Friday, 11 May 2012

Useful Literary Terms

Hi All,

Let's put some useful terms together that we can use for textual analysis - with a focus on poetry. Please add examples and remember to cite all your sources!

This is just a warm-up exercise for the real thing - like doing pushups if you want to get good at some sports.

Happy pushups!



  1. Song: poetical composition.
    Hymn: a song of praise or joy.
    Acrostic: a composition usually in verse in which sets of letters (as the initial or final letters of the lines) taken in order form a word or phrase or a regular sequence of letters of the alphabet.
    Epigram: a concise poem dealing pointedly and often satirically with a single thought or event and often ending with an ingenious turn of thought.

    I think these meanings could be the correct ones because I found lot of meanings in each.


    Have a good Mother´s Day.


  2. Rhyme - A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words and is most often used in poetry and songs. The word "rhyme" may also refer to a short poem, such as a rhyming couplet or other brief rhyming poem such as nursery rhymes.

    Rhythm - may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions."[2] This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or frequency of anything from microseconds to millions of years.

    Free Verse - Free verse is a form of poetry that refrains from consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern.

    Stressed and Unstressed syllables - The part of a word that you give the most emphasis to. For example, the following capitalized syllables are stressed:

    Pause - One of the most powerful tools in any reader's arsenal is the pause. Where do pauses occur in a poem? Wherever you see a powerful moment. Such moments include

    Beat - The 'beat' of the poem as you called it - the rhythm in which the syllables fall - is more traditionally referred to as the 'meter'. The term meter refers to the basic rhythmic structure in the verse.

    Pattern –Inversion- Deviation
    Inversion - They reverse the usual order of their words - to shift the emphasis to the more important words. By a trick of a word or the turn of a phrase, he arrests the attention of the reader, and makes him see old things in a new light.

    Enjambement - Definition of Enjambment
    The word Enjambment comes from the French word for "to straddle". Enjambment is the
    continuation of a sentence form one line or couplet into the next.

    Onomatopoetic, Onomatopoeia - Poets use onomatopoeia in their work in two main ways: directly and indirectly. One way is to directly or obviously use an onomatopoeic word to create atmosphere for the reader. The other way is less obvious, where words or parts of words that are used to create an onomatopoeic device, which is usually a pun, in a poem (some examples of this is given below).

    Alliteration – Assonance – Dissonance
    Alliteration - It is not always easy to craft poetry using stylistic devices. Alliteration Poems from the writers at My Word Wizard do just that.

    Assonance - poems are abundant in literature. Assonance is one of the more difficult techniques to master when writing poetry. Assonance occurs when vowels are repeated in words that are close to each other.

    Source :

    Thank you.

    Yong Che Jeong (Justin)


    Semantic field : A semantic field is a technical term in the discipline of linguistics to describe a set of words grouped by meaning in a certain way.

    Tone : a literary technique which encompasses the attitudes toward the subject and toward the audience implied in a literary work.

    Etymology : the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. e.g. Desperado comes from Spanish, desperera(despair), despair=de+sperera.

    Morphology : the study of the structure and content of word forms.

    stem : a stem is a part of a word. The term is used with slightly different meanings. the English word friendships contains the stem friend, to which the derivational suffix -ship is attached to form a new stem friendship, to which the inflectional suffix -s is attached.

    Root : The root word is the primary lexical unit of a word, and of a word family, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents.

    Word formation : word formation is the creation of a new word. A similar concept is derivation

    Derivation : derivation is the process of forming a new word on the basis of an existing word, e.g. happi-ness and un-happy from happy, or determination from determine.

    Compound : a word that consists of more than one radical element

    Denotation : the denotation of a word or phrase is a part of its meaning. Denotation often refers to something literal, and avoids being a metaphor.

    Connotation : A connotation is a commonly understood subjective cultural or emotional association that some word or phrase carries. A connotation is frequently described as either positive or negative, with regards to its pleasing or displeasing emotional connection. e.g. a stubborn person may be described as being either strong-willed or pig-headed; although these have the same literal meaning, strong-willed connotes admiration for the level of someone's will (a positive connotation), while pig-headed connotes frustration in dealing with someone (a negative connotation).

    Association : If something has particular associations for you, it is connected in your mind with a particular memory, idea, or feeling. For example, In poetry tree means an iron will.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Metaphor : compares two different things by speaking of one in terms of the other. e.g. "We are the trees whom shaking fastens more." or "your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness."

      Simile : A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two different things, usually by employing the words "like" or "as".. e.g. "I see men, but they look like trees, walking."-Makr 8:24 or "His speech was smoother than butter."-Psalm 55:21

      Metonymy : Metonymy is a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. e.g. "Hollywood" is used as a metonym for US cinema. or “The pen is mighter that the sword.”

      Pars pro toto : Pars pro toto is Latin for "a part (taken) for the whole" where the name of a portion of an object or concept represents the entire object or context.

      Symbol : A symbol is something that represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning.

      Analogy : An analogy can be a spoken or textual comparison between two words (or sets of words) to highlight some form of semantic similarity between them. e.g. "You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables."-Samuel Johnson

      Paradox : paradox is a statement or situation containing apparently contradictory or incompatible elements but upon closer inspection might be true. e.g. “Cowards die many times before their deaths.”-Shakespeare or “ The child is father of man”-Wordsworth or "I dwell in a lonely house I know That vanished many a summer ago,.." -Ghost House by Robert Frost.

      Oxymoron : is a paradox reduced to two words and is used for effect, complexity, emphasis, or wit. For example,"O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!"-Romeo and Juliet

      Ambiguity : The lexical ambiguity of a word or phrase contains in its having more than one meaning in the language to which the word belongs.

      Hyperbole : the counterpart of understatement, deliberately exaggerates conditions for emphasis or effect. e.g. "The bag weighed a ton." Hyperbole helps to make the point that the bag was very heavy, although it is not probable that it would actually weigh a ton.

      Litotes : a particular form of understatement, is generated by denying the opposite or contrary of the word which otherwise would be used. usually, Litotes intensifies the sentiment intended by the writer, and creates the effect of strong feelings moderately conveyed. For example, "If you can tell the fair one's mind, it will be no small proof of your art, for I dare say it is more than she herself can do."-Alexander Pope

      Parody : A parody, in current use, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation.

      Irony : Irony illustrates a situation, or a use of language, involving some kind of discrepancy. The result of an action or situation is the reverse of what is expected. e.g. "Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink."-Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

      Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      Collins Cobuild Advanced Learner's English Dictionary

      Thank you!

  4. Rhyme - identity in sound of some part, especially the end, of words or lines of verse.

    Rhythm - a patterned repetition of a motif, formal element, etc., at regular or irregular intervals in the same or a modified form.

    Meter - poetic measure; arrangement of words in regularly measured, patterned, or rhythmic lines or verses.

    Free Verse - verse that does not follow a fixed metrical pattern.

    stressed and unstressed syllables - The stressed syllable or syllables in a word are the ones that get pronounced more forcefully.The unstressed syllable or syllables in a word are the ones that get pronounced less forcefully. (

    Long and Short syllables - Syllable length doesn't seem terribly important for pronunciation in English. Take a word like "laboratory." It looks as though it should be divided syllabically into:
    So it appears to have 5 syllables, but when someone from the U.S. or U.K. pronounces it, there are only 4. Oddly, the 4 syllables aren't the same.
    Americans heavily stress the first syllable.
    In the U.K. you probably hear:
    When we stress a syllable, we hold it an extra "time".
    The Latin for time is "tempus" and the word for the duration of time, especially in linguistics, is "mora." Two short syllables or "morae" count for one long syllable.
    Latin and Greek have rules about whether a given syllable is long or short. More than in English, length is very important.

    Pause - a break or suspension, as a caesura, in a line of verse.

    Foot (= ‘bar’) - a group of syllables constituting a metrical unit of a verse.

    Beat - The 'beat' of the poem as you called it - the rhythm in which the syllables fall - is more traditionally referred to as the 'meter'. The term meter refers to the basic rhythmic structure in the verse. (

    Pattern – Inversion – Deviation

    pattern poetry, verse that is arranged in an unusual shape on the page so as to suggest some object or movement matching the ideas or mood of the words. (

    Inversion- Also called anastrophe Rhetoric the reversal of a normal order of words. (

    Enjambement - the running over of a sentence from one line of verseinto the next

    Onomatopoetic, Onomatopoeia - the formation of a word, as cuckoo, meow, honk, or boom, by imitation of a sound made by or associated with its referent.

    Alliteration – Assonance – Dissonance

    Alliteration - the commencement of two or more stressed syllables of a word group either with the same consonant sound or sound group

    Assonance – The repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds in neighboring words (

    Dissonance - Dissonance is the use of harsh-sounding, unusual, or impolite words in poetry to create a disturbing effect or to catch the reader's attention by interrupting a smooth flow of words. (

    The words' sources that I didn't write source url are from

  5. Haiku: It is originally a Japanese form of poetry consisting of 17 Ons (syllables)

    Renga: A Japanese verse form in which stanzas of 3 lines alterante with stanzas with 2 lines, it is usually written by more than one poet.

    Ode: A poem that is sung, or read with enthusiasm.

    Elegy: a sad or mournful poem, usually a funeral song.

    Villanelle: a short poem with a fixed form, written in tercets, usually five,with a quatrain, all being based on 2 rhymes.

    Ghazal: It is an ancient Arabian poetic form (usually erotic),the rhyme scheme consists of couplets and a refrain(Chorus) that is repeated.

    Lyric Poetry: A kind of poetry/song that is emotionally charged. Its etymology is traced all the way back to the Greek time period.

    Dramatic Poetry (Dramatic Verse): A drama that is written in verse meant to be spoken, this is used relentlessly by famous poets and playwrights, among them would be William Shakespeare.

    Djillali Yettou.

    1. Hi Jay,

      I don't have your email address and therefore couldn't send you the links for Friday's class. However, the facebook group I created is called: FDU ENGL 1101.
      Please go there during Friday's class time and watch and comment on one or more clips.


    2. Hello Jay,

      If you are still in my class, please email me your email address TODAY so that I can inform you of some schedule changes - also affecting our class tomorrow. However, since I haven't seen you in class for ages, you only need to reply if you are still planning to continue taking this course.

      Please note that your email does NOT appear on webadvisor. Please also contact Neil to make sure he puts it in our system. Other instructors will send out group emails as well both this term and in the future. If you don't get them you don't know what's going on.



  6. 1. Epigraph : Form of a phrase, quotation or poem which is set at the beginning of a document or component as a summary, a counter-example, a preface

    2. Dramatic Monologue : Form of a speech of an individual character, it compresses into a single vivid scene a narrative sense of the speaker's history and psychological insight into his character.

    3. Epic, Epos : A lengthy narrative poem

    4. Narrative Poetry : Telling a story, the entire story is usually written in metered verse, including epics, ballads, idylls, lays. Some narrative poetry takes the form of a novel in verse.


    Complexity- the state or quality of being complex

    Simplicity- freedom from complexity, absence of luxury, pretentiousness, ornament, etc.

    Hypotactic- the dependent or subordinate relationship of clauses with connectives.

    Paratactic- the placing together of sentences, clauses, or phrases without a conjunctive word or words

    Questions- a sentence in an interrogative form, a problem for discussion or under discussion; a matter for investigation. Ex: What is your goal in your life ?

    Statements- a communication or declaration in speech or writing, setting forth facts, particulars, etc.

    Exclamations- the act of exclaiming; outcry; loud complaint or protest. Ex: what a beautiful scene !

    Tense: the time, as past, present, or future, expressed by such a category.

    Negation- the act of denying, something that is without existence

    Affirmation- confirmation or ratification of the truth or validity of a prior judgment, decision, etc.

    Parallelism- the use of identical or equivalent syntactic constructions in corresponding clauses or phrases. Ex : "When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative." (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

    Chiasm- an intersection or crossing of two tracts in the form of the letter

    Anaphora- an intersection or crossing of two tracts in the form of the letter. Ex: We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end.

    Epiphora: repetition of the ends of two or more successive sentences, verses, etc. Ex: "I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, she's a Pepper, we're a Pepper. Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too? Dr. Pepper."


  8. Thank you all for posting! Good work!

  9. sonnet-it is a short poem,word comes from italian word "sonetto" meaning little song,14 lines divided into sections
    Dramatic poetry-dramatic poetry is a form of writing that expresses emotional feelings. It's a very creative form of art. Dramatic poetry involves a narrative poem of a person in a specific situation. It can involve emotions, but has so much more to it. An example of this type of writing is in Shakespeare's plays.

    lyric poetry-Characterized by an expression of the poet's personal feelings—and originally descriptive of songs accompanied by the lyre.

    Narrative poetry- it is a form of poetry which tells a story, often making use of the voices of a narrator and characters as well; the entire story is usually written in metered verse. The poems that make up this genre may be short or long, and the story it relates to may be complex. It is usually dramatic, with objectives, diverse characters, and meter.[1] Narrative poems include epics, ballads, idylls and lays.

    hymn-A hymn is a song of praise, whether to a god, saint or hero. The plainchant hymn has a place in the Divine Office. In Protestant Christian worship, where the hymn assumed considerable importance, after the chorales of Martin Luther and his followers, the metrical homophonic form dominated.


  10. SYNTAX
    Complexity-the state or quality of being complex.
    Simplicity- the state or quality of being simple.
    Hypotactic- dependent relation or construction, as of clause.
    Paratactic- the placing together of sentences, clauses, or phrases without a conjunctive word or words.Example:Hurry up,it is getting late.
    Questions- a sentence in an interrogative form.Example:What is your name?
    Statements- a single sentence or assertions.Example: I agree with everything you said except for your last statement. Exclamations- an interjection
    Tense- it is used to show time like past tense,present tense and, future tense.
    Active voice- When the verb of a sentence is in the active voice, the subject is doing the acting, as in the sentence“Kevin hit the ball.” Kevin (the subject of the sentence) acts in relation to the ball.
    Passive voice- A verb is in the passive voice when the subject of the sentence is acted on by the verb. For example, in “The ball was thrown by the pitcher.
    Negation-the absence or opposite of something that is actual, positive, or affirmative.Example: Darkness is the negation of light.
    Affirmation- a statement or proposition that is declared to be true.
    Parallelism- the use of identical or equivalent syntactic constructions in corresponding clauses or phrases.
    Chiasm- Chiasm is a figure of speech in which two clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures to make a larger point.
    Anaphora-Words or phrases like pronouns are anaphora when they point backwards to something earlier in the text.Example: Helen needed the book and asked me to hurry up with it.
    Epiphora-Epistrophe is the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of different phrases, clauses or sentences.Example:When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child.

  11. Sorry i wasn't mention source in my previous comment...

  12. *Rhyme= N. identity in sound of some part, especially the
    end,of words or lines of verse.
    Ex: He is a king
    to wear ring
    like a wing
    *Rhythm= N. a patterned repetition of a motif, formal
    element, etc., at regular or irregular
    intervals in the same or a modified form.
    Ex: the little star like a diamond
    the little star like a finger
    the little star like a golden sun

    *Meter= N. poetic measure; arrangement of words in regularly
    measured, patterned, or rhythmic lines or verses.

    *Free Verse= N. verse that does not follow a fixed metrical


  13. i•ro•ny
    the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.

    a humorous or satirical imitation of a serious piece of literature or writing: his hilarious parody of Hamlet's soliloquy.
    the genre of literary composition represented by such imitations.

      noun Rhetoric .
    obvious and intentional exaggeration.
    an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”

    a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
    a self-contradictory and false proposition.
    any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature.
    an opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion.