Literary Devises – How Much Do You Know?

28 Dec

I came across some sites defining literary devices and wondered how many I remembered. It wasn’t nearly as many as I wish it were!

So, to share my sense of shame, I created a quize from the basic ones (I did much better on these thank-you-very-much). Try your hand at the test below. Once you’ve run thru 1-25, highlight the page to see the answers next to each word. Give yourself 4 points for each one you get right. If you’re brave, you’ll let us know how you do ๐Ÿ™‚


1. E ALLEGORY A. A struggle between opposing forces which is the driving force of a story.
2. H ALLUSION B. The use of words to imitate the sounds they describe.
3. J AMPLIFICATION C. Figure of speech involving a comparison between unlike things using like, as, or as though.
4. G ANALOGY D. Use of similar or identical language, structures, events or ideas in different parts of a text.
5. W ANTHROPOMORPHISM E. A symbolic representation
6. N ASSONANCE F. Repetition of an idea in a different word, phrase, or sentence.
7. P CLIMAX G. A comparison in which one thing is said to be another.
8. A CONFLICT H. A reference to a famous person or event in life or literature.
9. R FOIL I. Is giving human qualities to animals or objects.
10. S FORESHADOWING J. One of the devices of repetition, in which the same phrase is repeated at the beginning of two or more lines.
11. O HYPERBOLE K. Where a situation is created which cannot possibly exist, because different elements of it cancel each other out.
12. Y IMAGERY L. The identity of the narrative voice; the person or entity through whom the reader experiences the story.
13. M METAPOR M. The comparison of two pairs which have the same relationship.
14. x MOTIF N. The repetition of similar vowel sounds in a sentence.
15. B ONOMATOPEIA O. A description which exaggerates, usually employing extremes and/or superlatives to convey a positive or negative attribute
16. V OXYMORON P. The turning point in a story, at which the end result becomes inevitable, usually where something suddenly goes terribly wrong; the โ€œdramatic high pointโ€ of a story.
17. K PARADOX Q. The use of specific objects or images to represent abstract ideas.
18. D PARALLELISM R. A character who is meant to represent characteristics, values, ideas, etc. which are directly and diametrically opposed to those of another character, usually the protagonist.
19. I PERSONIFICATION S. Hints of what is to come in the action of a play or a story
20. L POINT-OF-VIEW T. The time and place where a story occurs.
21. T SETTING U. The main idea or message conveyed by the piece, usually must be expressed as a complete sentence.
22. C SIMILE V. Putting two contradictory words together.
23. Q SYMBOLISM W. Where animals or inanimate objects are portrayed in a story as people, such as by walking, talking, or being given arms, legs, facial features, human locomotion or other anthropoid form.
24. F TAUTOLOGY X. A recurring important idea or image. can be expressed as a single word or fragmentary phrase
25. U THEME Y. Language which describes something in detail, using words to substitute for and create sensory stimulation, including visual imagery and sound imagery.


So? How’d you do?

35 Responses to “Literary Devises – How Much Do You Know?”

  1. MG December 28, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    I only got twelve right so 48 points. LOL! Though you don’t have an answer for G – I thought it was #13. If I’m right, then I get 4 more points!

  2. briaq December 28, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    I fixed where G was supposed to go — -OPPS ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. MG December 28, 2009 at 10:51 am #

    Drat! I lose. I always messed these up as a child. Read too much into every description and found ways to skew them, make them gray instead of black and white. I think that’s what makes me a writer and not a scholar. Eh? EH?!

  4. MG December 28, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    How do I get a fun avatar photo when I post comments? Do I have to be a member of the WordPress commune?

  5. briaq December 28, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    i think you can create one if you create a WP member name (no blog needed)

  6. katiebabs December 28, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    I love the word ONOMATOPEIA. Sound so sexy and rolls off the tongue.

  7. briaq December 28, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    Well you know good old ONOMATOPEIA… If it sounds sexy, it is sexy.

    Oh… the really bad grammar jokes *sigh*

  8. Felicia Holt December 28, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    I switched THEME and MOTIF and missed HYPERBOLE (which I should have been able to figure out as that was the only word left, but hey… we’re not all that smart, lol).

    And I love ONOMATOPEIA too – almost as much as OXYMORON.

  9. briaq December 28, 2009 at 11:33 am #

    THEME and MOTIF were hard for me too. I missed them as well – I guess I’d never really thought about the difference.

  10. calla December 28, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    18 right…wow, my English teacher would be proud ๐Ÿ™‚


  11. briaq December 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    Nice job! Were you surprised at any you missed?

  12. beth December 28, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    LOL, I got them all right…but my day job is as an English teacher, so that’s not really fair ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. briaq December 28, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    Beth – it’s *ALMOST* like cheating ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. bettie December 28, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    Fun quiz! I absolutely adore ALLITERATION.

  15. briaq December 28, 2009 at 2:46 pm #

    Cute Bettie ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Katrina December 28, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    76 points. I got theme and motif – I confused all the symbolism and allegory and such. They’re all closely related as far as I’m concerned…great quiz, thanks for taking the time to show me how useless my English degree is since I can’t remember all this stuff!

  17. briaq December 28, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

    It’s amazing the things we choose to retain in our memory…and what we toss, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. jodi December 28, 2009 at 6:29 pm #

    just the sight of all those terms makes me want to turn tail and run, lol. I think you’re right. What’s important to us, we keep. What isn’t–we dump. Whether or not we know it’s hyperbole or flaming puce rhetoric isn’t as important as knowing how to use tools effectively (uhm…was that a soapbox? Yeah, it probably was.)
    ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy New Year, Bria.

  19. jodi December 28, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    btw, MG. Once you get past all the regular college English stuff into the advanced do-giggys, it’s nothing but gray and a whole world of making up terms. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m good at drop-down multiple choice, lol…

  20. briaq December 28, 2009 at 6:53 pm #

    Jodi – you’re ALWAYS welcome to soap box here ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Amethyst December 28, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    Basically the exact same as Katrina. Scored a seventy-six and mixed up the E G M X F.

  22. briaq December 28, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    Amethyst – I looked at that and tried my hand at Scrabble!

  23. Amethyst December 28, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    I am–ironically–horrible at Scrabble. My best friend (an Algebra teacher) says it’s because Scrabble is deceptively a mathematic concept called permutations, and I personally am aware of so many possible outcomes my brain refuses to settle on one, and instead whirs around, thinking of dozens at a time.

    I, however, kick serious tookus at both Balderdash and Scattegories. No one has ever beaten me at Scattegories.

  24. briaq December 28, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    Have you tried Speed Scrabble? It’s A+

  25. danieford December 28, 2009 at 7:45 pm #

    I got them all right. But my minor in college was English. So it’s cheating a bit.

  26. briaq December 28, 2009 at 7:50 pm #

    I’m getting a lot of that Danie – I feel like I should make a Not-So-Basic Literary Devices Quiz ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Jeannie Lin December 28, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    76. Dude, I only messed up because I was trying to shuffle the comparisons around to do a process of elimination thing because tautology and allusion were throwing me for a curve. Then in trying to shuffle those around, metaphor and analogy got caught in the kerfuffle.

  28. briaq December 28, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

    Um, okay.

  29. jodi December 28, 2009 at 10:25 pm #

    yeah, what Bria said, lol. I so totally suck at quizzes. Random guess? I think I’d get a 40 percent firm and an iffy 60. (maybe. Maybe I’d just bomb)

    Why not examples of the devices? Do…oh, like a couple a day and have people post some of their own.

  30. December December 28, 2009 at 10:31 pm #

    I do love a good Oxymoron. TAUNTOLOGY sounds fun, but I don’t know what it is.

  31. briaq December 28, 2009 at 10:47 pm #


    jodi, we could have like:
    What the heck was that device Wednesday
    Forgot my basic english skills Friday

  32. KB Alan December 29, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    64. I’m not sure I’ve ever even heard the term tauntology before!

  33. Hickepedia December 31, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    Do we get extra points for pointing out that “tauntology” should probably be spelled “tautology”, meaning the repetition of meaning, especially using dissimilar words? =D

  34. briaq December 31, 2009 at 9:23 pm #

    Nope, You lose 14.7 points for that ๐Ÿ˜‰

  35. Peter January 3, 2010 at 4:38 am #

    I agree, Speed Scrabble is A+ … and … you can play it online. Hurrah!

    That quiz was surprisingly difficult.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: