The AP English Literature and Composition exam will ask you to identify and analyze a variety of literary devices. Of course, most people know tone and imagery, but what about some of the more infrequent terms? This post lists thirteen uncommon literary devices that can better prepare you for exam day!

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Obscure Literary Devices

💐 Anadiplosis = When the same word or phrase is used at the end of one sentence or clause and the beginning of the next sentence or clause.

🌸 Anaphora = Repetition or a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of two or more sentences in a row.

🍃 Aptronym = When a person’s name is particularly suited to their personality or occupation.

🌹 Asyndeton = Where conjunctions are omitted in a series of words, phrases or clauses.

🌻 Epizeuxis = The repetition of a word for emphasis.

🌺 Euphemism = A more agreeable or less offensive substitute for generally unpleasant words or concepts.

🌷 Exemplum = A brief tale used in medieval times to illustrate a sermon or teach a lesson.

🌴 Hypallage = Also called a “transferred epithet,” a literary device in which the syntax is jumbled up in order to make a sentence nonsensical.

🌿 Inaptronym = Where a person’s name is ironically unsuited to them.

🌾 Litotes = A particular form of understatement, generated by denying the opposite of the statement which otherwise would be used.

🌳 Metonymy = A figure of speech in which a person, place, or thing, is referred to by something closely associated with it.

🌼 Peripety = A sudden turn of events or reversal of fortunes.

🌱 Polysyndeton = The use of several conjunctions in succession for emphasis.


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