Using Literary Devices to Improve Your Writing
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Using Literary Devices to Improve Your Writing

Learn how to improve your writing using creativity, comparisons, and other styles.

The English language is full of confusing roots and references. Sometimes it can be a real challenge to make a point clear, or to show a reader exactly what is being felt/experienced/lived from the writer’s view. Luckily, there are many different stylistic devices and ways of writing out experiences and ideas in ways that readers can relate to. See the following tools that you can use as a writer or speaker to help your audience experience things the same way that you did.

Simile – A simile is a comparison that is made using the words “like” or “as”. For example, saying that the sky was “as blue as the ocean” is a simile – it’s stating the similarity of the colour of the sky to the colour of the ocean. Another example could be: “The old man’s fingers were gnarled like tree roots.”

Metaphor – A metaphor is similar to a simile in that there is a comparison being made between two different things. The difference between a simile and a metaphor is that a metaphor does not require the words “like” or “as” to be included in the comparison. For example: “His legs were spaghetti noodles as he tried to run.” In this comparison the person’s legs are being described as weak and wobbly, like spaghetti noodles, without the use of “like” or “as”.

Personification – Personification is when an object/animal/thing is given the characteristics of a person. In a way, personification can be tied in with similes and metaphors, but it’s the human traits that really make the different. For example: “The birds chatted in the early morning.” Birds don’t actually “chat”; chatting is a human function.

Alliteration – Alliteration is a fun stylistic device that many writers like to play with. Writing alliteration means writing at least three words in a row that start with the same consonant sound. The most common example is likely the following: “The big blue ball bounced.” After the word “the”, each word begins with a “b”, thus making the same sound at the beginning of each word.

Onomatopoeia – Ironically, onomatopoeia is a difficult word to pronounce, and yet its definition is simply words that demonstrate the sound that they refer to. For example, when describing the sound that a cat makes, most people would agree that the cat “meows”. “Meow” is exactly the sound made, and is a word. “Roar” is another common example.

Hyperbole – Hyperbole simply means an exaggeration. A common example of hyperbole is when people say, “I told you a million times...” Of course the person didn’t say anything “a million times”, but the exaggeration is put in place to make a strong point.

The examples and definitions above came from memory of writing classes, but for further reading feel free to see:

http://www.wikipedia.org (search for the different devices individually)

http://www.worsleyschool.net/socialarts/hyperbole/hyperbole2.html (fun examples of hyperbole)

http://www.about.com (search for the different devices individually)

 

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Comments (3)

I am a language-lover and communicator, and this factoid was very helpful for me.

That's great to hear. :)

Some excellent examples of how to improve and make our articles more colorful.

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