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Terminology: The Language of Poetry

In this worksheet, students study the terminology often associated with analysing poetry and poetic conventions.

'Terminology: The Language of Poetry' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Reading

Curriculum subtopic:   Poetic Convention Awareness

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

When we look at poetry there are lots of keywords to remember!  You need to use these keywords in your explanations in order to get the best marks, but this is tricky if you are not sure what they all mean. 


Which words do you find difficult to remember, or struggle to understand their meaning?


Take a look at the list of words below and see if you are familiar with them all?



Accent: The prominence or emphasis given to a syllable or word. In the word poetry, the accent (or stress) falls on the first syllable.

Alliteration: The repetition of the same or similar sounds at the beginning of words, e.g. "fluffy flakes of falling snow".

Assonance: The repetition or a pattern of similar sounds, within a word, especially vowel sounds, e.g. "fleet feet sweep by sleeping geeks".

Figure of speech: A verbal expression in which words or sounds are arranged in a particular way to achieve a particular effect.

Lyric: A poem, such as a sonnet or an ode, that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. A lyric poem may resemble a song in form or style.

Meter: The arrangement of a line of poetry by the number of syllables and the rhythm of accented (or stressed) syllables.

Metaphor: A figure of speech in which two things are compared, by saying one thing is another, e.g. The sea is an angry dog.

Onomatopoeia: A figure of speech in which words are used to imitate sounds, e.g. buzz, hiss, zing, clippety-clop, and tick-tock.

Personification: A figure of speech in which things or abstract ideas are described like people, e.g. The autumn wind is a pirate.

Quotation: Exact words taken from a poem, maybe when writing about it.

Refrain (or chorus): A line or group of lines that is repeated throughout a poem, usually after every stanza.

Rhyme: When the same or similar sounds are at the end of two or more words.

Rhyming couplet: In a poem, a pair of lines that rhyme, are the same length, and form a complete thought.

Rhythm: The beat of the poem, how the words are arranged in a pattern.

Simile: A figure of speech in which two things are compared using the word "like" or "as", e.g. as hot as mustard.

Stanza: A verse of a poem.

Sonnet: A lyric poem that is 14 lines long.

Stress: See accent. The emphasis given to particular syllables. Stressed syllables usually stand out because they have long, rather than short, vowels,

Theme: What the poem is about or the message it is giving.



This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a great place to start!  We recommend you make a note of any words that you find a challenge.

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