Language Arts Vocabulary



Setting: The time and place in which a story occurs. Details help the reader see, hear, feel, and smell what it is like to be in the story.


Characters: the people or animals in a story or non-fictional article.


Plot: It’s what happens in a story. A plot usually contains three parts: a problem, a climax, and a resolution


Conflict: A problem.


Climax: The place in the story where the action of the story builds and the conflict must be faced. 

Trick to Remember: Think of the villain climbing a ladder or stairs with an axe. (climax- climb axe) This is the point in the story where the villain or conflict must be faced. It is the exciting part of the story. 


Resolution: The place in the story where the problem is solved.


Compare and Contrast: to compare is to tell how things are alike; to contrast is to tell how things are different.



Cause & Effect:  Cause is why something happens and Effect is what happens as a result.  Example: A radio-active spider bite transformed Peter Parker into the amazing Spiderman. Cause: Radio-Active Spider bite; Effect: Peter Parker becomes Spiderman.



Drawing Conclusions:  a conclusion is a decision you reach that makes sense after you think about the details or facts you have read.  Drawing conclusions is sometimes called making an inference.  



Making Judgments:  to think about and decide how to react toward people, situations, and ideas in stories and articles that you read. Use what you know and your experiences to help you make judgments.


Predict: to tell what you think might happen next in a story based on what has already happened in a story. Your prediction is what you say will happen next.  

Visualize: to form a picture in your mind as you read. Look for details that tell you how things look, smell, sound, taste, and feel.

Sequence: The order in which things happen. Sequence can also mean the steps we follow to do something.  Look for or use clue words when working with sequencing: first, second, third, then, next, finally, etc… Some events in a story may happen at the same time.  These clue words may be: meanwhile, while, or during.  

 Generalizing: A generalization is a broad statement (not specific). Use clue words to make or identify generalization: All, Most, Many, Some, Somtimes, Usually, Seldom, Few, or Generally


Paraphrasing: to explaining something in your own words. A paraphrase should keep the writer’s meaning.


Fact and Opinion: Fact: tells something that can be proved true. Opinion- tells your ideas or feelings.  Sometimes opinions begin with clues such as: I believe or I think.


Author’s Purpose: The author’s reason for writing.  It may be to entertain, inform, persuade, or express.


Fiction: tells stories of made-up people and events.


Fable: a fictional tale that reaches a moral lesson. It is usually about animals.


Fairy Tale: A made up story, usually about fairies, giants, witches, and magic.


Folktale: A story and handed down from one generation to the next generation.


Legend: a story about a hero, handed down by tradition from earlier times.


Myth: an imaginary story that helps explain events in nature.


Nonfiction: gives information or it tells of real people and events. 

Biography: a true story written about the life of an actual person.

Autobiography: a true story of a person’s life written by the person the story is about.


Simile: a phrase that compares two things using the words like or as.  Examples: Books are like food for the brain. Mr. Pardo was like a bull in a china shop.



Metaphor: a phrase that compares two things. Metaphors are similar to similes, except metaphors do not use the words like or as.  A metaphor states that one thing is the other. Examples: Books are food for the brain. Mr. Pardo is a bull in a china shop.


Personification: to give humanistic qualities to inanimate objects. Examples: The dinner bell announced that supper was being served.  The tired oak tree reached its leafy arms skyward.  The raindrops danced on the windowpane.



Idiom: an expression that means something different from what is actually said. Examples: Turn over a new leaf (start again); Spill the beans (tell a secret) Hold your horses (be patient); Hold your tongue (be quiet); For the birds (silly or useless); Going to the dogs (falling apart); A close shave (a close encounter with trouble); Cut the cheese (you figure this one out)



Onomatopoeia: Words whose sounds imitate or make you think of their meaning. Examples: buzz, sizzle, hiss, plop, & bang.




Alliteration: the repetition of the beginning sound of two or more words in a sentence. Examples: A busy bumblebee buzzed boldly toward us. Mr. Pardo plays the piano poorly.




Adjective: A word that describes a noun.




Verb:  The word in the sentence that does the action.




Adverb: A word that describes a verb.



Prefix: A group of letters that comes before a base or root word. It changes the meaning of the word.