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Literary Techniques

A literary technique is a specific method which authors use to create effective texts. You may recognise some of these techniques from studying poetry and others you may have learned while studying drama. You will not find all of these techniques used in any one particular text. Think of them as an artist's palette - a writer might use a splash of allegory here, or a little touch of assonance there. Literature would be really rather boring without them.

Test your knowledge on literary techniques with this quiz.

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  1. Match the definition to the correct literary technique.
    An object, person or colour used to represent an idea.
  2. Match the definition to the correct literary technique.
    A contrast between the audience's expectations and the reality of events.
    An example of situational irony is when Macbeth believes the witches' prophecies about his invincibility only to discover that Burnham wood came to Dunsinane in a way neither he nor the audience could predict
  3. Match the definition to the correct literary technique.
    A story in which everything symbolises something else.
    A story or poem containing allegory can also be described as 'allegorical'
  4. Match the definition to the correct literary technique.
    An example of figurative language in which inanimate objects are given human characteristics.
    'The leaves on the tree shivered in the chill easterly breeze' would be an example of personification. Inanimate objects don't literally shiver
  5. Match the definition to the correct literary technique.
    A word which recreates the sound which it represents.
    'Slurp', 'drizzle' and 'glug' are all examples of onomatopoeia
  6. Match the definition to the correct literary technique.
    The repetition of vowel sounds in words that are close together.
  7. Match the definition to the correct literary technique.
    An example of figurative language which treats one thing as if it were another.
  8. Match the definition to the correct literary technique.
    The repetition of the 's' or 'sh' sound.
  9. Match the definition to the correct literary technique.
    A description of one thing as being similar to something else.
  10. Match the definition to the correct literary technique.
    Non-literal language; metaphorical or rhetorical language.

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