USEFUL TERMS- A few definitions

The syllable , " It would do no harm as an act of correction to both prose and verse, as now written, if both rime and metre, and in the quantity words, both sense and sound, were less in the foreground of the mind than the syllable - if the syllable, that fine creature were more allowed to lead the harmony on." Charles Olson, Poetry New York 1950 (Scully)

The sentence ; Robert Frost, "I give you a new definition of a sentence; A sentence is a sound in itself on which other sounds called words may be strung. You may string words together without a sentence sound to string them on just as you may tie clothes together by the sleeve and stretch them without a clothes line between two trees, but - it is bad for the clothes. " (letter to J.T.Bartlett, in Selected Letters).

The Narrative,
truth and fiction;The respected Oxford Alderman, Mr. Trelawny, had regarded his favourite book Robinson Crusoe as Holy Writ. On being told it was the journal of a Scottish sailor worked up into a narrative, he replied, "Your information sir may be very correct, but I wish you had witheld it for in undeceiving me , you have deprived me of one of the greatest pleasures of my old age." .

a figure of speech The poet Robert Lowell suggested he stayed with his friend the Tates." ... "We really haven't any room, you'd have to pitch a tent on the lawn" So I went to Sears Roebuck and got a tent and rigged it on their lawn. The Tates were too polite to tell me what they'd said had been just a figure of speech." (Sculley)

metaphor a direct comparison of one thing with another (without like or as) "Metaphor creates a new reality from which the original appears to be unreal." Wallace Stevens, from Opus Posthumous, quoted in Scully p.156, "Reality is a cliche from which we escape by metaphor.""Metaphors ? Metaphors - they didn't have metaphors when I was a kid." Fred Truman, Yorkshire cricketer. quoted Private Eye , August 1996.

cliche a stereotyped expression, with implications of the duplication of the original. "Two cliches make us laugh but a hundred cliches move us," Umbert Eco of the film Casablanca. Travels in Hyperreality Paladin, London 1987.
"What is a bad thing worse than ?" - "Useless"
"What can one do with firece resistance, especially in Russia ?" - "Offer it."
" But if one puts fierce resistance, in what direction does one put it ?" - " Up."
The Myles na Copaleen Catechism of Cliche , in K.O Nolan, The Best of Myles, Picador, 1968.

simile a comparison between two things linked with the words like or as.
alliteration where the same consonant sound is repeated in words and syllables in close succession.

onomatopoeia a word whose sound imitates the object inferred

irony where an artist intends one meaning but presents another ; "Every reader will greaatest difficulty detecting irony that mocks his own beliefs of characteristics." quoted in D.J.Enright, The Alluring Problem, an Essay on Irony, OUP London 1986.

ambiguity words open to more than one interpretation. A classical text is William Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity.
personification giving human shape or form to something non-human, ie Old Father Time.