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AP English: Language and Composition
A personal narrative is an essay about an
incident in your life.
It tells about an important event in your life.
It describes details that were part of the
experience to bring the experience to life
for your audience (readers).
It explains the importance of the event.
Rhetoric is a thoughtful, reflective activity
leading effective communication, including
rational exchange of opposing viewpoints.
Aristotle defined rhetoric as “the faculty of
observing in any given case the available
means of persuasion.”
Rhetoric is always situational.
Persona is the character a writer or speaker
creates to deliver a piece.
Ethos is character. A speaker or writer must
establish his or her own credibility or
Pathos is the use of emotion.
Logos is reason.
 Narration refers to telling a story or
recounting a series of events.
 Narrative essays are based on personal
experience or knowledge gained from reading
or observation.
 Narration usually relies on chronological
 Narration includes concrete detail, point of
view and, sometimes, dialogue.
 Narration is more than telling a story; it is
crafting a story that supports a thesis.
 Description relies on specific details.
 Description emphasizes the senses by
painting a picture of how something looks,
sounds, smells, tastes or feels.
 Most often, description is part of other forms
of essay—clear and vivid description can
make writing more persuasive by asking the
reader to empathize with the writer, the
subject or the argument.
Process Analysis
 Process analysis explains how something
works, how to do something or how
something was done.,
 The key to successful process analysis is
clarity; it is important to explain the subject
clearly and logically, with transitions that
mark the sequence of major steps, stages or
phases of the process.
 Providing a series of examples—facts,
specific cases or instances—turns a general
idea into a concrete one, which makes an
argument more clear and persuasive.
 Induction—a type of logical proof in which a
writer gives a series of specific examples that
leads to a general conclusion.
Comparison and Contrast
 Comparison and contrast juxtaposes two
different things to highlight their
similarities and differences.
 Comparison and contrast is used to analyze
information carefully and reveals insights
into the nature of the information being
Comparison and Contrast
 Comparison and contrast can be organized
in two main ways: subject by subject or
point by point.
◦ Subject by subject analysis discusses all the
elements of one subject and then moves on to
the other.
◦ Point by point is organized around specific points
of a discussion, showing the points of similarity
and difference between an aspect of the two main
subjects before moving to the next aspect.
Classification and Division
 Classification sorts material or ideas into
major categories.
 Classification explains what goes together
and gives the reason/s for the grouping.
 Classification can make connections between
things that might otherwise seem unrelated.
Classification and Division
 Division gives distinctive ways of breaking a
large idea or concept into parts. The writer
explains the reasoning behind each division
with examples and analysis.
 Definition is an essential part of most essays.
 It explains what a term means specifically so
that the writer and audience are speaking the
same language.
 Definition may lay the foundation to establish
common ground or identify areas of conflict.
 Definition is often the first step in a debate or
 In some cases, definition is only a paragraph
or two used to clarify terms. In other cases,
the purpose of an entire essay is to establish
a definition.
Cause and Effect
 Cause and effect essays analyze the causes
that lead to a certain effect or the effects that
result from a cause.
 Causal analysis relies on crystal clear logic,
carefully tracing a chain of cause and effect
to recognize contributing causes.
 Cause and effect essays are often signaled by
the use of the word why in the title or first
1. Which of the important words in the passage
(verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs) are
general and abstract? Which are specific and
2. Are the important words formal, informal,
colloquial, or slang?
3. Are some words nonliteral or figurative,
creating figures of speech such as metaphors?
What is the order of the parts of the
sentence? Is it the usual order (subjectverb-object) or is it inverted?
Which part of speech is more prominent—
nouns or verbs?
What are the sentences like? Are they
periodic (moving toward something
important at the end) or cumulative (adding
details that support an important idea in the
beginning of the sentence)?
How does the sentence connect its words,
phrases, and clauses?
Alliteration—repetition of the same sound at
the beginning of words
Allusion—reference to a person, event or
place (real or fictitious) or to a work of art
Anaphora—repetition of a word or phrase at
the beginning of successive phrases, clauses
or lines
Antimetabole—repetition of words in reverse
Antithesis—opposition or contrast, of ideas
or words in parallel construction
Archaic diction—old-fashioned or outdated
choice of words
Asyndeton—omission of conjunctions
between coordinate phrases, clauses or
Cumulative sentence—completes the main
idea of the sentence at the beginning and
adds onto the idea
Hortative sentence—sentence that exhorts,
urges, entreats or calls to action
Imperative sentence—sentence that
Inversion—inverted order of words in a
Juxtaposition—placement of two things
closely together to emphasize similarities or
Metaphor—figure of speech that says that
one thing is another thing
Oxymoron—paradoxical juxtaposition of
words that seem to contradict one another
Parallelism—similarity of structure in a pair of
sentences or series of related words, phrases,
or clauses
Periodic sentence—sentence with its main
clause held until the end of the sentence
Personification—attribution of human
qualities to an inanimate object or idea
Rhetorical question—figure of speech in the
form of a question that is asked for rhetorical
effect rather for the purpose of getting an
Synecdoche—uses a part to represent the
Zeugma—use of two different words in a
grammatically similar way that produces
different, often incongruous, meanings