STYLISTIC DEVICES IN WRITING
intentionally using words to produce a specific effect
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
Choice of Words
• hyperbole – exaggerating for effect; e.g. tons of money
• irony – saying the opposite of what is meant
• litotes – understating for effect, generally using a negative ; e.g. ‘no small victory’ meaning an important victory
• 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
Identify the literary techniques used in the sentences below.
(There may be more than one technique in some sentences.)
___________ A boy, lean as an alley cat, silently looked out the window.
___________ He watched as slowly, slowly, the fog became thicker.
___________ Wind whispered through the trees.
___________ Breath, moving through the branches, fluttered the leaves.
___________ “What a cheerful day,” he muttered to himself.
___________ “Hurry up!” a voice called from the next room. “We’ve got a plane to catch! Let’s go!”
___________ The runners rested after the 20-km. race along city streets.
___________ Slumped on the grass in the shade of the trees, the first finishers rested after the marathon.
___________ “That wasn’t bad,” someone said to the runner who had come in first.
___________ She looked up and grinned – beamed – at him.
___________ “Better than my last race by a million miles,” she said with a smile.
___________ “Yup,” he said, taking her hand and pulling her up.
___________ “You are definitely ready for next month’s marathon. But first, let’s go grab a bite to eat.”
___________ They walked away, paying no attention to their surroundings, to the crowds of people still sitting on the grass.
Now go read a book
and keep your eyes open for great sentences!
If you find one that you especially like, send it to me.