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Exploring the Power of Figurative Language in Creative Writing

Techniques students should know for English

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Simile: A simile is a comparison of two things using “like” or “as.” For example, “She was as brave as a lion.”

Metaphor: A metaphor is a comparison of two things without using “like” or “as.” For example, “The world is a stage.”

Personification: Personification is giving human qualities to non-human things. For example, “The wind whispered through the trees.”

Imagery: Imagery is creating a vivid image in the reader’s mind through sensory details that appeal to the five senses. For example, “The sun set behind the mountains, painting the sky with hues of orange and pink.”

Symbolism: Symbolism is using an object or idea to represent something else. For example, a dove is often used to represent peace.

Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds in neighboring words. For example, “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”

Onomatopoeia: Onomatopoeia is words that sound like the thing they describe. For example, “buzz” or “hiss.”

Repetition: Repetition is repeating words, phrases, or ideas to emphasize their importance. For example, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up.”

Hyperbole: Hyperbole is an exaggerated statement used for emphasis or effect. For example, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”

Irony: Irony is using language that means the opposite of what is actually being said. For example, “Isn’t it ironic that the traffic jam caused me to be late for my appointment with the traffic department?”

Foreshadowing: Foreshadowing is giving hints or clues about what will happen later in the story. For example, “Little did he know that this would be the last time he ever saw her.”

Flashback: Flashback is returning to an earlier time in the story for added context or understanding. For example, “As she stared at the old photo, memories flooded back of that summer long ago.”

Dialogue: Dialogue is conversation between characters. For example, “Hi, how are you?” “I’m good, thanks. How about you?”

Juxtaposition: Juxtaposition is placing two contrasting things side by side to highlight their differences. For example, “The darkness of the night was juxtaposed with the brightness of the stars.”

Tone: Tone is the author’s attitude towards the subject matter. For example, a sarcastic tone might be used to criticize something.

Mood: Mood is the feeling or atmosphere that a piece of writing creates for the reader. For example, a suspenseful mood might be created through the use of short sentences and intense imagery.

Point of view: Point of view is the perspective from which a story is told. For example, a story might be told from the first person point of view (using “I”) or the third person point of view (using “he” or “she”).

Characterization: Characterization is the way an author develops and portrays characters. For example, a character might be described as brave, kind, or selfish.

Plot: Plot is the sequence of events that make up a story. For example, a plot might involve a hero overcoming obstacles to defeat a villain.

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