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Ch 19: SAT Reading: Literary Terms

About This Chapter

Revisit key literary terms to review for your SAT. Use our short video lessons and quick quizzes for feedback to help you get ready for the critical reading portion of your test.

SAT Reading: Literary Terms - Chapter Summary

Get ready to shine in the critical reading portion of your SAT. Review the definitions and examples of these essential literary expressions:

  • Motifs and themes
  • Imagery and symbolism
  • Similes and metaphors
  • Irony
  • Illusion and allusion
  • Paradoxes, clichés and equivocations
  • Personification and apostrophe
  • Foreshadowing
  • Allegory
  • Limited, objective and omniscient points-of-view

SAT Reading Objectives

The critical reading part of your test has 52 questions. Demonstrate your abilities in the following areas through the sentence completions:

  • Knowledge of word meanings
  • Ability to understand the logical formation of sentences

The passage-based reading questions check your mastery of the following:

  • Determining the meanings of words from context
  • Understanding information directly stated
  • Synthesizing and analyzing information, while evaluating author techniques

The largest portion of the passage-based questions address extended reasoning skills. These might include identifying cause and effect, making inferences and recognizing main ideas or tone, in addition to following the reasoning behind an argument or an analogy. Our lessons will aid your review of these extended reasoning strategies.

The test passages vary in length from about 100-850 words and may be fiction or non-fiction. Readings could come from fields such as social studies, natural science or the humanities. They might include elements of expository, narrative or argumentative writing.

11 Lessons in Chapter 19: SAT Reading: Literary Terms
What Are Literary Motifs? - Definition & Examples

1. What Are Literary Motifs? - Definition & Examples

In this lesson, you will learn about how writers use themes in works of literature as a way to explore universal ideas like love and war. You will also explore motifs, or repeating objects and ideas, which can contribute to theme.

Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

2. Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

In this lesson you will learn how poets and authors use symbolism in their writing to make it more meaningful and interesting. Explore how descriptive writing called imagery appeals to the senses, adding to works of literature.

What is a Metaphor? - Examples, Definition & Types

3. What is a Metaphor? - Examples, Definition & Types

Metaphors are all around you. They're the bright sparkling lights that turn plain evergreens into Christmas trees. Learn how to spot them, why writers write with them, and how to use them yourself right here.

Similes in Literature: Definition and Examples

4. Similes in Literature: Definition and Examples

Explore the simile and how, through comparison, it is used as a shorthand to say many things at once. Learn the difference between similes and metaphors, along with many examples of both.

Types of Irony: Examples & Definitions

5. Types of Irony: Examples & Definitions

Discover, once and for all, what irony is and is not. Explore three types of irony: verbal, situational and dramatic, and learn about some famous and everyday examples.

Allusion and Illusion: Definitions and Examples

6. Allusion and Illusion: Definitions and Examples

Allusions and illusions have little in common besides the fact that they sound similar. Learn the difference between the two and how allusions are an important part of literature and writing - and how to spot them in text.

Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples

7. Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples

Learn about cliches, paradoxes, and equivocations, and how they can weaken or strengthen certain types of writing. Explore examples of all three from literature and daily life.

Personification and Apostrophe: Differences & Examples

8. Personification and Apostrophe: Differences & Examples

In this lesson, explore how writers use personification to give human characteristics to objects, ideas, and animals. Learn about apostrophe, or when characters speak to objects, ideas, and even imaginary people as if they were also characters.

What is Foreshadowing? - Types, Examples & Definitions

9. What is Foreshadowing? - Types, Examples & Definitions

Learn about how authors use foreshadowing, both subtle and direct, as part of their storytelling process. Explore many examples of foreshadowing, from classical plays to contemporary stories.

Allegory in Literature: History, Definition & Examples

10. Allegory in Literature: History, Definition & Examples

Learn about allegories and how stories can be used to deliver messages, lessons or even commentaries on big concepts and institutions. Explore how allegories range from straightforward to heavily-veiled and subtle.

Narrators in Literature: Types and Definitions

11. Narrators in Literature: Types and Definitions

Learn how point of view, or the angle from which a story is told, impacts the narrative voice of a work of literature. Explore, through examples, how point of view can be limited, objective, or omniscient.

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