Some literary devices to spice up your speech and writing in 2020

Literary devices are techniques employed or used to create pointed and special effects in speech and mostly in writing to convey information or messages. They are used to express thoughts and ideas and also enhance speech and writing. They help the reader or the listener to understand the depth of the message and even relate to it. The producer or giver of the said message also has the platform to freely express themselves and can make anyone experience- feel, see, touch and even smell what the writer or speaker ever experienced. The writer or speaker, the reader or audience is in a world of its own, a world of literature created by itself. That is the magic of writing; literary devices make that possible.

There are a number of reasons why one should take note of literary devices and even use them in their writings and speech. Some of these literary devices made history and till now, has a great impact on the world today. It would be very good for writers especially, people in the world of literature, of art (poets, dramatists, authors, songwriters, speechwriters, et cetera). Literary devices highlight important concepts in a piece. They also strengthen the narrative and enable readers to connect to themes and characters. They are used for emphasis and clarity of thoughts in a piece and also keep the piece interesting. They also keep the audience, and sometimes the creator (author, poet, etc.) deep in thought about concepts in the piece. Literary devices are fun and sometimes serious. With literary devices, the audience or reader should not just see what the message says upfront; one would have to think deeply to get the underlying message- the true meaning of the message and even add their own understanding to be able to relate, have a connection to the piece. Sometimes, we unconsciously use literary devices and this is why people of the art should take note of literary devices and learn to consciously use them often. Digging into a few of these simple literary devices to spice up our writing and speech, let’s look at a few.

  • Alliteration
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This is where one says a phrase or series of words with most or all of the words starting with the same sound, and these sounds typically, are consonants. It can be seen in poetry, titles of books and poems, tongue twisters et cetera.

Eg. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Beauty and Brains

“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”   — The ‘p’ sound is repeated a lot of times or throughout the sentence.


  • Anaphora

It is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of multiple sentences in a piece of writing, poem or even a speech (a show like stand-up comedy). It is used to emphasize the repeated word, evoke the emotions of the audience and also express the urgency of the writer.


  • Anthropomorphism

A similar term to this word is personification. Anthropomorphism is when something nonhuman or an inanimate object like an animal, the weather or a thing behaves in a human-like way. An example is the satirical allegory Animal Farm in which animals act like humans. There is a strong message in it that sadly reminds me of our nation.

Quick question though; what is political stability, economic governance, democracy? Not just a book definition. The word that explains that the ruling government must listen to the people, and not sit on high tables and rule for the people; is it real or it is just a song to the ear? A song that expresses what one wishes but not what one gets in reality. Is governance of our nation truly of the people, by the people, for the people? Is it really a “rule by the simple people” – as the adopted word (democracy) from the Greek language means?

Enough of the bummer comments, the reminders of the sad situation. Forgive my ranting there for a second.

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Children stories and cartoons have much anthropomorphism. For example, a talking dog, a smiling sun, Mickey and Minnie Mouse can speak, wear clothes, sing and dance, drive cars et cetera. Even our very own Kweku Ananse from our ‘By the Fire Side’ stories, who has been known to be a cunning spider that often takes human form, exemplifies anthropomorphism. I think I’ll write me a story or poem using this literary device sometime.


  • Allusion

It is a brief and subtle descriptive reference to something (a person, place, thing or idea of literary, cultural, historical or political significance).

Eg. “There are Kwaku Ananses in governance today.”


  • Asyndeton

This is when the writer leaves out conjunctions [such as “and”, “or”, “but”, “for”] in a group of words or phrases. It is often used for speeches since such sentences can have a powerful and memorable rhythm. An example is the definition of democratic governance as said by Abraham Lincoln ending his speech at the Gettysburg address with the phrase “…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” Of all the Government lessons I had from Mr Monney and Miss Sey, this was the easiest definition I could easily remember without having to take a book to read over and over. An older me now realises the power in this strong statement as the meaning actually sinks in and I wish- Oh how I wish, that it is truly followed through in all nations’ governance especially in that of my beloved country which “…is free forever!” like Kwame Nkrumah, another powerful man of history, said on the day of independence. Are we truly free? Maybe I should not really blame them as democracy is said to be quite a complicated phenomenon. Maybe the definition of freedom is just mashed up in my head. I can hardly put words together to define it.

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