A literary device is a technique that produces a specific effect in writing.
You see and hear them in ordinary speech, but you may not take notice of it.
Understanding these concepts can help you when you want to communicate better
-- whether you're writing a story or trying to explain something to a teacher
or your future bosses.
The following are a few literary devices, their definitions and examples.
Onomatopoeia (on-uh-mah-tuh-pee-ya): The way a word sounds suggests
its meaning. For example, "Crash!", "Buzz" and "Murmur...."
Symbol (sim-bull): Something that represents something else.
For example, a heart can symbolize love.
Metaphor (meh-tah-for): A comparison without using like
or as. For example, "Rebok is a beast." This is different from
a simile, which is next.
Simile (sim-uh-lee): A comparison using like or as.
For example, "As black as night." This is different from metaphor,
Alliteration (uh-lit-er-ay-shun): Words grouped together with
the same first consonant. For example, "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled
peppers." (Actually, it doesn't have to be the first consonant,
or even the same consonant, as long as it's repeating the same sounds.)
Hyperbole (hai-per-buh-lee): A gross exaggeration. For example,
"I tried to log in 1,000,000 times!" Unless you actually tried a million
Personification (per-sawn-if-ih-kay-shun): Giving an object
or an idea human traits. For example, "Opportunity knocks."
Satire (sa-ti-ur): Making fun of something or someone. Not all
humor is satire, though. Satire may be funny, but it makes us stop and think
about a serious object, highlighting the silliness or stupidity of certain behavior.
"The average age of a meat eater is 63. I am on the verge of 85 and
still work as hard as ever. I have lived quite long enough and I am trying
to die, but I simply cannot do it. A single beef steak would finish me, but
I cannot bring myself to swallow it. I am oppressed with a dread of living
forever. That is the only disadvantage of vegetarianism." -- George
Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Many of these literary devices can be fun and can be used to spice up your
Editor's Note: I tried to add pronunciation guides, but I'm
sure they're not 100% accurate. If you want to know for sure, ask an English