Grade 11 Poetic Devices and Figurative Language Terms

the repetition of one or more initial sounds, usually consonants and vowels at the beginning of each word in a series

repetition of two or more vowel sounds within a line

repetition of two or more consonant sounds within a line

the us of a word whose sound suggests its meaning; imitative harmony. Certain words, such as hiss, bang, meow, imitate the sounds they represent

the use of compatible, harmonious sounds to produce a pleasing melodious effect; attempting to group words together harmoniously, so that the consonants permit an easy and pleasing flow of sound when spoken

the use of inharmonious sounds in close conjunction for effect; the poet intentionally mixes jarring or harsh sounds together in groups that make the phrasing either difficult to speak aloud or grating to the ear.

a direct comparison of two unlike objects using the words like, as or than.

a direct comparison of two unlike objects by identification or substitution; a comparison that is suggested or implied

an extended metaphor, a comparison that is often elaborate, extended or startling between objects which are apparently dissimilar

to give human or personal qualities to inanimate things or ideas

Pathetic Fallacy
the description of inanimate natural objects in a manner that endows them with human emotions, thoughts, sensations and feelings

an address to a person or personified object not present

the substitution of a word which relates to the object or person to be named, in place of the name itself

a part is used to represent the whole object or idea

gross exaggeration for effect; an overstatement

a figure of speech in which the speaker emphasizes the magnitude of a statement by denying its opposite

to express a disagreeable or unpleasant fact in agreeable languages

sharply opposing ideas are expressed within a balanced grammatical structure; opposition, or contrast of ideas or words in a balanced or parallel construction

a brief pointed saying that has the nature of a proverb; based on contrast

a statement which appears self-contradictory, but underlines a basis of truth; an apparently true statement or group of statements that leads to a contradiction or a situation which defies intuition.

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Typically, either the statements in question do not really imply the contradiction, the puzzling result is not really a contradiction or the premises themselves are not all really true or cannot all be true together.

two contradictory terms brought together to express a paradox for strong effect

Rhetorical Question
asking a question in a way that the answer, being obvious is no needed

a direct reference to a proper noun, the reference is usually mythological but could be legendary, religious, historical or literary; the invocation of a name recalls concurrently ideas, emotions, traditions, insights, moral and ethical stances.

the contrast between actual meaning and the suggestion of another meaning

Verbal Irony
meaning one thing and saying another; verbal irony may be confused with sarcasm, but sarcasm is harsh and direct while verbal irony is implied

Dramatic Irony
contrast between what the speaker says and what the author means or what the reader knows to be true

Situational Irony
when the reality of a situation differs from the anticipated or intended effect, when something unexpected occurs

the use of one object to suggest another hidden object or idea

words, sounds, devices are repeated primarily for the sake of emphasis; repetition is the most effective devices for precise emotional responses such as anger, fear, sorrow, defiance, etc

an appeal for inspiration and guidance from a deity or a muse

a reversal in the natural word order to help out the rhyme or rhythm

a metaphorical compound name for something in Anglo-Saxon poetry

In media res
“in the midst of things”, that is, in the middle of the narrative

Poetic License
a writer’s assumption that he may deviate from accepted standards of correctness for artistic effect.

the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase, producing a result that is easier for the speaker to pronounce.

a long, dignified narrative poem about the deeds of a traditional or historical hero or heroes of high station

a narrative poem, usually simple and fairly short, originally designed to be sung

a subjective reflective poem expressing the thoughts and especially the feelings of a single speaker; has a regular rhyme scheme

a verse form containing fourteen lines, in English usually iambic pentameter, and a complicated rhyme scheme

Shakespearean Sonnet
a sonnet consisting three quatrains and a concluding couplet in iambic pentameter with the rhyme pattern abab cdcd efef gg

Petrarchan Sonnet
a poem that falls into two parts: an octave of eight lines and a sestet of six; the octave rhyme pattern is “abba abba” (two sets of four lines); the sestet’s lines are more variable: “cde cde”; or “ced ced”; or “cd cd cd”. (also known as Italian Sonnet)

includes comedies, tragedies, farces; narrative but tells a story by means of speech and action

Dramatic Monologue
a poem consisting of the words of a single character who reveals in his speech his own nature and the dramatic situation. It reveals place, time and identities of the characters, and discloses the psychology of the speaker at a significant moment. The speaker addresses a listener who does not engage in dialogue but who helps to develop the speech.

an explanation of one thing by comparing it point by point with something else

an extended narrative which carries a second meaning along with its surface story, the people and/or events are symbolic

Japanese verse in three lines of five, seven and five syllables, often depicting a delicate image

humorous nonsense-verse in five anapestic lines rhyming aabba, a-lines being trimester and b-lines dimeter

uses certain letters, usually the first in each line form a word or message when read in a sequence

words of the poem form the shape of the object or idea it refers to

a 19-line poem consisting of give tercets and a final quatrain on two rhymes. The first and third lines of the first tercet repeat alternately as a refrain closing the succeeding stanzas and joined as the final couplet of the quatrain

shaped like a diamond, hence name
line 1: one noun, opposite of line seven
line 2: two adjectives describing line one
line 3: three verbs ending in ‘ing’ describing line one
line 4: first two nouns describe line one, last two nouns describe line seven
line 5: three verbs ending in ‘ing’ describing line seven
line 6: two adjectives describing line seven
line 7: one noun, opposite of line one

a form of poetry intended for instruction such as for knowledge or to teach

mocks the weaknesses and idiosyncrasies of human beings

describes simple, pleasant scenes of rural life

Blank Verse
unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter

Free Verse
non-consistency in length, meter, rhyme, or stanza form; is very rhythmic, often patterned after the spoken word

stanza of two lines

stanza of four lines which may follow a variety of rhyme schemes

End Rhyme
rhyme occurring at the ends of verse lines; most common rhyme

Internal Rhyme
word in the middle of the line rhymes with a word at the end of the line

Rhyme Scheme
pattern of rhymes with a unit of verse

a pause in the meter or rhythm of a line

a run-on line, continuing into the next without a grammatical break

the poetry’s rhythm or its pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables

a group of 2 or 3 syllables forming the basic unit of poetic rhythm

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Grade 11 Poetic Devices and Figurative Language Terms. (2017, Dec 21). Retrieved from

Grade 11 Poetic Devices and Figurative Language Terms
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