Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceHomework Help · 1 decade ago

I am having trouble differentiating between several terms needed for an essay?

On an essay outline I recieved recently, there are a lot of terms that I am unfamiliar with. Funny enough I don't know what "term" means in this context:

"Topical Sentence(s): Begin with a rhetorical question, a discussion of the terms, or a quotation. Outline your understanding of the terms and topic."

It is also suggested that I:

"Define or Interpret the terms that are given to you. Rather than making your chosen text fit within the confines of the terms that are given to you, make the terms fit to your text. The terms you are given are synonymous to or easily associated to other things. eg. Security: Acceptance from others, confidence, safety, etc..."

I also need to consider the following in an essay I have to write in response to an article:




rhetorical devices

figurative and poetic devices

literal/figurative language







I already asked my teacher for help but I'm still not clear on a couple things.

My understanding is that diction and terminology is the same thing and they indicate the use of hard words/ advanced vocab. Syntax is how well the words were put together (so a very long sketchy comment would most likely have poor syntax).

I think rhetorical, figurative, and poetic devices are the same and they are examples of metaphors, similes, rhetorical questions, personification, anthropomorphy, and anything that induces imagery.

The theme and message is the moral/message of the literature. I have a feeling though that they are supposed to be two different things.

Tone is the emotion conveyed to the reader through the diction and syntax. But I don't understand how tone is different from voice and style?

Genre is the setting of the literature (but not necessarily time and place). A scientific article would have a totally different genre from Jungle Book (the latter I find is a lot easier to describe).

I think I got most of these terms correct, but if there is a mistake please correct me. Without thouroughly knowing these terms, it is impossible for me to write a good essay knowing my teachers and professors will like it, and the writter's block that comes with the stress is always fun to deal with.

1 Answer

  • Anne
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hi there, don't worry you seem to be pretty well educated on this stuff..

    The 'Term" is referring to the terms on which you are expected to be dealing with this essay. For example- if the questions states "Describe and evaluate the main character" Then the TERMS on which you are answering this question are that you are DESCRIBING and EVALUATING..

    The term in the question could be one of many different things- argue,asses,calculate,compare,contast comment, analyse etc etc.

    You are suggested to define the TERM set out to you so that you are fully equipped to answer the question, and so that you understand exactly How you are supposed to be answering.

    I think the bit about making the term fit to the chosen text, not the text to the term.. means that you shouldn't just be using the same text for any question/term.. you should take time to consider what the TERM is requiring from you and then pick a suitable text so that you can discuss that term..

    EG- if the term is compare and contrast a sequence in the text , (with another novel you already know ) then you would have to make sure that the sequence you pick has enough similarties and differences to the other novel so that you can compare and contrast.

    There is a difference between theme and message..

    Theme - overall TOPIC of the text.. eg - LOVE

    Message - something that the author is trying to convey (wrapped up within the theme) - perhaps same sex marriage is the message when the theme is LOVE

    TONE - This is the overall expression in writing of a writer’s attitude-

    On the theme of Love his attitude could be - positive, or mocking, or hopeful (so you are right about emotion conveyed - OVERALL emotion)

    VOICE—This is the individual WAY in which writers or narrators EXPRESSES tone -

    This refers to HOW he does it -

    eg- If the authors overall tone is one of pessimism and mockery towards love - his VOICE conveys this through using poor and unsophisticated Syntax.

    STYLE - The impressions, such as gracefulness, fluency, and seriousness, of a piece of writing; style can also refer to the sound of a piece of writing, whether formal (with long sentences, many balanced constructions, or erudite vocabulary) or informal (that is, conversational or colloquial)

    The authors style is informal, unbalanced and gritty, this is created by a deliberatly poor and unsophisticated voice which sets the mocking tone of this romantic novel.

    Hope that makes sense?

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