Language Techniques


Literary techniques add flavour to a piece of writing and heighten meaning for the reader. They enable to the reader to be actively involved with the text through their own imagination. Each device should be placed logically to an emotional impact, as they aim to stimulate the different senses such as, sight, sound, touch, taste and scent. Listed below are some common techniques (I remember them as MATES PROOF READ.)

Which ones will you use? What effect or response do you intent to rouse in the reader?


  1. Figure of speech that gives meaning through a comparison which is not literal, The Headmaster is a dragon.
  2. __EFFECT? __The reader thinks about the meaning within the comparison.


  1. Using a succession of words that begin with the same letter, Timid Trevor tried to navigate with terror the tattle of the the tanks.
  2. __EFFECT?__The reader thinks about the significance of the emphasis on the particular letters. Always look for the letter that’s being repeated and think about what it sounds like. A sentence with a lot of Ts, for example, could be quite an explosive sentence, possibly reminding us of gunfire or warfare. It could also sound like spitting, which gives a harsh, sarcastic tone to the sentence.

Threes / List

  1. A group of nouns, adjectives or verbs, Bold, courageous, gallant King.
  2. __EFFECT? __Often called a Rule of Three or a Tricolon, this is a technique that has been used since the great rhetoricians of the Ancient Greek era. It is effective because it is satisfying to the ear and gives a sense of completeness to a sentence or description because the first two words build to the third and give it emphasis.

Emotive Language

  1. Stirs emotion in the reader through specific choices in vocabulary, The grieving, pot-bellied orphans were destitute.
  2. __EFFECT? __Stirs an emotional response in the reader which could motivate them to act.


  1. Giving an object human characteristics, The trees danced gracefully in the tender sunshine.
  2. __EFFECT? __The reader can relate to the movements and feelings of the inanimate object.


  1. Reoccurring words or phrases, He was a very, very, naughty child.
  2. __EFFECT? __Heightens the importance of the particular words and makes them memorable.


  1. Offering your ideas and thoughts on a matter, Homework is a waste of time.
  2. __EFFECT? __Mentally engages the recipient, as they decide whether they agree or disagree with the statements being made.


  1. Words that imitate the sound when spoken, ping, crashed, slurring
  2. __EFFECT? __Appeal to the auditory sense. The reader can imagine or hear the word in action.

Facts / Figures

  1. Numerical values that offer logical information, Two men walked down the street, 72% of the population…
  2. __EFFECT? __Makes the recipient accept the reasoning as more authentic and plausible.

Rhetorical Question

  1. Evoking a reasoning response from the reader by asking a question that doesn’t require an answer, Who knows?
  2. __EFFECT? __The recipient will feel like they are participating in a conversation, as they mentally formulate an answer to the question.


  1. Magnification or understatement about a matter, His leg was broken into thousands of pieces.
  2. __EFFECT? __Compare the comparison with relate and discern the intended meaning of the statement.


  1. Figure of speech that makes reference to a place, event, literary work, myth, art, etc. but it must be recognised by the intended audience. She is my Juliet.
  2. __EFFECT? __Recipient is mentally engaged with the text, as they draw on their own knowledge of the comparison.

Direct Address

  1. Talking directly to the audience, You should buy this perfume!
  2. __EFFECT? __The recipient feels included in the rhetoric and they mentally engage with the speaker.


Include devices that will enhance your tone and rhetoric. Make sure you know why you are employing a particular technique and your desire effect. You are bound to produce a purposeful, solid piece if you consciously evaluate your choices.

Why should you employ language techniques in your writing?
Your answer should include: Heighten / Meaning / Actively / Involved
Which technique brings the reader’s attention to key words and phrases?
What effect is created, when the writer includes opinions?
Your answer should include: Mentally / Engaged / Respond / Agree / Disagree