Literary Devices: 10 Everyone Should Know and Use

Sometimes my kids ask why they need to learn something. Often I tell them they need to learn it in order to be an educated human. This usually does the trick. But literary devices are all around us in the books we read, the conversations we have, and even in the analyses we make. We need to know these literary devices to be successful in school and in life.

Here are the 10 most useful literary devices:

10. Irony

words used that often mean something different or the opposite of what they mean 

A man who is a traffic cop gets his license suspended for unpaid parking tickets.

 9. Parallelism

repetition of words or phrases to emphasize a point

My favorite foods are pizza, chocolate, steak and donuts.

8. Metaphor

compares two things where one is the other

He is the apple of my eye.

7. Simile

compares two things using like or as

He is as fast as a cheetah.

6. Oxymoron: 

the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated words

The paper tablecloth flapped in the wind.

5. Onomatopoeia

words that represent sounds

The floor board squeaked as I ran across it.

4. Personification

using animals or inanimate objects are given human qualities 

The clock screamed the time.

3. Alliteration

repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words

Sister Susie sat in the sun.

2. Hyperbole

an exaggeration

The dog weighed a ton.

1. Imagery

descriptive language that attempts to invoke one or more of the five senses

The azure sky melted into the horizon across the tumbling waves.

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