Words & Character – English Language Techniques

In This Lesson we study Words Character English Language Techniques


the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words


the repetition of vowel sounds at the beginning of words


A word that imitates the source of the sound it describes

Emotive Language

Language that relates or refers to emotions

Colloquial Language

Informal language, e.g. slang


two words placed next to each other to show contrast


To repeat a word/phrase/idea


extravagant exaggeration


something that is similar (like, as)


said to be something else (is)


Using metaphors and similes to five living characteristics to non-living objects


Forming mental images of a scene via descriptive words


The use of two themes, characters, phrases, words, or situations for comparison or contrast

Pathetic Fallacy

Reflecting a character’s mood in the atmosphere or inanimate objects


Use of symbols: iconic representations that carry particular conventional meaning


A fact is a piece of information that can be demonstrated or proven to be true.
– Facts are used to demonstrate or emphasise a writer’s point by providing evidence to support claims
– For example, ‘As well as nicotine, each cigarette contains more than 4,000 different chemicals, many of which are harmful to the body’.


An opinion is an individual’s own thoughts or beliefs
– Like facts opinions emphasise the point of a writer but make the message more personal rather than completely factual
– For example, ‘Smoking is an awful habit and anyone who smokes stinks’.


A statistic is numerical data
– Numerical data can be used like facts to emphasise and demonstrate the point of the writer
– For example, ‘1 in 4 people’ or ‘50% chance of rain’

Rhetorical questions

A question that does not require an answer
– Rhetorical questions are used to engage and involve the reader by making them think. These are typically used to make a text more persuasive.
– For example, ‘How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?’ (Bob Dylan)

Emotive language

Emotive language is designed to make the reader feel something and have an emotional response to the text.
-This helps involve the reader and keeps them interested in reading on.
– For example, ‘A distressing and harrowing example of cruelty’

List of three

Three words or reasons put together in a list
– This technique helps emphasise the point of the text and involves the reader by giving a variation in sentence structures
– For example, ‘This is a great, adaptable and fun language device’.


A figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with ‘like’ or ‘as’)
– This helps create an image within the reader’s mind, which helps interest them in the text
– For example, ‘Cold as snow’


A figure of speech in which an expression is used to compare one thing to another by saying it ‘is’ that other thing
– This helps create an image within the reader’s mind, which helps interest them in the text
– For example, ‘The world is your oyster’


Personification is used to give human qualities or characteristics to animals or objects
– This gives a more detailed image in the mind of the reader much like a simile or metaphor whilst keeping the reader interested through varied devices
– For example, ‘The pipes screeched in the night’

First person narration

A narrative mode that involves one narrator speaking of and about themselves
– This makes the text more personal, which interests the reader as they may feel like they can ‘relate’ to the writer or that they ‘know’ them somehow
– For example, ‘I wrote a letter and I sent it to the North Pole’

Third person narration

A narrative mode that involves the narrator referring to characters as “he”/”she”/”it”/etc
– Third person narration allows for a separation between the narrator and the character and allows for more information to be revealed to the audience that even the character may not be aware of
– For example, ‘She had long hair and she always wore it in a ponytail’.

Five senses

Imagery descriptions of sounds, sights, smells, feelings, tastes
– Five senses gives more detail to text and helps create an image within the reader’s mind.
– For example, ‘The smoke was thick and black as it rose from the earth accompanied by the stench of scorched wood’.

Short sentences

A short sentence is one clause. It is not lengthy.
– Short sentences make information snappy and quick, which can make certain points ‘stand out’ more or give variation within the text to keep the reader interested
– For example, ‘Stop. Look. Listen. Live’.

Direct address

Direct address is when the text addresses the reader. This can be done through second person narration ‘You’.
– Directly addressing the reader involves them in the text and makes them think harder about what the text is ‘saying’.
– For example, ‘You should consider how these revision cards will help you in your exam’.


Repetition is the repeated use of the same word or phrases
– Repetition is used to emphasise a certain point and usually makes a text more powerful
– For example, ”Tis a lesson you should heed, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’.


A type of alliteration in which the “s” sound is repeated.
– Sibilance gives variation in sentences, which interests the reader. It can also be used to make a particular point ‘stand out’ or for a select purpose such as the sound of water.
– For example, ‘Seven sly sea-serpents swimming in the sea’.


The use of certain marks to clarify meaning of written material by grouping words grammatically into sentences and clauses and phrases
– Punctuation helps structure sentences as well as intonation clues. These variations keeps the reader interested and engaged.
– For example, rising intonation in questions ‘Are you well?’ or a sense of emergency in exclamatory statements ‘HELP!’


When elements have been omitted from a sentence, phrase or word (they’re ‘missing’).
– Ellipsis can demonstrate a more relaxed register and an informal way of writing making the text more personal. Contractions are examples of ellipsis as well as ‘…’ indicating an element is missing.
– For example, ‘I’m hungry’ is less formal than ‘I am hungry’.


Jargon refers to technical language that relates to a specific topic or subject, which can seem like ‘jibberish’ to someone who is not knowledgable in that subject
– Jargon can make a text sound more professional. It may also include people who know the jargon whilst excluding those who do not so it may reflect the target audience of the text
– For example, a medical book may contain words like ‘cranium’, ‘transfusion’ or ‘appendicitis’.


Hyperbole is extreme exaggeration.
-Hyperbole can be used to emphasise a point, express a strong emotion, or evoke humour due to the exaggeration.
– For example, like ‘making a mountain out of a molehill’ an exaggeration such as saying ‘My life is over’ when the Internet is broken is an overstatement.


A pun is a play on words. Puns usually use words that have a double meaning or that sounds the same but have different meanings
– Puns are often considered witty and are used to engage the reader by making them laugh. It is a clever use of language.
– For example, ‘Shoes have souls’, which is a joke as shoes actually have soles not souls.

Taboo language

Words that are typically avoided because they are considered offensive
– The use of taboo language, in some contexts, may demonstrate the writer’s attempt to shock the reader or if the text is between two friends taboo language may demonstrate a relaxed relationship
– For example, you would not find swear words in stories for young children but you may find swear words in stories written for teenagers and adults for a specific effect


Irony is saying one thing when the opposite is actually meant.
– Irony can be used, much like a pun, to create humour. Ironic statements engage the reader and make them think about the expectations of certain statements.
– For example, ‘Water, Water, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop To Drink’ (‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge). This is situational irony as there is water everywhere, which is presumed to be drinkable, but he says there isn’t a drop to drink (opposing the assumption)