DEFINITION OF DICTION
Diction refers to both the choice and the order of words. It has typically been split into vocabulary and syntax. The basic question to ask about vocabulary is "Is it simple or complex?" The basic question to ask about syntax is "Is it ordinary or unusual?" Taken together, these two elements make up diction. When we speak of a "level of diction," we might be misleading, because it's certainly possible to use "plain" language in a complicated way, especially in poetry, and it's equally possible to use complicated language in a simple way. It might help to think of diction as a web rather than a level: There's typically something deeper than a surface meaning to consider, so poetic diction is, by definition, complex.


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