a simple moral lesson. That, my friend, is an apologue. Through these bite-sized stories, we learn valuable truths about life, often with a playful wink and a furry tail wag.

Aporia: This literary device is a master of disguise. It feigns ignorance, pretending not to know something crucial, just to pique your curiosity and draw you deeper into the narrative labyrinth. The writer, with a sly smile, may or may not resolve the doubt, leaving you to ponder the possibilities.

Aposiopesis: Silence, sometimes, speaks volumes. This term describes a sentence left hanging, a thought left uncompleted. The speaker trails off, their words swallowed by emotion or hesitation, inviting the listener to fill the void with their imagination, painting the unwritten picture in their minds.

Appositive: Think of it as a helpful friend, standing beside a noun and whispering its secrets. An appositive is a noun phrase that clarifies or expands on another noun, adding a layer of detail and depth to the character or concept being described.

Archaism: A blast from the past, an echo of a bygone era. This term refers to a word or expression that has faded from common usage, a relic of a time when language wore a different hat. Though dusty and outdated, it can add a touch of历史or intrigue to a piece of writing.

Archetype: This one delves into the universal language of storytelling. An archetype is a recurring idea, a character type, or a symbol that transcends cultures and time. It’s the lion’s roar echoing across countless myths, the wise old mentor guiding countless heroes.

Argument: Not a shouting match, but a carefully constructed dance of logic and persuasion. An argument aims to win you over, to sway your opinion and make you see things its way. It’s the intellectual joust, the verbal tug-of-war where ideas clash and minds are stretched.

Assonance: A symphony for the ears, a chorus of vowel sounds joining hands. This term describes the repetition of similar vowel sounds within words or phrases, creating a musicality that dances on your tongue. Imagine the ocean’s sigh in “sea sings,” the gentle lull in “moonlit meadow.”

Asyndeton: When conjunctions, those grammatical connectors, take a vacation, we have asyndeton. It’s a string of words or phrases, bare and unburdened, flowing freely without the usual “ands” or “buts” to hold them back. The effect? A breathless rush, a sense of urgency or immediacy.

Autobiography: Ever wondered how a story becomes “your story”? An autobiography is the answer. It’s a self-portrait woven with words, a tapestry of memories and experiences stitched together by the very hand that lived them. It’s a journey of self-discovery, shared with the world.




Have you ever read something that went from soaring poetic heights to landing with a thud in the mundane? That’s bathos, my friend. It’s like a Shakespearean sonnet suddenly morphing into a grocery list.

Buzzwords: These are the fleeting stars of the language, shiny and popular but lacking real substance. Think “disrupt” or “synergy.” They come and go, leaving us wondering what all the fuss was about.


Cacophony: Imagine a chorus of kazoos and barking dogs – that’s cacophony in a nutshell. It’s the deliberate use of harsh, jarring sounds in writing, creating a sense of discord or chaos. It’s like the anti-lulluby, keeping you up at night with its rough music.

Caesura: Think of it as a literary pit stop, a pause in the middle of a verse line. It’s like taking a breath before diving back into the poem’s current. This tiny break can add emphasis, anticipation, or even a sense of mystery.

Catharsis: Remember that emotional rollercoaster after watching a sad movie? That’s catharsis – the purging of strong emotions through art. It’s like crying it all out, but with the added bonus of a good story.

Character: They’re the ones who make things happen, the lifeblood of any story. From the brave hero to the scheming villain, they drive the plot, make us laugh and cry, and keep us turning the pages.

Chiasmus: Picture a seesaw – that’s chiasmus. It’s a fancy way of saying “crossing,” where a sentence structure mirrors itself but in reverse. Think “I came, I saw, I conquered” – that’s chiasmus in action.

Circumlocution: This is the art of talking in circles, of using a dozen words where one would do. It’s like taking the scenic route when you’re already late – roundabout and unnecessary, but sometimes strangely captivating.

Cliché: It’s the literary equivalent of a worn-out pair of jeans – the saying, image, or idea that’s been used so much it’s lost its originality. Think “happily ever after” or “ignorance is bliss.” They’re familiar, comfortable, but maybe a bit predictable.

Climax: Buckle up, folks, because we’re reaching the peak! The climax is the story’s Everest, the moment of highest tension, the showdown we’ve all been waiting for. It’s where the hero faces their biggest challenge, where the mystery unravels, where hearts are broken (or mended).

Coherence: It’s like a well-built bridge – the ideas in a piece of writing all connect and lead to a clear destination. Without coherence, we’re lost in a maze of words, unable to follow the path the author is trying to lay.

Connotation: Words are like chameleons – they change meaning depending on the context. Connotation is that extra layer, the emotional baggage a word carries beyond its basic definition. It’s the difference between “home” and “house,” “sad” and “melancholy.”

Consonance: This is music for the ears, a symphony of repeated consonant sounds. Think of the “s” in “slithering snakes” or the “b” in “big, booming bass.” It’s like a textural detail that adds depth and rhythm to the written word.

Conundrum: It’s a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. A conundrum is a brain-teaser, a problem that twists and turns, defying easy solutions. It’s the mental equivalent of a Rubik’s Cube, challenging us to crack its code.

Comedy: Laughter is the best medicine, and comedy is the doctor. It’s the genre that tickles our funny bone, makes us snort with laughter, and reminds us that even in the darkest times, there’s room for a chuckle.


Denotation: The dictionary definition of a word, its literal meaning. Imagine it as the first thing that pops into your head when you hear a word.

Denouement: The grand finale, the big reveal. It’s like the last episode of your favorite TV show where everything gets tied up in a neat bow (or maybe a messy explosion, depending on the story).

Deus ex machina: A plot cheat code. When things seem impossible, BAM! A magical solution appears out of thin air, usually in the form of a random character or event. Think Gandalf swooping in to save the day at the last minute.

Diacope: Word echo. Remember Hamlet’s famous “to be, or not to be?” Yeah, that’s diacope. It’s when a writer repeats a word or phrase with some extra words in between, creating a dramatic emphasis.

Dialogue: Chat time. It’s simply two or more characters talking, but it can also be a fancy way of saying “a written work that uses conversation to tell a story.” Think Tarantino movies where everyone’s just yapping away.

Diction: Wordplay. It’s how an author chooses and arranges words to create a certain tone or effect. Think Hemingway’s short, punchy sentences versus Faulkner’s long, winding paragraphs.

Doppelganger: Creepy twin. It’s not your average sibling, it’s an evil lookalike who might try to steal your identity or mess with your love life. Think “The Parent Trap” gone goth.

Drama: Not just crying in front of the TV. In literature, it’s a broad term for any serious story, not just plays. It’s the opposite of lighthearted comedy, dealing with heavy topics and emotions. Think “The Great Gatsby” with its tragic love affair.

Dystopia: Opposite of utopia. Forget sunshine and rainbows, this is where everything’s gone wrong. Imagine “The Hunger Games” or “1984” where society has become a total nightmare.


Enjambment: Sentence cliffhanger. It’s when a poem keeps you on the edge of your seat by not finishing a line at the expected point. The sentence just keeps going, like a bridge between lines.

Enthymeme: Missing puzzle piece logic. It’s like a riddle where you have to fill in the blanks. The writer gives you some clues (premises) but leaves out the obvious conclusion for you to figure out.

Epigram: Witty wisdom in a nutshell. Think fortune cookie meets Shakespearean sonnet. It’s a short, clever saying that packs a punch, often funny or surprising.

Epiphany: Mind-blowing realization. It’s like suddenly remembering your name after years of amnesia. A character has a life-changing “Aha!” moment that alters their entire perspective.

Epistrophe: Record on repeat. It’s like a catchy chorus in a song. A word or phrase is used again and again at the end of sentences, creating a rhythmic echo that hammers home the point.

Epitaph: Tombstone tagline. It’s a short inscription about someone who’s passed away, often capturing their essence in a few poignant words. Think “Here lies…” followed by something meaningful.

Epithet: Nickname on steroids. It’s not just “Bob” or “Sue,” it’s a descriptive title that defines a character. Think “King Richard the Lionheart” or “Huckleberry Finn, the runaway slave.”

Eponym: Imagine a famous scientist, Marie Curie. Her name becomes synonymous with her groundbreaking discoveries in radioactivity. That’s an eponym – a person or thing whose name gets attached to something else, forever linking their identity.

Equivocation: Have you ever met someone who speaks in riddles? That’s equivocation – using slippery language to avoid clarity or commitment. It’s like playing hide-and-seek with meaning, leaving the listener guessing what’s truly being said.

Essay: Think of a conversation flowing from one thought to another, but captured in writing. That’s an essay – a discussion in paragraph form, where ideas dance and unfold. It can be casual, like a chat with a friend, or formal, like a professor’s lecture. And while you can express yourself directly (“I think…”), using others instead (“People believe…”) can add a touch of academic flair.

Etymology: Ever wondered how words are born? Etymology is like a detective story, digging into the history of words, uncovering their surprising origins and transformations. It’s about understanding how words journeyed through time, shaping our lives and languages.

Euphemism: Imagine replacing “died” with “passed away.” That’s a euphemism – a gentler way of saying something harsh, shielding the listener from bluntness. It’s like wrapping up a bitter pill in sugar, making it easier to swallow.

Excursus: Think of a highway with an exit – that’s an excursus. It’s a temporary detour from the main road of a story, a brief exploration of a side topic before returning to the central path. It’s like taking a scenic route, adding a layer of detail or intrigue.

Exemplum: Need a story to illustrate your point? Enter the exemplum – a handy example, anecdote, or fable that brings your ideas to life. It’s like showing, not just telling, using a relatable narrative to hammer home your message.

Exposition: Picture a movie opening scene. That’s the exposition – where the characters, setting, and the story’s foundation are laid out. It’s like introducing the players and the stage before the drama unfolds.

Extended Metaphor: Imagine a song comparing love to a burning flame. That’s an extended metaphor – a figure of speech stretched across sentences or even a whole piece, weaving a tapestry of comparisons to reveal deeper meaning. It’s like using one image to paint a vivid picture, enriching understanding through layers of symbolism.


Fairy Tales: Imagine stepping into a world where pumpkins transform into carriages, glass slippers hold the key to destiny, and even the tiniest creatures can weave grand spells. This is the realm of fairy tales, where the fantastical reigns supreme. Though not all feature fairies, the true essence lies in the extraordinary – talking animals, enchanted forests, and curses that can be broken with a kiss. These stories, often aimed at children, are more than just whimsical adventures; they are windows into morality, resilience, and the triumph of good over evil.

Fables: Now, picture a world where animals don a human mask, not to entertain, but to teach. This is the domain of fables, short narratives that use allegories, typically featuring animals, to impart wisdom and ethical lessons. Remember the sly fox and the gullible crow? Their tale wasn’t just about a lost cheese; it was a cautionary whisper against vanity and greed. While seemingly simple, fables pack a punch, using relatable characters and everyday situations to nudge us towards introspection and self-awareness.

Fantasy: Buckle up, because we’re blasting off to realms beyond imagination! Fantasy is where anything is possible, from dragons soaring through sapphire skies to sorcerers wielding unimaginable power. This genre is a canvas for the boundless creativity of the human mind. Want to explore mythical lands where centaurs roam free? Or perhaps join a fellowship on a quest to destroy a One Ring? Fantasy lets us escape the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary, reminding us that even the impossible might hold a sliver of truth.

Farce: Hold on tight, because this ride is going to be bumpy and hilarious! Farces are the jesters of the narrative world, where absurdity reigns supreme. Imagine a world where mistaken identities lead to hilarious entanglements, where doors slam shut just as characters walk in, and where pratfalls become an art form. Farces don’t shy away from exaggeration and slapstick, tickling our funny bones while reminding us that sometimes, laughter is the best medicine, even in the face of chaos.

Figures of Speech: Now, let’s step away from entire narratives and focus on the tools that bring them to life. Figures of speech are the secret spices that add flavor to our stories. Remember the “glass slipper” in Cinderella? It’s not just footwear; it’s a symbol of hope, a promise waiting to be fulfilled. Metaphors, similes, and personification – these are the artists’ paintbrushes, weaving magic with words and painting vivid pictures in our minds.

Flashback: Ah, the art of rewinding time. Flashbacks are like portals, whisking us away from the present to explore hidden chapters in a character’s past. They reveal secrets, motivations, and turning points, adding depth and dimension to the narrative tapestry. Imagine a knight haunted by a memory of betrayal, or a princess discovering a hidden truth about her lineage. Flashbacks are not mere glimpses; they are vital pieces of the puzzle, shaping who we are and the choices we make.

Folklore: Now, let’s move beyond individual authors and celebrate the collective wisdom of generations. Folklore is the vibrant tapestry woven from countless voices, passed down through whispers, songs, and shared experiences. From cautionary tales of mischievous spirits to heartwarming legends of brave heroes, folklore reflects the soul of a culture, its fears, aspirations, and enduring beliefs. It’s a reminder that stories are not just ours; they are threads that bind us together, across time and space.

Foreshadowing: Ever felt a shiver run down your spine before the storm hits? That’s foreshadowing at work. It’s the art of planting subtle hints, like a trail of breadcrumbs, leading the audience towards what might unfold. A raven’s ominous caw, a character’s cryptic warning – these are not accidents; they are whispers of the future, keeping us on the edge of our seats, wondering what fate has in store.


A genre is a category of literature identified by form, content, and style. Genres allow literary critics and students to classify compositions within the larger canon of literature.


A haiku is a specific form of Japanese poetry consisting of 17 syllables distributed across three lines with 5, 7, and 5 syllables, respectively. Typically, haikus focus on natural themes.

Hamartia refers to the tragic flaw or mistake that leads to a reversal of the protagonist’s fortune from good to bad.

Homophone occurs when two or more words share the same sound but possess different meanings, regardless of their spelling.

In literature, horror is a genre aimed at evoking fear, dread, repulsion, and terror in the audience, creating an atmosphere of horror.

Hyperbaton is a rhetorical device involving a change in the typical order of words, as certain words are deliberately placed out of their usual sequence.

Hyperbole is a figure of speech where exaggeration is employed to an extreme degree for emphasis, creativity, or humor.

An idiom is a phrase conveying a figurative meaning different from the literal interpretation, often synonymous with a figure of speech.

Imagery involves the use of language to craft mental images for the reader, employing figurative and metaphorical language to enhance sensory experiences.

An innuendo is a subtle remark or insinuation that, while appearing innocent on the surface, indirectly suggests an insult, a dirty joke, or social/political criticism.

Intertextuality is the interconnectedness of literary texts, highlighting how each text is influenced by those preceding it, shaping an author’s thoughts and aesthetic choices.

Invective is a literary device wherein a person or thing is attacked or insulted using abusive language and tone.

Irony arises when there are two conflicting meanings within the same situation, event, image, sentence, phrase, or story, often highlighting disparities between expectations and reality.


Jargon: Jargon refers to the specialized language employed by a particular group or profession.

Juxtaposition: Juxtaposition involves placing two or more things side by side, often to highlight their differences.

Kairos: In Ancient Greek, Kairos denoted “time,” specifically the opportune moment to say or do something. In modern rhetoric, it emphasizes making the right statement at the precisely correct moment.

Limerick: A limerick is a five-line poem with a defined rhyme scheme (AABBA) and meter, typically used for comedic purposes, often featuring impolite humor.

Lingo: Lingo encompasses language or vocabulary specific to a particular subject, group, or region, including slang and jargon. It is a broad term that can refer to nonstandard language within various contexts such as professions, age groups, genders, nationalities, ethnicities, and locations.

Literary Device: In literature, any technique employed by an author to achieve their intended purpose is considered a literary device.

Litotes: Litotes is an understatement where a positive statement is expressed by negating its opposite. An example is the phrase “not bad,” where negating “bad” implies something is good or, at the very least, acceptable.


Malapropisms involve the use of incorrect words instead of the appropriate ones, and they can occur either accidentally or intentionally, both instances often resulting in a humorous effect.
A maxim is a concise statement containing a nugget of wisdom or a general behavioral rule.
Metanoia refers to a deliberate self-correction by a writer or speaker, involving the modification of a recently made statement, usually to either strengthen or soften its impact.
A metaphor is a common rhetorical device that draws a direct comparison between two unrelated things, highlighting similarities without using explicit comparative terms like “like” or “as.”
Metonymy is a figure of speech in which words are substituted with related or associated terms. Typically, a metonym represents a part of a larger whole, such as using “wheels” to figuratively refer to a “car.”
A mnemonic, or memory aid, is a tool designed to assist in remembering concepts or phrases using patterns of letters, numbers, or relatable associations. Mnemonic devices encompass rhymes, acronyms, images, songs, outlines, and other techniques.
A monologue is a spoken passage delivered by a single character within a narrative.
A motif is a recurring symbolic image or idea in a story, which can manifest as symbols, sounds, actions, ideas, or words.
Mystery is a literary genre that revolves around stories focused on solving enigmatic crimes, situations, or circumstances.


A narrative is a story, functioning as either a noun referring to the story being told or an adjective describing the form or style of the storytelling.
A nemesis is an adversary, often a villain, who stands out as the ultimate enemy, overshadowing others in terms of power or significance.
A neologism is a newly coined word or phrase that has not yet gained widespread usage among speakers and writers.



An ode, in its strict sense, is a classical poem characterized by a specific structure and dedicated to an object or person. In a broader sense, it can refer to any artistic or literary work that expresses profound admiration.


Onomatopoeia pertains to words whose pronunciations mimic the sounds they represent. For instance, the sound of a dog’s bark is imitated by the word “woof,” making it an example of onomatopoeia.


An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines contradictory elements. This blending of opposing elements aims to reveal a paradox, create confusion, or evoke humor in the reader.


A palindrome is a form of wordplay where a word or phrase reads the same backward as it does forward.


A parable is a brief narrative employed to convey a moral or spiritual lesson.


A paradox is a statement that inherently contradicts itself or appears to be both true and false simultaneously.


Parallelism, also called parallel structure, occurs when phrases within a sentence share a similar or identical grammatical structure.


A paraphrase involves restating or rewording text to borrow, clarify, or elaborate on information without engaging in plagiarism.

A parody is a creation that mimics an existing original work with the intention of humorously mocking or commenting on some aspect of the original.

Pastiche is a creative piece that emulates another author or genre, serving as a tribute or homage to significant works of the past.

Pathetic Fallacy:
The pathetic fallacy is a literary device where the natural world, or a part of it, is anthropomorphized and attributed with human emotions.

Peripeteia is a sudden narrative shift leading to an adverse reversal of circumstances. Also known as the turning point, it marks the moment when a tragic protagonist’s fortune takes a negative turn.

Persona can refer to characters in any dramatic or literary work. In literary studies, it specifically denotes the voice of a character who serves as both the narrator and a participant in a first-person point of view narrative.

Personification involves metaphorically describing an inanimate object, abstract concept, or non-human animal using human attributes.

Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s ideas, words, or thoughts as one’s own without proper credit. Proper citation involves acknowledging the original author, the source’s name, and where it was published.

A platitude involves the repetition of obvious, simplistic statements lacking substantial meaning or emotional depth.

Pleonasm occurs when an excess of words is used to convey a message, which can be either an error or a deliberate tool for emphasis.

In narrative or creative writing, a plot is the sequence of events constituting a story, whether presented through speech, writing, film, or song. It encompasses the story’s development, unfolding, and progression over time.

Poetry is a form of literature centered around the interplay of words and rhythm. It often incorporates rhyme and meter to string together words, creating sounds, images, and ideas that may be too intricate or abstract to convey directly.


Polyptoton involves the repetition of a base word in various forms, like the usage of “enjoy” and “enjoyable.” This linguistic technique, known as polyptoton, adds a distinct element of wordplay to the sentence, introducing repetition in both sound and rhythm.



A prologue serves as a brief introductory segment, offering background details or setting the stage for the upcoming story.



Prose is essentially non-verse writing, encompassing almost anything other than poetry.



A protagonist is synonymous with the “main character.” The narrative revolves around the experiences of this character, inviting the audience to perceive the world from their perspective.



A proverb is a concise expression of folk wisdom or a saying that originates from the broader culture rather than from an individual author.



A pun is a humorous play on words, leveraging homophones—words with similar pronunciations but different meanings.



A quest denotes a journey undertaken to achieve a goal or fulfill an important task. The term is derived from the Medieval Latin word “questa,” meaning “search” or “inquiry.”



A rebus is a coded message or reference where pictures, letters, or symbols represent specific words or phrases. An example of a common rebus is “IOU” representing “I owe you.”


Red Herring

A red herring is a misleading clue intentionally inserted by storytellers to keep readers guessing about the true nature of events.



Repetition involves the recurrent use of a word or phrase, commonly employed as a rhetorical device to enhance emphasis and stress in both written and spoken language.



The resolution, also referred to as the denouement, marks the conclusion of the plot structure in a story. It addresses any lingering questions and ties up loose ends.



Rhetoric encompasses the ancient art of persuasion in its broadest sense. It involves the presentation of ideas to make them convincing and appealing to an audience.


Rhetorical Device

A rhetorical device refers to any linguistic technique employed by an author or speaker to achieve a specific purpose, often geared towards persuasion.


Rhetorical Question

A rhetorical question is posed not with the intent of eliciting an answer but rather to make a rhetorical point or emphasize a particular idea.


In its most rigid academic sense, a romance denotes a literary narrative genre characterized by a mysterious, adventurous, or spiritual storyline, with the central focus on a quest emphasizing bravery and strong values rather than a romantic relationship. However, contemporary interpretations of romance also encompass narratives where relationship issues take precedence.


Sarcasm represents a form of verbal irony that derides, mocks, or conveys contempt. It involves stating the opposite of one’s actual meaning (verbal irony) and is typically delivered in a notably hostile tone.

Satire is formally defined as “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices.” This category is broad and encompasses a variety of approaches.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
A self-fulfilling prophecy refers to a prediction that, in some way, brings about its own realization. Despite characters attempting to alter their fate, their actions ultimately contribute to the fulfillment of that very fate.

Setting encompasses the time and place (when and where) of a story, including the overall environment, comprised of factors like physical location, climate, weather, and social and cultural surroundings.

A simile is a literary device where “like” or “as” is employed to draw a comparison between two distinct things, suggesting a shared quality.

A soliloquy, a type of monologue, involves an extended speech by a character. Unlike a typical monologue, a soliloquy is not addressed to another character, and there is no audience within earshot.

A sonnet is a poem consisting of fourteen lines with a fixed rhyme scheme. Often, sonnets adhere to iambic pentameter, featuring five sets of unstressed followed by stressed syllables, creating a ten-syllable line.

In poetry, a stanza serves as a structural element that organizes and separates groups of lines within a poem, typically distinguished by line spacing or indentation. Numerous components, such as tone, word choice, grammar, language, and descriptive technique, collectively contribute to a writer’s style.

Style refers to an author’s distinctive manner of writing and storytelling, setting them apart from others and establishing the recognizable “voice” perceived by audiences.

The subtext denotes the unspoken or less evident meaning or message underlying a literary work, drama, speech, or conversation.

Surrealism represents a literary and artistic movement aimed at creating something bizarre and disjointed, yet still comprehensible.

A symbol is any image or object that represents something else. It could range from a simple letter signifying a particular sound to more complex representations.

A synecdoche is a figure of speech where a part of something is used to represent the whole, or vice versa.

A synonym is a word with the same or nearly the same meaning as another word. When words or phrases are interchangeable in meaning, they are considered synonymous.

A synopsis is a concise summary providing audiences with an overview of a composition, including its storyline or main points, stylistic elements, genre, notable characters, setting, and other defining factors.



Tautology involves defining or explaining something by expressing precisely the same idea using different words.

The theme serves as the central concept, subject, or essence of a story, essay, or narrative.

A thriller, within literature, film, and television, is a genre designed to elicit intense feelings of excitement, anxiety, tension, suspense, fear, and similar emotions in its audience, providing a thrilling experience.

A thesis represents the primary argument or perspective of an essay, nonfiction piece, or narrative—not merely the topic, but the central assertion the author makes about that subject.

Tone encompasses the overall “sense” or mood conveyed in a piece of writing, encompassing stylistic elements such as formality, dialect, and atmosphere.

The term “trope” can denote any figure of speech, theme, image, character, or plot element that is recurrent. Any literary device or specific example may be considered a trope.


Understatement occurs when a writer downplays a situation or object, making it appear less significant or serious than it truly is.

Utopia describes an idealized paradise or perfect society in which everything functions smoothly, and everyone is content—or, at least, is expected to be.


Verisimilitude simply implies ‘the quality of resembling reality,’ and a work of art, or any part of it, possesses verisimilitude if it convincingly mirrors real life. A verisimilitudinous narrative includes details, subjects, and characters that appear authentic or true to life.

A villain is the antagonist, the character who devises malevolent plots to cause harm or destruction. This archetype is commonly found in many stories.


Wit is a form of incisive or insightful humor, encompassing sharp comebacks, clever banter, and dry, one-line jokes. It often carries a cynical or insulting tone, contributing to its characteristic sharpness.


Zeugma involves using a word in a sentence in a way that conveys two different meanings simultaneously.