Literary Terms List: Great Tips to Write A+ Essay Easily

Literary Terms List: Great Tips to Write A+ Essay Easily

“Tommy made fun of me, so I nicked his eye with a stick.” –  It’s a typical example of diction – one of the literary terms, which refers to a writer’s choice of word. Writing an essay is always about choosing the correct words. Rhetoric is an art of impressive speaking you should learn if you want to persuade the reader that your standpoint is worth listening to.

Perhaps, immersion is the most effective way to learn a second language or complete filling the vocabulary of native English (according to statistics, many people know just 70% of their native language). This article is a guide, which is aimed at teaching you how to use common figures of rhetoric. It contains an impressive literary terms list, which makes it possible to turn a regular, boring writing process in a lot of fun for both writers and readers.

How many times have you heard advice to read more if you want to write good texts? Believe, reading really helps! The more you read, the more you learn about the world around and successful writing in particular. When reading a book, you learn a number of common devices of rhetoric and memorize the usage of certain expressive means of language. Do you want to enrich your baggage of skills and knowledge with the powerful writing techniques? We would advise a professional team of writers ready to complete any sort of academic assignment within the deadline! Read our guide to create a literary work using our menu of various terms.

Literary Terms List: the Best Devices to Enrich Your Writing!

The language of rhetoric literary analysis is a difficult task to master. It is hard to understand the way they work without having several good examples. Our article contains a brief literary terms dictionary to help young writers and students make their stories more poetic, interesting, and really breathtaking!

Off we go, it makes sense to define what literary terms mean. Every time a writer decides to come up with the new story, he/she does not plan just to describe what happened in details. A good literature device helps to enrich the text. The usage of certain language means help to add the texture, tone, dynamics, excitement to a book story. These devices assist in grabbing the reader’s attention as powerful hook sentences do at the beginning of each essay. The rhetorical narrative techniques can help to convey information.

We will name the rhetorical literary terms list in the alphabetical order to make it easier to follow. Every item plays an important role in writing. Feel free to use these elements when composing your academic paper.


If the author wants to reflect some abstract ideas, an allegory is the best way to do this. The main purpose of adding this common rhetorical device to the story is to teach a certain lesson. Have a look at the abstract below:

  • To make a good example, it is important to recall George Orwell’s writing in the shape of a famous novel Animal Farm, which is full of political literary devices, allegories. The main plot describes a typical barnyard as the location. These settings reflect the Communist party in Russia (1917-1943); to understand Orwell, it is critical to know the Russian political history.


It is a figure of speech where the author uses a repeated sound of the first/second letter in a phrase, or the repetition of the same letter sounds in stressed syllables of a sentence. Check the example below:

  • Do you want to find a good example? Read Shakespeare's novels carefully: "With bloody blameful blade he bravely broached his bloody boiling breast." As you can see, alliteration is a rhetorical device, which is used with the aim to add certain poetic expressiveness with the help of repeated sounds.


Those writers who prefer creating poems should be aware of the allusion – poetry makes allusion more powerful, and vice versa. It is a word/phrase created to recall something in the reader’s mind. The author cannot name the object; he/she just gives a hint. Such a method of calling particular things to mind can be noticed in many pieces of poetry. Examples of this common rhetorical device can be found even in the Holy Bible. The technique is effective if you want to add context/depth to the theme.

  • An example is from the New Testament where the writer refers to Lazarus who used to resurrect thanks to his faith:

“Night after night our hero lay in bed with the flu, hacking mucus and blood and seeing behind his eyelids the angels or devils come to take him; but one morning, like Lazarus, he was whole again…”


This is a comparison of two or more objects. It is one more language device you should know how to use in your essays. The analogy helps to create a relationship based on connections between the ideas to give readers a better sense of an object to have a clear understanding of the motif. Sometimes, the analogy may be used for a flashback to emphasize a thesis.


Do you think that an apostrophe is a punctuation mark? An apostrophe is a literary term that is often confused with the punctuation mark because not all students know that another meaning of this word is the literacy tool. It is used if the author refers to the individual who isn’t there or the object that does not exist. Fiction, poetry, and music are the three most popular areas of an apostrophe.

  • To explain this element from the literary terms list, Shakespeare steps in with his famous story about tragic love, Romeo & Juliet. In Act II Scene II, Juliet says, ''O, Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?'',  and the reader knows Romeo is hiding in Juliet’s yard; he is listening to her words silently but the girl has no idea that her beloved is there, thinking she is alone at night.


This is a form of a resemblance of sound between a line of syllables in the words, getting from the vowel rhyming. In fact, rhyme is a special case of assonance.


This term means the final part of a play on stage or a film where the strands of the plot are drawn together and conflict goes to the resolution.


Dialogue is one of the most frequently used techniques. What is the purpose of its usage? It is a conversation between two or more characters, which is aimed at showing the action between the protagonist/antagonist in the story. It can be direct contact between a good person/bad person, etc.


Our literary terms list includes an epigraph, which stands for the specific quotation from the work of another author under the essay’s title ( remember that quotations appear in italics).

  • Most of the examples are the works of poetry and some famous essays. People who have read Eliot's well-known poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” may have noticed a reference to the world-known Dante's Inferno in the following line:

If I but thought that my response was made

to one perhaps returning to the world,

this tongue of flame would cease to flicker.

Don't forget to avoid copyright infringement during creating your own story! You can cite the poems correctly using any writing style/format listed below:

  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago
  • Turabian
  • Harvard
  • Oxford
  • Vancouver
  • IEEE
  • AMA
  • ASA

Take into account that all of the above-mentioned writing styles have their own distinctive features and peculiarities. MLA, APA, Chicago are the most frequently used styles every student should know. Before using any of them, check the citation rules.


This device serves as a figurative language that helps to describe things visually in a literary content to draw a picture in the readers' minds. Just one line can be enough to see a full picture. Use imagery if you want your reader to understand emotions and the mood of the character. Sometimes, a line containing imagery can sound much more powerful than the whole paragraph without expressive language devices.  


The ironic humor is related to disagreement with norms. In such a situation, the subject is represented by the meaning opposite to the traditional. The usage of irony helps to create a feeling that the description of an event, object, or a person is different from the reality. Have a look at this line: “ Come to my castle!” - He said showing his small poor room. In most cases, irony has a negative meaning.


The reader may lose interest in reading if he doesn't get some good hints from the author. The writer should be careful with the given tools; he/she is not supposed to open the secret of the story’s ending by providing minor hints.

  • Train to use foreshadowing by reading the numerous essays by Ernest Hemingway, where almost every line contains brilliant language means. Before his main character dies during the rain in “A Farewell to Arms”, the popular writer describes a scene with the hero mentioning that he is scared off by the rain for the reason of seeing her death.


It is an exaggeration of things not meant to be taken literally. The point of using a line with the hyperbole is to make things more dramatic. It can be used for setting a climax to create an effect of drama to the readers.

  • Search for hyperbole in the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird". "A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County."


A list of literary terms cannot be complete without a metaphor – a popular technique used to compare & contrast two or more objects directly.

  • Let’s return to the works of William Shakespeare, where every page is full of various perfect language devices. Here is the line with the metaphor. Romeo tells, “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.” Juliet appears as the main source of light on Earth instead of being recalled as a regular woman.

In case you wish to sound like William Shakespeare or another famous world’s author, purchase a professional essay or story from the academic writing service online on the professional site page.


It is a literary term, which helps to imitate a similar sound of a certain thing or an object. It creates an effect that mimics the described object; this device makes the description more interesting and vivid. On a page of almost any story, you can find onomatopoeia. Usually, words imitating sounds of animals and different objects are used.


An oxymoron commonly contains just one or two words that have a conflicting definition. A comical oxymoron can be used for a comedy genre.


Parodic humor is a symbol of a funny imitation if the author shows someone to the readers to make other people laugh at them.


The author may attribute a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human. He or she may represent an abstract quality in the form of a human.


Satire is a literary term that means the satirical humor when the writer uses jokes referred to problems of a human. The author shows the audience people weakness and issues of the society.


A literary terms dictionary should have a simile on the list. It exists to compare & contrast different objects, characters, traits/features, or events with the help of certain words (e.g., “like” or “as”). It is not a direct comparison. You shouldn’t confuse it with the metaphor.

  • If you need a humorous example of a simile, look at “A Christmas Carol” – a story about the greedy man, written by Charles Dickens. He mentioned, “Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.”


This term means a grouped set of lines in poetry that keeps the set off from other text. Most of the stanzas have a regular rhyme.

Read about other famous American writers who applied different literacy tools!

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Both students and professional authors would benefit from using the literary devices' dictionary. We hope that our common literary terms list made it possible to learn more helpful writing techniques to improve your essays and short stories. If you want an expert to enrich your writing with various literacy tools, do not hesitate to buy custom academic help from the market leaders! We will help to craft killer papers, which will definitely stand out!

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