ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Top Tips for Everyday Writing - Linguistic Devices

Updated on October 18, 2010

Linguistic Devices

A great way to perk up your everyday writing and improve the impact of your words is to use linguistic devices. There is a whole range to explore and you can use as many or as few as you like in each piece depending on what you feel is appropriate.

Some exciting pieces of writing, where you are trying to keep the reader’s close attention, might demand a mixture of them thrown in, whereas you may feel that for another, more specific piece, or for essay writing, you choose to use just one device and repeat it over and over again for added impact and effect.

So what are linguistic devices, and how do you use them? Here are my top picks!


 A metaphor is one of the best of all linguistic tools for descriptive writing. It allows you to really create a strong image and sensation in the reader’s mind and bring your text alive for them.

When you use a metaphor, you simply describe something by saying that it was or is something else. You rely on the reader’s common sense to realise that you are taking poetic license, and are not actually suggesting that it is that thing.

For example: “The sun was a burning ruby, sinking into the glass mirror of the sea”

Metaphors are often most powerful in descriptive passages, where you can really let your imagination run wild, but they can also be especially useful for helping to describe character and personality (think of how many characteristics you would immediately associate with somebody described as a mouse, lion or snake for example!)

Top metaphor tip: remember not just to pick an object out of thin air for your metaphor, but try to choose something that really embodies the characteristics and feel of the thing you are describing.

For example: “The castle was a crouching ogre” is much more effective than “The castle was a mountain”.



 Like metaphors, similes provide description by associating something with another object, but in this case, it is a comparison . So you say something is ‘like’ something else.

For example: “The bird’s feathers were as soft as snow and gleamed like silver!”

Some writers think similes are inferior or less powerful than metaphors, but they can be really useful for gentle, more subtle description.

Top simile tip: similes are easy to recognise as they will almost always contain the word ‘like’ or ‘as’.



Alliteration is a technical device where a writer groups together several words which all start with the same letter. It gives strength and impact to a sentence or phrase, and can be used for a variety of different effects.

Alliteration is often useful in headlines or journalistic-style writing, where it is used to create a catchy, attention-grabbing summary to get people interested in a story.

For example: “Fans furious at footballer’s fancy footwork”

It can also be particularly effective in descriptive language, where it gives a cumulative effect, making your description more immediate and intense.

For example: “The lemon coloured lizard lightly licked its tongue along the ledge”.

(No, not every word has to start with the same letter, it’s ok to slip some others in between!)

Finally alliteration can be particularly powerful when you are writing persuasively, whether a text or a speech, in helping you to influence the emotions of your reader and really push your point.

For example: “These children desperately need your hope, your heart, your hands and your help.”


Onomatopoeia sounds pretty complex, but it actually just means using a word that sounds like its meaning. This can mean loud, impact-type noises like ‘crash’, ‘bang’, ‘thump’, but it also has more subtle uses, such as ‘slippery’ and ‘slither’ or ‘squelch’ and ‘flutter’.

Onomatopoeia is a great way to really bring your writing to life for the reader, because it draws on other senses rather than just visual description. One particularly famous and effective example is Seamus Heaney’s use of the technique in his poem “Death of a Naturalist ”.

For example: “The mud squelched and farted between my toes and my legs were sucked into the slippery, belching bog”

Is much more effective than:

“The mud rose up all around my legs and my feet were pulled down into it”


 Personification is a very helpful, yet little-used linguistic device. It means describing an inanimate object in a way that suggests it actually has life, personality or feelings. It is often extremely useful in conveying subtle emotion within your descriptive writing and characterisation.

For example: “The mirror gleamed cruelly back at her, harshly amplifying every single one of her wrinkles.”

By using personification like this we project the character’s feelings onto the mirror, thereby demonstrating that she is unhappy about her appearance so irrationally implies that the mirror is being deliberately unkind in its reflection. This is a much more subtle and effective way of displaying the character’s emotions than if the writer simply said “she hated her reflection and thought she looked old”.

Personification can also be extremely effective in setting the atmosphere of a scene, as it can give a sense of real character and feeling to the place you are describing, adding a great deal to the intensity of the reader’s imagination.

For example: “The wood bristled with hostile shadows and the trees towered sternly above her. The leaves crunched crossly under her feet and the few shafts of sunlight pierced harshly and accusingly through the canopy.”

And finally...

The best thing of all about linguistic devices is that there are no rules, so you can enjoy playing around with them in different ways, practising methods of including them in your writing, and most excitingly of all, coming up with new ones of your own!

You can find some great help and advice online on how to write well and it can be really helpful to look at custom essays as examples.

My other online resource for writing, elly naylor on Squidoo has some helpful hints you may find useful too!

Please let us know if you have any great writing techniques to share using the guestbook!

What are your favourite linguistic devices?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      naruto uzumaki 

      2 years ago


    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Thank you for every other informative site. The place else may just I am getting that kind of information written in such a perfect way? I have a venture that I’m simply now running on, and I have been on the glance out for such information.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Это мое счастье. Стоит мне вообразить. Замечательного актера старой школы Шарля Ванеля Тейт видел пример ответственности и профессионализма. Хотя студийное руководство недооценивало Шарон. Ее сдержанность позволяют зрителям проецировать на ее лицо все чувства. Чтобы сыграть Шандебиза/Пюша с той стокилометровой скоростью. То от полотен XVIII века. Как бы то ни было. Вода широко используется в визажных процессах – в качестве компонентов гандонов, как теплоноситель в тепловых сетях; после использования она сбрасывается, загрязняя грунтовые воды и почвы.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I accustomed to receive at the top of living yet of late I've truly built up some sort of amount of resistance.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      When i helpful to acquire on top of lifetime but of late We've built up any opposition.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      that's so immature....if you want that kind of info, this is not the place to findi it. BTW, great article and a lot of help in my GCSE English Language

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      These are actually really good,it helped me in my GCSE eglish languange controlled assessment and got an A*. Woo thanks!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      freat help thanks, help my sex life:)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i need more info were can i find it from

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Good stuff you have shared here. Your work will be very helpful to many people.

    • equinelover909 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great article! I personally love using alliteration and personification in my writing. Both techniques seem to just make sentences sparkle a bit.

      Again, thanks for the great read!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)