Authors and Writing,Learning

Writing Terms

Image_008Do you need to know what the following terms mean to call yourself a Writer (with a capital ‘W’)?

Not really, but if you want to extend your knowledge around your craft, you might want to have at least heard or seen these words.  Besides, “Practice Makes Perfect,” and learning your trade is practicing. Here you go. Oh. And keep writing!

Litotes: \ ˈlī-tə-ˌtēz — Understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of the contrary (as in “not a bad singer” or “not unhappy”)

Ablaut:  \ ˈä-ˌblau̇t — a systematic variation of vowels in the same root or affix or in related roots or affixes especially in the Indo-European languages that is usually paralleled by differences in use or meaning (as in sing, sang, sung, song)

Allusion: \ ə-ˈlü-zhən \ —

1. an implied or indirect reference especially in literature 

  • a poem that makes allusions to classical literaturealso: the use of such references
2the act of making an indirect reference to something: the act of alluding to something

Anacoluthon: \ ˌa-nə-kə-ˈlü-ˌthän \ — syntactical inconsistency or incoherence within a sentence; especially: a shift in an unfinished sentence from one syntactic construction to another (as in “you really ought—well, do it your own way”)

Diacritic: \ ˌdī-ə-ˈkri-tik \ — a mark near or through an orthographic or phonetic character or combination of characters indicating a phonetic value different from that given the unmarked or otherwise marked element. A good example is déjà vu.

Gerund: \ ˈjer-ənd, ˈje-rənd \

1: a verbal noun in Latin that expresses generalized or uncompleted action

2any of several linguistic forms analogous to the Latin gerund in languages other than Latin; especially the English verbal noun ending in -ing that has the function of a substantive and at the same time shows the verbal features of tense, voice, and capacity to take adverbial qualifiers and to govern (see govern 4) objects


Idiom:  \ ˈi-dē-əm \

1a: the language peculiar to a people or to a district, community, or class: dialect
b: the syntacticalgrammatical, or structural form peculiar to a language
2an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself either grammatically (such as no, it wasn’t me) or in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements (such as ride herd on for “supervise”)
3a style or form of artistic expression that is characteristic of an individual, a period or movement, or a medium or instrument — the modern jazz idiombroadly: mannerstyle a new culinary idiom


Infinitive:  \ in-ˈfi-nə-tiv \

a verb form normally identical in English with the first person singular that performs some functions of a noun and at the same time displays some characteristics of a verb, and that is used with to (as in “I asked him to go“) except with auxiliary and various other verbs (as in “no one saw him leave“)

Metaphor: \ ˈme-tə-ˌfȯr also -fər 

1figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly: figurative language — compare simile
2an object, activity, or idea treated as a metaphor: symbol 2


Simile:  \ ˈsi-mə-(ˌ)lē \

1: figure of speech comparing two unlike things.  It is often introduced by like or as (as in cheeks like roses) — compare metaphor.


Thank you to Merriam Webster for these definitions (with the pronunciation following each word in bold)

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