You should be able to write about key language features used in novels, short stories, plays and poems. Here's a reminder of what they are and how they work:


This is where the first letter of a word is repeated in words that follow. For example, the cold, crisp, crust of clean, clear ice.


This is where the same vowel sound is repeated but the consonants are different. For example, he passed her a sharp, dark glance, she shot a cool, foolish look across the room.

Colloquial language

This is language used in speech with an informal meaning. For example, chill, out of this world, take a rain check


This is a version of a language spoken by people in a particular geographical area.


This is a conversation between two people - sometimes an imagined conversation between the narrator and the reader. Dialogue is important in drama and can show conflict through a series of statements and challenges, or intimacy where characters mirror the content and style of each other's speech. It can also be found in the conversational style of a poem.


This is discordant combinations of sounds. For example, the clash, spew and slow pang of grinding waves against the quay.


This is device used in poetry where a sentence continues beyond the end of the line or verse. This technique is often used to maintain a sense of continuation from one stanza to another.


This is exaggerating for a purpose – it is not meant to be taken literally. For example, we gorged on the banquet of beans on toast.


This is where strong pictures or ideas are created in the mind of the reader. Similes, metaphors and personification can all be used to achieve this - they all compare something 'real' with something 'imagined'.


This is where words or ideas are used humorously or sarcastically, to imply the opposite of what they mean.


This is where a word or phrase is used to imply figurative resemblance, not a literal or 'actual' one. For example, he flew into the room.