Most Commonly Used Literary Devices that Every Writer Should Know

If you are a Writer, Reader, or Student by any chance you might have heard of the name Literary Devices in your English Literature. Be it to improve your writing skills or crack a prestigious English Exam knowing about the Literary Devices is a must.

You are not alone in this and we have compiled what is meant by Literary Device, how they are used in writing, etc. This guide to most commonly used literary devices can be of great help to become a pro and identify literary devices. Look at some of the definitions of literary devices with meanings and examples illustrated on how to use them.

What are Literary Devices?

Literary Devices are terms used to enhance the writing style. Using this writing technique users express ideas, convey meaning and highlight important text in a piece of information. For example, Metaphor is a Literary Device. Literary Devices have quite a few advantages in English Literature. Some people may use intellectual levels whereas some go with the emotional flow while writing the language.

To improvise your flow and pace in writing including Literary Devices can be a great option to go for. However, it can be difficult to identify Literary Devices and this is why we have come up with mnemonics. You can easily understand literary devices while reading or find if an author uses one or so.

  • Points Of View
  • Irony
  • Antithesis
  • Euphemism
  • Chiasmus
  • Anaphora
  • Symbolism
  • Hyperbole
  • Assonance
  • Metonymy
  • Paradox
  • Understatement
  • Oxymoron
  • Litotes
  • Metaphor
  • Simile
  • Pun
  • Personification
  • Synecdoche
  • Polysyndeton
  • Cacophony
  • Asyndeton
  • Alliteration
  • Allusion
  • Analogy
  • Aporia
  • Epithet
  • Ambiguity
  • Allegory
  • Imagery
  • Tone
  • Foreshadowing
  • Colloquialism
  • Satire
  • Motif
  • Trope
  • Juxtaposition
  • Propaganda
  • Hubris
  • Dichotomy
  • Epiphany
  • Haiku
  • Non Sequitur
  • Nostalgia
  • Pathos
  • Syncope
  • Pedantic
  • Persona
  • Ethos
  • Meiosis
  • Doppelganger
  • Logos
  • Diction
  • Anecdote
  • Palindrome
    • Palindrome Words
  • Prose
  • Connotation

How to Identify Literary Devices while you are Reading?

It is not always necessary that you understand literary devices to enjoy a book. There are plenty of literary devices that can help you with this. Some of them include personification, onomatopoeia, and anthropomorphism. But if you identify a Literary Device on your own it reflects the artistry of a piece of writing as well as you can get to know the motive of the author.

To recognize literary devices while reading, familiarize yourself with as many literary devices as you can. To do so you need to learn what to look for and from where you can practice different styles. With avid reading, you can identify literary devices instantly without any interruption.

Try our other articles on How to Improve Your Vocabulary as well to get a firm grip on the language.

Why you should Learn Literary Devices?

Literary Devices can be cheese and croutons to make your salad even more effective. They add beauty to the language and add an effect like sarcasm, rhythm to a piece of writing that drags the users in.

They can be a great way to help readers in gaining a deeper understanding of what is said and emphasize the point clearly. All Literary Devices are kept in place to convey a certain piece of information if you wish to express your writing in a creative way and make the text more appealing to the reader. These can be an excellent option to make readers connect dots to the story on a profound level and relate to the story or characters in the story.

Most Commonly Used Literary Devices

Essential Literary Devices you Must Know – Examples and How to Use them?

In the English Language, you will come across a lot of Literary Devices. However, you might not use all of them at once so we have compiled some of the most commonly used literary devices and how we can add them in writing. You can have them at your fingertips whether you are a reader or writer and bring creative style to your writing.


These are narratives that denote something entirely such as a historical event or significant ideology illustrating a deeper meaning. At times the stories are fabricated to the source alone and sometimes to individual characters or fictional stand-ins.

Example: Daniel’s Poultry Farm, an allegory about the Russian Revolution of 1917, is one of the most famous allegories ever written and is an animated film describing the prejudices of modern society.


In Literature Archetype denotes universal truths regarding human nature that often occur. Examples of Archetypes include things and battles like good vs evil, never before, etc. Archetype usually is a character, situation, or symbol.


This is the most commonly used literary device in writing i.e. alliteration. We can use this literary device to add rhythm to sounds at the beginning of adjacent words or the words that are close to one another. Some of the examples of how alliteration works are listed below

He sells seashells by the seashore
Callous Dog clawed at the snake continually


An allusion is a passing reference in Literature. It makes a passing reference to a person or event in a story or work. This fun type of literary device keeps writing from getting bored. Few examples of where you can use these are

Joseph was her Romeo
It felt like I walked in Rose Garden


This is an exaggeration and writers use it to add emphasis to a particular phrase or so. This is a fun literary device and you can use it in real life as well. Find examples of Hyperbole and how to use it in the following sections

I asked you to do the dishes a hundred times
My student is older than dirt


A simile is a kind of literary device used for comparison. This is a popular form of literary device used by famous authors like William Shakespeare. Have a glance at some of the examples on how to use the word simile

Both the brothers fight like cat and dog
She is as sweet as sugar


Anachronism is a literary device that is used when there is an error in chronology or text timeline. It can be a character that appears in a different time period than where he/she actually lived, or in the case of a technology appearing before being invented actually. These are generally included in comedic effects.

A Renaissance king saying, “That’s dope, dude!” would be an example of Anachronism since the language used is a modern language and not from the Renaissance Period.


This is the reason why people enjoy reading fiction. Usually, in certain pages of the book, you get transported to a new land with his or her sensory words to create that image in your mind. Some of the examples of Imagery are as follows

The warm smell of baking cookies reminded him of the smiling face of his grandmother.
The blanket feels like the fur of a thousand kittens.


It is similar to the Literary Device Simile and we use this in comparison but not a direct comparison and we do it indirectly. It makes a nonliteral comparison between two things that aren’t related. We use this in several scenarios and to help you know it clearly we have included some random texts to understand how it works.

The dancer is truly a shining star.
He is a stone-hearted man.


This literary device we use in casual or informal language writing. Writers use this to provide context to characters, and settings and make writing sound more authentic. Assume you are reading a novel that happens to be in Modern America the characters would speak like this

“Good morning, Jues. I hope you slept well and prepared for this morning’s maths exam.”


This Literary Device is used generally to add humor to writing or when a writer wants to describe offensive events using imagery or phrasing. If an author does this it is called a euphemism. This is mostly used by the Writer Shakespeare in his writings.

Departed Grandparents were greatly missed at Christmas.
The couple, who had been together for nine months, finally did the deed.


This is when an author inserts a famous quote, poem, or song at the beginning of the large text. An epigraph is written by a different writer with credit given and used to introduce overarching themes or messages in the work. Few Literature Pieces include multiple epigraphs throughout. This kind of literary device is a reference to another work that the author feels will help to understand his own work.


Anaphora is a kind of literary device that the writer at the start of consecutive sentences. The reason to do so is to make a stronger point in the readers’ minds. We generally use this kind of literary device in speeches to motivate or convince the audience. Look at some of the examples of how anaphora can be used in writings.

Every day I wake. Every day I love. Every day I listen.
My life is my aim. My life is my meaning. My life is my dream.


This Literary Device is generally used to express a certain meaning opposite to the one that is being constructed. This is further classified into three types namely Verbal Irony, Situational Irony, and Dramatic Irony. Verbal Irony is used to convey something that is exactly the opposite in reality. Situational Irony is used to express an event that occurred completely opposite to what was supposed to happen. Dramatic Irony is when a reader is aware of the situation and the character and thus sees the character’s behavior in a different way.

Read Similar: English Idioms


This kind of literary device is a narrative that offers background information to make the reader better familiar with what’s going on. If you use this in conjunction with both dialogue and description it provides a better understanding of characters, setting, and events. However, keep in mind that too much exposition will become boring and undercut the emotional impact of the work.

Example: He has everything he wants but was worried about his secret as someone would discover it.


This is used when the author foreshadows the future by using certain phrases, imagery, or events. The author will let the reader know the ending of an upcoming event. By doing so the readers will feel more intelligent than characters. This is mostly used in horror stories to develop tension among the audience and can also be used to create a comedy effect.


Usually, a story’s mood is the emotional response that an author targets. The author will set the mood of the story with not just the plot, and characters but also with the tone and aspects he/she tends to choose.

Example: In the case of horror novels the literary mood of vampires is most scary and ominous. However, in comic films, the mood of vampires is friendly and light-hearted.


Oxymoron usually combines two contradictory words to provide a more deeper and poetic meaning. This is often used to describe a humorous effect, in addition, to putting an emphasis on what is being said to grab the attention of the user. Below is how you can use the Oxymoron in your writings or so.

He is a lovely person but when it comes to looks he is pretty ugly.
There was tension in the room and no one spoke and I was waiting for someone to say anything.

Point of View

Writing can be told from different perspectives. Usually, writers use three different points of view namely first, second and third person. The point of view you use to express a story greatly impacts the way a story is conveyed.

I got good marks (first person)
You got good marks(second person)
He got good marks(third person)


Tone denotes the overall mood of your book. It can be denoted using a variety of means such as voice, characterization, themes, symbolism, etc. Tone denotes the feeling you want readers to take away from the story.

FAQs on Literary Devices

1. What are Literary Devices?

Literary Devices are tools used by writers to hint at larger themes, ideas, and meaning in a story or piece of writing.

2. Is Irony a Literary Device?

Yes, Irony is a Literary Device.

3. Why do authors use literary devices?

Literary Devices are the most powerful tools used in storytelling. They can add emphasis to phrases, evoke moods and emotions, and provide insight into the author’s words thus making the storytelling clear and vivid.

4. How do literary devices affect the reader?

Literary Devices are generally used by writers to have a pointed effect in writing and thus help readers understand the text on a deeper level.


Hope the information existing on our page has been helpful to learn about Literary Devices and how to use them in writings with examples provided. To know more about them or any suggestions on the list to be added do write us so that we can add them. Stay connected to our site to avail latest updates on literary devices.

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