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Quick List of Common Literary Terms
Abstract Language—Language describing ideas and qualities rather than observable or specific things, people, or places. The observable or "physical" is usually described in concrete language.
Allegory—A narrative or description having a second meaning beneath the surface one. A story, fictional or nonfictional, in which characters, things, and events represent qualities or concepts. The interaction of these characters, things, events is meant to reveal an abstraction or a truth. These characters, etc. may be symbolic of the ideas referred to.
Alliteration—The repetition at close intervals of initial identical consonant sounds.
Allusion—An indirect reference to something (usually a literary text)
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Comedy of Manners—A work that deals with the relations and intrigues of gentlemen and ladies living in a polished and sophisticated society; it evokes laughter mainly at the violations of social conventions and decorum and relies on the wit and humor of the dialogue for its effect.
Comic relief—Humorous speeches and incidents in the course of the serious action of a tragedy; frequently, comic relief widens and enriches the tragic significance of the work.
Concrete Language—Language that describes specific, observable things, people or places, rather than ideas or qualities.
Connotation—Rather than the dictionary definition, the associations associated by a word. Implied meaning rather than literal meaning or denotation.
Consonance—Repetition of a consonant sound within two or more words in close proximity.
Deduction—A form of reasoning that begins with a generalization, then applies the generalization to a specific case or cases.
Diction—Word choice, particularly as an element of style. Different types and arrangements of words have significant effects on meaning. An essay written in academic diction, for example, would be much less colorful, but perhaps more precise, than street slang.
Didactic—A term used to describe fiction or nonfiction that teaches a specific lesson or moral or provides a model or correct behavior or thinking.
Digression—A temporary departure from

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