Literary Devices



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Literary Devices

Alliteration repeated consonant sounds, usually at the beginning of words

Assonance Repeated consonant sounds at the end of a word (bike, mike, pike)

Consonance Repeated middle sounds (boot, shoot, flute)

Hyperbole exaggeration, not meant to be taken literally

Flashback interruption of present action to insert episode from past

Foreshadowing clues to alert reader about events that will occur later

Idioms phrases that mean something different from literal meaning

(raining cats and dogs, catching some z’s)

Imagery mental pictures appealing to the senses

Metaphor Figurative language that says something is something else

(Her smile is a neon sign. He is the apple of my eye.)

Simile Compares 2 unlike things using the words like or as

(The road was like a black ribbon winding through the mountains. The clouds look as fluffy as cotton.)

Onomatopoeia use of words that imitate sound (ruff, ruff, bang, boom)

Personification assigning human qualities to inanimate objects

Symbolism person or object that has additional meaning beyond itself (concrete) to represent more abstract idea

Oxymoron Contradictory ideas are combined

Jumbo shrimp rush hour

Small difference non-dairy creamer

Plastic glasses least favorite

Freezer burn only choice

Working vacation alone together

Theme underlying meaning, message of story

Mood atmosphere, feeling created in the ready by a literary work

Tone attitude a writer takes with a book, character, events audience

Irony contrast between expected (what appears to be) and actual way

things turn out (after 10 days of rain- Guess what, it’s raining!)



  1. Verbal irony: shows contrast between what is said and what is actually meant/saying one thing meaning the opposite
    (What a great guy you are! –Mario said as his brother ate the last piece of his cake!)

  2. Irony of situation: occurs when things turn out contrary to what is expected –events turn out opposite of what you thought (big strong football player makes it through season without injury –walks up to state to receive MVP award, trips and breaks leg)

  3. Dramatic irony: reader or viewer knows more about actual situation than the characters do (common in cartoons)


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