These verbs will be especially effective when the subject is the author or a character. They are excellent replacements for“be” verbs and instrumental in the formulation of thesis and theme statements. Careful use of these verbs can result in precise identification of an author’s purpose. Follow your teacher’s directions to categorize the verbs as transitive, intransitive, positive, negative, or neutral.
invective* proponent* assertion adherent * red herring*
qualifier* begging the question* justification cause/effect
Extending elaboration bycomparing
Extending elaboration bycontrasting
Extending elaboration byemphasizing/clarifying
Extending elaboration byadding another example
at first, as before, finally, immediately, later, next, now, previously, soon, then
above, ahead, among, beyond, down, elsewhere, farther, here, in front of, in the background, near, nearby, next to, there
first, second, third,
similarly, as, in the same way, for instance, likewise, however
as, at the same time, by comparison, equally, in the same manner, likewise, similarly
although, and yet, as, as though, at the same time, but, in contrast, conversely, even so, unlike, even though, however, in spite of, instead of, neither, nevertheless, on the one hand, on the other hand, provided that, though, unfortunately, whereas, yet
especially, for instance, in fact, indeed, that is, in other words
most important, now, so , additionally, again, also, especially, in addition, in fact, last, again, also, besides, equally important, furthermore, similarly, in contrast
Transition list from Crafting Expository Argument by Michael Degen
THEME VOCABULARY Brendan Kenny’s List of Abstract Ideas for Forming Theme Statements:
appearance v. reality
faith/loss of faith
heart v. reason
journey (literal or
social status (class)
IDENTIFYING THEME Method A (sample from Writing Essays about Literature by Kelley Griffith):
1. What is the work about? Provide a one to three word answer. See “Theme Vocabulary” above.
2. What is the author’s message with regard to #1 as it pertains to the human condition? In other words, what comment does the work make on human nature, the human condition, human motivation, or human ambition?
3. In identifying and stating theme, be sure that the observation
(a) is not too terse to express the complexity of the human experience
(b) avoids moralizing words such as should and ought
(c) avoids specific reference to plot and characters
(d) avoids absolute words such as anyone, all, none, everything, and everyone
4. Using both dependent and independent clauses, write a complex sentence which fulfills the requirements above and which explains one of the major themes of the work.
Sample for Anna Karenina: Subject: sacred versus profane love
Theme: Although people can, through no fault of their own, become entrapped in long-lasting and destructive relationships, “sacred” commitments, like marriage and parenthood, take precedence over extramarital “loves,” no matter how passionate and deeply felt they may be.
How to Connect Rhetorical Choices to Meaning Diction
Identify the grammatical unit (phrase, noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.) and provide the context in which it appears in the text. Consider connotation as well as denotation. Do NOT write: The writer uses diction. That’s like saying: The writer uses words.
Connect the diction to the meaning of this text. Avoid generic commentary. Provide an original insight. Pay attention to your own diction. It enhances your analysis.
The phrase* ____________________________ used to describe/identify__________________________________ conveys _______________________ since / because / in that ___________________________________________ ______________. This is significant because _______________________________________________________.
* or the noun, verb, adjective, adverb
Example (first half only):
The phrase, “a thin beard of ivy,” used to describe Gatsby’s mansion conveys a sense of _____________________.
Identify the syntactical choice the author has made and provide the context in which it appears in the text. Do NOT write: The writer uses syntax. Since syntax refers to the order and structure of words, phrases, etc, it always exists – even if you do not find it noteworthy.
Connect the syntax to the meaning of this text. Avoid generic commentary. Provide an original insight. Pay attention to your own diction. It enhances your analysis.
The ________________________________ function(s) to ____________________________________
Gatsby’s interrupted sentences dramatize his nervousness and hesitation as he discusses his upcoming meeting with Daisy at Nick’s bungalow. Gatsby says “Why, I thought – why, look here, old sport, you don’t make very much money, do you?”
Some other examples of purposeful syntactical choices an author might make: parallelism, anaphora, rhetorical question, appositives, polysyndeton, asyndeton, prepositional phrases, etc. According to Jeff Sommers and Max Morenberg, authors of The Writer’s Options, appositives define, summarize, and clarify. Prepositional phrases may elaborate and clarify by indicating how, where, when, why.
Imagery (word pictures appealing to one of the 5 senses – if you can’t identify which one, it isn’t a valid example of imagery)
Identify the image and provide the context in which it appears in the text.
Connect the image to the meaning of this text. Avoid generic commentary. Provide an original insight. Pay attention to your own diction. It enhances your analysis.
The image of ______________________________ depicts a (picture, sense, state, etc.) of __________ _____________________________ because the reader (sees, envisions, realizes) that ______________ ___________________________________________________________________________________.
The image (40) of an “argument . . . pull[ing]” Nick back to the party “as if with ropes” conveys his helpless struggle to get away from the gathering in Tom and Myrtle’s apartment at the same time that it dramatizes his fascination with the events that are occurring.
Figurative Language: Metaphor or Simile
Identify the metaphor or simile and provide the context in which it appears in the text.
Connect the metaphor or simile to the meaning of this text. Avoid generic commentary. Provide an original insight. Pay attention to your own diction. It enhances your analysis.
The subject of (x) __________________________ is compared to (y) _________________________. This is fitting because (x) __________________________ and (y) ___________________________ share these characteristics: (a) ______________________________________________________ and (b) ____________________________________________________.
In his “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. compares the condition of poverty to a “lonely island.” This is a fitting comparison because poverty and a lonely island share these characteristics: (a)
isolation and alienation from the “vast ocean of material prosperity” which surrounds them and (b) both are small, singled out, vulnerable, and surrounded by something they don’t possess.
Figurative Language: Personification (a figure of speech in which animals, abstract ideas, or inanimate things are referred to as if they were human)
Identify the animal, abstract idea, or inanimate thing and provide the context in which it appears in the text. Identify the human characteristic that is ascribed to it.
Connect the effect of the personification to the meaning of this text. Avoid generic commentary. Provide an original insight. Pay attention to your own diction. It enhances your analysis.
In _______________________________, ___________________is personified as possessing the human
characteristic(s) of ___________________________________________ . The author employs
personification in order to___________________________________________________________.
"Today, we begin a new chapter in the history of Louisiana. I've said throughout the campaign that there are two entities that have the most to fear from us winning this election. One is corruption and the other is incompetence. If you happen to see either of them, let them know the party is over."
-- Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Governor-Elect victory Speech (as posted on americanrhetoric.com)
In Bobby Jindal’s victory speech, the abstract ideas of corruption and incompetence are personified as possessing human form and consciousness. The governor-elect suggests that members of his audience might encounter or “see” them and should inform them that their good times (“party”) are over. Jindal employs personification in order to assure his audience that he will not tolerate corruption or incompetence in his administration.
Figurative Language: Hyperbole (deliberate exaggeration used to heighten effect or create humor – remember that this is a figure of speech not meant to be interpreted literally – e.g., I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.)
Identify what is being exaggerated and provide the context in which it appears in the text. Identify
Connect the effect of the hyperbole to the meaning of this text. Avoid generic commentary. Provide an original insight. Pay attention to your own diction. It enhances your analysis.
The speaker uses the deliberate exaggeration of _________________________________ to express
The pearls Daisy Buchanan rescues from the trash and subsequently wears “around her neck” symbolize her ultimate choice of money over love because they represent Tom’s vast wealth (they were “valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars”) in contrast to Gatsby’s avowal of love, symbolized by the letter she “wouldn’t let go of.”
Identify the detail and provide the context in which it appears in the text.
Describe the function of the inclusion of that detail in this text. Avoid generic commentary. Provide an original insight. Pay attention to your own diction. It enhances your analysis.
The detail of _____________________________________________ conveys _____________________ ___________________. The author wants the reader to see ____________________________________.
The detail of the string of polo ponies Tom Buchanan brought east with him from Chicago conveys his vast wealth and hedonism. Fitzgerald wants the reader to see Tom as spoiled and self-indulgent.
Identify the allusion (indirect reference by an author to another text, historical occurrence, or to myths and legends) and provide the context in which it appears in the text.
Describe the function of the allusion in this text. Avoid generic commentary. Provide an original insight. Pay attention to your own diction. It enhances your analysis.
The author or speaker alludes to ________________________________________ in order to
Hamlet alludes to Hyperion, in his first soliloquy, comparing his dead father to the mythological sun god in order to emphasize his father’s nobility and goodness in contrast to the morally inferior character Claudius who has usurped the throne.
Examples of “generic” commentary: gets the reader’s attention, draws the reader in, etc.
Grading Scale Guidelines
pre-AP and AP Timed Writings
RUBRIC (GENERIC) FOR AP ASSIGNMENTS
9: Papers earning a score of 9 meet the criteria for 8 papers and, in addition, are especially full or apt in their analysis, sophisticated in their explanation and argument, or impressive in their control of language.
8: Papers earning a score of 8 respond to the prompt effectively, answering all parts of the question completely and demonstrating clear understanding of the passage; recognizes complexities of attitude or tone; demonstrates stylistic maturity through an effective command of sentence structure, diction, and organization; insightful thesis clearly linked to the evidence or assertions presented; seamless incorporation of quotations; consistent focus
7: Papers earning a score of 7 fit the description of 6 papers, but provide a more complete analysis, explanation, or argument OR demonstrate a more mature prose style.
6: Papers earning a score of 6 respond to the prompt adequately, accurately answering all parts of the question and using appropriate evidence, but they are less fully or effectively developed than essays in the top range;. discussion of techniques used in a passage may be less thorough and less specific; well-written in an appropriate style, but with less maturity than the top papers; demonstrates sufficient control over the elements of writing to present the writer’s ideas clearly; clear, accurate thesis
5: Papers earning a score of 5 analyze, explain, or argue in response to the prompt, but do so unevenly, inconsistently, or insufficiently. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but it usually conveys the writer’s ideas. May be simplistic, imprecise, overly general or vague. Organization is attempted, but not fully realized.
4: Papers earning a score of 4 respond to the prompt inadequately. They may analyze or explain incorrectly, merely paraphrase, or offer little discussion. The prose generally conveys the writer’s ideas but may suggest immature control of writing. The writer attempts to answer the question, but does so either inaccurately or without the support of specific, persuasive evidence; may misinterpret or misrepresent the passage.
3: Papers earning a score of 3 meet the criteria for a score of 4, but demonstrate less success in analyzing, explaining, arguing, or providing specific textual evidence. They are less consistent in controlling the elements of writing.
2: Papers earning a score of 2 demonstrate little success in analyzing, explaining, or arguing. They may misunderstand the prompt or the passage, offer vague generalizations, substitute simpler tasks such as summarizing the passage or simple listing rhetorical strategies. The prose often demonstrates consistent weaknesses in writing.
may be unacceptably brief or poorly written on several counts; response lacks clarity
1: Papers earning a score of 1 meet the criteria for a 2 but are undeveloped, especially simplistic in their explanation and /or argument, or weak in their control of language.
0: Indicates an on-topic response that receives no credit, such as one that merely repeats the prompt.
_: Indicates a blank response or one that is completely off-topic.
8: Demonstrates competence 9 = an enhanced eight
6: Suggests competence 7 = an enhanced six
4: Suggests incompetence 3 = a diminished four
2: Demonstrates incompetence 1 = a diminished 2
5: Goes in and out like static when you’re trying to tune in a radio station
UPPER HALF PAPERS employ an “enriched” vocabulary. The writer “does the work” of guiding the reader through effective organization and fluid syntax.
LOWER HALF PAPERS demonstrate an “impoverished” vocabulary. The reader “does the work” trying to make sense out of what the writer has written.
POETRY FOCUS STATEMENT
DEFINITION: A ONE TO TWO-SENTENCE SUMMARY OF THE NARRATIVE SITUATION, THEME AND TONE OF A POEM.
AS A POTENTIAL THESIS FOR A FREE-RESPONSE POETRY QUESTION ON THE AP LIT EXAM
INCLUDES THE TITLE OF THE POEM AND THE NAME OF THE POET
IS WRITTEN IN “LITERARY PRESENT TENSE”
SPECIFIES THE NARRATIVE SITUATION OF THE POEM
INCLUDES A THOUGHTFUL, BUT CONCISE INDICATION OF THEME
IDENTIFIES THE TONE(S) OF THE POEM. THESE MAY BE DIFFERING BUT COMPLEMENTARY. SHIFTS IN TONE MAY BE IDENTIFIED AS WELL.
THE SYNTAX OF POETRY FOCUS STATEMENTS IS COMPOUND OR COMPLEX BECAUSE YOU ARE ADDRESSING BOTH THE LITERAL (THE NARRATIVE SITUATION) AND THE THEMATIC.
DRAW A STRAIGHT LINE UNDER THE LITERAL PART OF THE STATEMENT. IT SHOULD BE SUBORDINATED TO THE THEMATIC. THAT IS, IT SHOULD BE FOUND IN THE DEPENDENT CLAUSE.
DRAW A SQUIGGLY LINE UNDER THE THEMATIC PART OF THE STATEMENT. IT SHOULD BE FOUND IN THE MAIN OR INDEPENDENT CLAUSE.
ARTICULATE YOURSELF IN A SCHOLARLY MANNER. SEE “VERBS FOR LITERARY ANALYSIS” AND “TONE WORDS” IN THE YELLOW PAGES.