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Literary Terms:
Playing with words
Notes from Mr. Steven Van Zoost
Alliteration – consonants repeated in
succession: big bad Bertha
Assonance – the repetition at close
intervals of the vowel sounds of accented
syllables or important words:
Thou still unravished bride of quietness
Pun – a play on words, or a joke based on
words with several meanings, or on words
that sound alike but have different
Onomatopoeia – the use of words which in
their pronunciation suggest their
a) hiss, slam, buzz, sizzle
b) “The murmuring of innumerable bees”
Hyperbole – the extravagant exaggeration
for the sake of emphasis:
Her eyes were as big as saucers.
Understatement – representing something
as less than it actually is. For example,
saying something is “not bad” when it’s
really great. Understatement is the
opposite of hyperbole.
Jargon – the use of confusion to impress
you; the use of specialized language
particular to a trade, profession, or
group. Jargon may produce unintelligible
results when used outside of its special
interest group for purposes of:
1. To cover up the real meaning
2. To make the speaker seem important
and authoritative
Propaganda – its purpose is one-sided in
the information it gives in its effort to
persuade. It may omit information
negative to the cause or even lie in effort
to persuade. Propaganda plays on
emotion rather than reason.