English content vocabulary and definitions
Literature: Compositions that tell stories (fiction), dramatize situations (performance literature), express emotions (poetry) and analyze ideas (nonfiction).
Grammar: The study of the structure of a language.
Genre: A distinctive type of literature: ex: fiction, drama, poetry
Sentence: A group of words that expresses a complete thought.
Fiction: Literature works that describe imaginary people and events.
Fragment: A group of words that expresses an incomplete thought. Missing either subject, verb, or both.
Nonfiction: Writings that convey factual information – real people, real events.
Subject: Names the person, place, thing, or idea that the sentence is about.
Predicate: Also known as the verb; tells something about the subject. Either action or linking.
Poetry: Literary works written in verse.
Pronoun: Takes the place of a noun in a sentence.
Drama: Works written for performance on stage, television, movies, or radio.
Short Story: Work of prose fiction that is shorter than a novel or a novella.
Adverb: Describes a verb, adjective, or adverb. Answers questions: “how?” “where?” “when?” and “to what extent?”
Prose: Ordinary style of writing. Example: newspapers, magazines, novels, essays.
Preposition: Shows the relationship between a noun or a pronoun and another word in the sentence.
Science Fiction: Futuristic fiction using an aspect of science as a plot essential.
Conjunction: Words that connect words or groups of words. Example: and, or, but
Mystery: Fiction dealing with a mysterious crime.
Interjection: Words that show high emotion – No! Watch Out!
Biography: Someone’s life story written by another.
Autobiography: A self-written life story.
Essay: Short piece of nonfiction that examines a single subject from a limited point of view.
Diagramming: A plan, a drawing, or outline designed to demonstrate or explain how something works or relates as a whole.
Character: One of the people portrayed in a piece of fiction or performance literature (drama).
Complement: Word that completes the meaning of an action verb.
Theme: Message of a literary work.
Direct Object: A noun or pronoun that receives the verb’s action.
Setting: Time and place of a story or play.
Indirect Object: Answers the question “to whom” or “for whom” to the direct object.
Point of View: Who is telling the story?
Object Complement: modifies or describes the direct object and comes after the direct object in the sentence.
Plot: What happens in the story.
Irony: The difference between what appears to be and what really is.
Protagonist: The main character
Antagonist: The character who plays opposite the main character.
Simile: Comparison of unlike objects using like, as, or resembles.
Metaphor: Comparison of two unlike objects by saying one IS the other.
Personification: Giving human characteristics to an animal, object, or idea.
Tone: The author’s attitude: objective, playful, sad, serious, formal, comical
Mood: Overall feeling or atmosphere created for the reader.
Foreshadowing: Hints about what may happen in the future.
Resolution: The outcome; how it all ends up.
Dialogue: Written conversation between two or more characters. Single character performs a soliloquy.
Flashback: Interrupts the story to relate an event that happened in the past.
Dialect: A way of speaking that is unique to a group of people.
Comic Relief: Comedy (or character) in a story that is there to ease the tension. Ex: the nurse in Romeo and Juliet
Symbolism: A symbol stands for an idea: EX A road could symbolize life’s journey.
Imagery: Language that appeals to the senses.
Inverted: Reversal of the normal word order of a sentence.
Rhyme: Repetition of accented vowel sounds and all sounds following them. EX: choice and voice
Antecedent: The word that a pronoun refers to in a sentence.
Rhythm: Musical quality in language produced by repetition.
Tense: Indicates the time of the action or the state of being expressed by the verb.
Hyperbole: Figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion or to create a comic effect.
Passive Voice: A verb expressing action received by the subject.