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The AP English Language exam requires identification and analysis of rhetorical devices in the multiple-choice and free-response section.

Here is a list of ten important rhetorical devices that will likely show up on your AP Language exam:

  • Analogy 📖  - Comparing two things based on structure; used to explain a complex idea in simpler terms. (Example: The movie was a roller coaster ride of emotions).
  • Antithesis ✅❌ - Two opposite ideas are parallelly constructed in a sentence to show contrast. (Example: Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing.)
  • Diction 📚 - Using specific word choice to achieve an effect (Example: using thy/thee/wherefore to imply a Shakesperean mood)
  • Ethos 👔 - Appealing to expert testimony or authority (Example: 9 out of 10 dentists recommend X Toothpaste)
  • Juxtaposition 😄 😢 - Placing two ideas together for contrast (Example: I thoroughly hate loving you.)
  • Logos 💻 - Appealing to reason/logic (Example: According to a meta-analysis of thousands of Americans, more than 90% of people sleep with their eyes closed.)
  • Pathos 😠 - Appealing to emotion (Example: Our country is the motherland!)
  • Rhetoric 📝 - Use of spoken or written word to convey ideas (Example: Nearly anything in AP Lang is 'rhetoric')
  • Syntax 💡 - The way sentences are grammatically structured, such as length (Example: I was frightened for my life, as the footsteps grew louder and louder, closer and closer. Then it was silent. I whimpered.)
  • Tone 🗣 - The author's attitude towards a subject (Example: Can someone tell me what is going on instead of keeping secrets? - signifies an annoyed tone)

This is not a complete list, but these ten figurative devices can serve as a guiding tool for your AP English Language exam preparation.

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