Powerful Language

Learn the secrets of powerful language!

Sounds of Words
• alliteration – repeating the beginning consonant sounds in words
• assonance – repeating similar sounds, especially vowel sounds
• consonance – repeating similar consonant sounds, especially at the ends of words, as in lost and past or confess and dismiss.

Choice of Words
• hyperbole – exaggerating for effect; e.g. tons of money
• irony – saying the opposite of what is meant
• litotes – understating for effect; e.g. no small victory; not a bad idea
• metaphor – comparing things not alike through implication
• personification – giving human qualities to nonhuman things
• synecdoche – using part of something to stand for the whole thing
• simile – comparing things not alike by using the word ‘like’ or ‘as’
• vocabulary – using precise nouns and verbs to describe scenes/emotions

Arrangement of Words

• length of sentences – differing lengths to create a mood
• repetition – repeating sounds, words or phrases for effect
• appositives – inserting a clarifying phrase, one that adds information or emphasis, between a set of commas or dashes
Write a paragraph, or a story, that uses powerful language:

___ include 3+ examples of powerful sounding words
___ include 3+ examples of powerful choices of words
___ include 3+ examples of powerful arrangements of words
___ underline your powerful language  
___ use correct spelling, punctuation and grammar
___ double-space
___ add your name, division number and the date

Analyze a story that uses powerful language:

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Shadows on the Wall. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1980.

Figures of speech

Quotes [page #]

Alliteration& Consonance “…A story of guilt and goodness of remorse and retribution.” [p.49]
Alliteration& Consonance “… Woman had put a hex on her husband.” [p.49]
Repetition “With gray cap, gray hair, and long gray coat…” [p.21]
Assonance, Personification&


“…As though every word that was uttered punctured the air and fractured the bones as well.” [p.56]
Assonance, Personification &


“They watched the police car around the bend and disappear.” [p.120]
Sense: Sight “Against the brightness of the flame, his hand looked almost blue.” [p.7]
Personification “…The disease that stalked his future…” [p.97]
Metaphor “…Blurred behind the blanket of rain.” [p98]
Simile “The dread was like poison in his system.” [p.101]
Hyperbole& Metaphor “Her skin, etched with hundreds of tiny lines, pulled tightly over her face…” [p.113]
Simile His forehead felt damp, as if he had been bathed in cold sweat.” [p.88]
Metaphor & Personification “’When you feed tomorrow, it eats the joy of today.’” [p.156]
Parallel Structure “’I learned some Romany words, ate gypsy stew, and slept out under the stars’” [p.35]
Powerful Verbs “…Clucking over Dan…” [p.15], “…Deep lines etched his face.” [p.62], “…it preened itself once or twice…” [p.112]
Litotes & Short Sentences “…Chance of a meteorite falling on you? Almost none?“ [p.63]
Short Sentences “’Trashed?’” [p.42], “Go. Go now…” [p.102], “Without a cure? A face in the water. It must be madness. What else?” [p.67]














Litotes “’ Out ‘aving a bit of a ride with Joe, eh?’”
Senses: Hearing, Alliteration, Assonance, & Sight “…A tall clock in one corner chimed nine times.” [p.20]
Simile “It was as though the room was dividing in half.” [p.60]
Irony “…And reached for Dan’s hand. ‘He will take a long trip,’ she joked… ‘He will go to America some day.’”  (by Ann in grade eight)



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