Lit. Terms

Literary Terms Part 2
Study Guide

Assonance – the repetition of similar vowel sounds in a line or poetry or in a sentence of prose.   Example:   “I rose and told him of my woe.”

Consonance – a stylistic device often used in poetry.   The repetition of two or more consonant sounds at the end of stressed syllables using different vowels.   The repetition is anywhere within the word, although often at the end.   Examples: “pitter patter” “All mammals named Sam are clammy.”

Onomatopoeia – the use of words that imitate sounds; can help put the reader in the activity of a poem.   Examples: crash, buzz screech, hiss, neigh, jingle, and cluck.

Allusion – a reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art.   Understanding what a writer is saying often depends on recognizing allusions.

Rhythm – the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in spoken or written language.

Rhyme – the repetition of sounds at the ends of words.   Poets use rhyme to lend a songlike quality to their verses and to emphasize certain words and ideas.

Sound devices – “musical devices” make poetry a special form of art; make the language sound beautiful. Examples: assonance, consonance, alliteration, rhyme.

Form – refers to various sets of “rules” followed by poems of certain types. The rules may describe such aspects as the rhythm or meter of the poem, its rhyme scheme, or its use of alliteration.

Meter – the meter of a poem is its rhythmical pattern.   This pattern is determined by the number of stresses, or beats, in each line.   To describe the meter of a poem, read it emphasizing the beats of each line.   Then, mark stressed and unstressed syllables.   Each strong stress is marked with a slanted line, and each unstressed syllable with a horseshoe symbol.

Feet – weak and strong stresses are divided by vertical lines into groups called feet.   A foot consists of certain number of syllables forming pat of a line of verse.