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Literary Devices – Explanation and Examples

Grade 7
Aug 29, 2022

Literary Devices 

Literary devices help to define the author’s / reader’s purpose. 

1) Figurative Language: 

Language that has meaning other than the literal meaning; also known as “figure of speech.” 

2) Simile: 

Simile is an articulation comparing one thing to another using the words “like” or “as.” 


He ran like a mouse, quietly and slowly. 


3) Metaphor: 

Metaphor is a contrast of two unlike things without using the words “like” or “as.


She was a statue, waiting to hear the news. 

4) Hyperbole: 

Hyperbole is an obvious exaggeration or overstatement. 



I’m so hungry I could eat anything! 

5) Personification: 

Personification is when a writer gives human qualities to animals or objects. 


The pup laughed. 

The newspaper headline glared at me. 

6) Onomatopoeia: 

It is a word that replicates the sound it represents. 


  • Crunch 
  • Zap 
  • Tick tock 
  • Whoosh 

7) Imagery: 

Imagery is when a writer supplicates the five senses. 


The wall was not even, like baby teeth growing awkwardly. (also a simile!) 

8) Foreshadowing: 

Important clues that an author drops to prepare the reader for what is to come and help the reader anticipate the outcome. 

9) Alliteration: 

Alliteration is the reiteration of the same consonant sound in words occurring near one another. 


Pitter patter rain drops.  

10) Allusion: 

Allusion is a casual charge to a famous historical or literary figure or event. 


  • If it doesn’t rain, I’m going to build an ark. 
  • My sister has so many pets; I’m going to call myself old Mcdonald. 
  • I was surprised his nose was not growing like Pinocchio’s. 
  • Chocolate was her Achilles’ heel. 

11) Paradox: 

Paradox reveals something true, which at first seems contradictory. 


  • This is the beginning of the end. 
  • Deep down, you’re really shallow. 

12) Symbolism: 

Symbolism is an object or action that gives us a meaning, something other than its literal meaning. 


  • Pink – The figure against breast cancer. 
  • Violets represent shyness. 
  • Lilies stand for beauty and temptation. 
  • Chrysanthemums represent perfection. 

13) Idiom 

Idiom is an articulation with a meaning different from the literal meaning of the words. 


  • My boss gave me the green light.  
  • Draw the curtains.     
  • Put the lights out.    
  • I got cold feet before my speech.  

14) Oxymoron: 

Oxymoron is two opposite terms. 


  • A peaceful war 
  • A generous cheapskate 
  • Dark sunshine 
  • Tragic comedy 
  • Unbiased opinion 
  • Virtual reality 
  • Definite maybe 
  • Original copies 
  • Only choice 

15) Euphemism: 

Euphemism is a well-mannered word or phrase used in place of one that may be too direct, unpleasant, or embarrassing. 


  • Pass away = die 
  • Let go = fired 

16) Cliché 

Cliché is an articulation that has lost its power or originality from overuse. 


  • Talking a mile a minute  
  • Quiet as a mouse 
  • Easy as pie 
  • They all lived happily ever after 

17) Pun 

Pun is a comical play on words, often involving double meanings. 


  • A man stole an instance of soap from the corner store. He made a clean gateway. 
  • I really wanted a disguise shirt, but I couldn’t find one. 

18) Anaphora: 

In writing or speech, the intentional repetition of the first part of the sentence to achieve a creative effect is called as anaphora 


  • “Every morning, every night, in every way, I am getting better and better.” 
  • “My life is my purpose. My life is my goal. My life is my inspiration.” 

19) Assonance: 

This figure of speech is the same as alliteration, as it also involves the reiteration of sounds. 

But this time, the vowel sounds that are being reiterated. Assonance generates internal rhyming within phrases or sentences by repeating vowel sounds that are the same. 


  • “On a proud spherical cloud in white high high.” 
  • “Fire at the eye hired to pry in my business.” 
  • “It beats….. as it sweeps…. As it cleans!” 

20) Apostrophe: 

It is a figure of speech that is represented by a punctuation exclamation, such as “oh.”  

A speaker or writer, using an apostrophe, speaks directly to someone who is not present or is dead or speaks to a lifeless object. 


  • “Is this a dagger which I see before me, 
  • The handle toward my hand? 
  • Come, let me clutch thee!” 




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