AP English Language

Credit Hours: 1.0

Course Length: 2 Semesters

Course Description

The AP® English Language and Composition course is devoted to the study of argument and persuasion or what has traditionally been called rhetoric. The course is intended to help students become effective readers and writers. The goal is to understand how messages are conveyed and arguments are structured. Because most media is at some level rhetorical – that is, it has a point of view the reader, viewer, or listener is expected to accept – it is important to recognize how our view of the world is being shaped by what we read, view, or hear. It is also important that as writers we understand how best to communicate our own point of view in a way that others will find reasonable even if they do not agree. The purpose of this course is to allow students to explore how to express reasonable points of view and to communicate views effectively.

The AP® Language and Composition test assesses a student’s ability to recognize how arguments are made, the audiences to whom they are made, and the author’s purpose in making those arguments. The test also expects that students will be able to recognize the rhetorical tricks of the trade an author employs to convey the argument and make it more agreeable to the reader. It is expected that the student will be able to identify the stylistic devices that characterize a writer’s work, at least in a given passage. Stylistic analysis is probably the aspect of the Language and Composition course that is most like traditional literary analysis; this is where students focus on elements in a text such as imagery, metaphor, and allusion. It is important to remember that style is often a writer’s fingerprint. Instead of looking at the literary devices employed by a text to understand how they help to tell a story, we will be looking at them to understand how they define a writer’s unique style and how a writer uses style to shape an argument. The test also asks students to construct their own argument defending a point of view in regards to an issue.

Course Prerequisites


Required Textbook(s) and/or Materials

Students will be expected to acquire the following novel for this class: Fast Food Nation. This book can be found at a local or school library or can be purchased through Amazon for a few dollars.

Major Concepts

  • To recognize the various literary and rhetorical devices authors use to construct their arguments.
  • To use the various literary and rhetorical devices to construct an argument.
  • To become skilled readers and writers of the English language.
  • To earn a passing score on the AP® Language and Composition Test.
  • Express their ideas clearly, accurately, and concisely.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to engage in the rough and tumble of literary debate.
  • Write precisely, using reasoned and logical discourse in discussing opinions and ideas and in the analysis of literary texts.
  • Demonstrate an ability to manage time effectively
  • Demonstrate an ability to conduct independent research.
  • Develop a deep affection for the written word.