Stylistic Devices – Improve Your Writing Skills

26.04.21 Improving your academic writing Time to read: 5min

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Writing is a form of communication that we cannot live without, whether in business or at home. Many people also find it easier to communicate through writing than through conversations. Writing also provides a means of preserving thoughts and sharing them with others without a limitation of time and distance. However, writing needs some additional skills if you want it to catch the attention of the reader.

The use of stylistic devices in your writing makes your content unique and exciting to the readers. If you love writing, you must be familiar with some common stylistic devices, but it would be necessary to learn more for a unique writing style.

This guide will improve your knowledge about stylistic devices and provide additional stylistic devices examples that you can add to your writing.

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Stylistic Devices - FAQ

Yes. Irony as a stylistic device is a contrast between expectations for a situation and reality. There can be a difference between the surface meaning and the underlying meaning of something that someone says. There are three types of irony, but the one commonly used in creative writing is dramatic irony.

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Stylistic devices are important in both writing and speech since they add uniqueness to your text by providing clarity, emphasis and freshness of expression. Reading a text with well-placed stylistic devices is more interesting than reading plain text. Learning how to apply different stylistic devices in your writing will help you improve your writing from plaintext to addictive pieces of art.

You will only identify stylistic devices if you have a solid knowledge about each one of them. Knowing the definition of the stylistic devices will help you classify them according to their type.

While these words are used interchangeably, stylistic devices are tricks that makes text enjoyable to read. In contrast, a literary device is a device that creates an effect that deepens the reader’s understanding of the issue or insight that the writer is delivering.

Stylistic Devices: Definition

Stylistic devices are techniques that writers use to showcase creative thought in their works. The use of various stylistic devices makes your essays more interesting and lively, helping you catch their attention. Readers can also quickly identify a writer’s writing style if they apply similar stylistic devices in their texts.

Stylistic Devices Examples

Metaphor and simile

By comparing something to something else, writers help people to see it in a new aspect. The only difference between a metaphor and a simile is that a metaphor does not draw attention that it is a comparison. For example, when you say, “he is a strong as an ox,” you are trying to emphasize how ox pull carts full of heavy loads.


This is the use of the same first consonant in a series of words. It can also be the repetition of a single sound at the beginning of several words that follow each other in a sentence. Alliteration emphasizes the repeated words and creates a rhythm that makes a piece of text more pleasant to listen to or read.


Like alliteration, epiphora is a repetition of words or phrases, but it happens at the end of sentences that follow each other in the text.


Assonance is the repetition of a similar vowel sound with a sentence. The use of this stylistic device gives text rhythm and sound, which may influence the reader’s mood.


Irony can either be dramatic, verbal or situational. Verbal irony uses words to express something different from their literal meaning, while dramatic irony is where the situation is understandable by the audience, but the fictional character is not aware. On the other hand, situational irony is where the results differ from the expectations.


Allegory is the use of characters and events to represent ideas. A writer can use this stylistic device to convey hidden meanings through symbolic actions, figures and imagery. For example, George Orwell used allegory to illustrate the Russian revolution in his book, Animal Farm. The animal characters in the book represent political leaders, working and upper classes and the military.

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Cataphora is the use of a word or expression in an earlier phrase to refer ahead to something mentioned later in the text.
Example: When he arrived home, John went to sleep.


This stylistic device involves replacing harsh and offensive words with lighter words. For example, you can use pass away instead of dying. The opposite of euphemism is Dysphenism – where you replace lighter words with harsher terms.


A writer who uses hyperbole is using an exaggeration that is a lie in real life but emphasizes the statement. For example, you can say, “I have waited for hours.” To mean you have waited long enough. The opposite of hyperbole is Litotes, which is an understatement.


You achieve climax by arranging words in a manner that tension gradually ascends.
Example: “When it rains, it pours.”
The opposite of climax is anticlimax — where tension descends as the text progresses.


You can add personification to text or any form of art if you give human attributes to non-human items. This stylistic device helps the writer express what actual human characters feel by giving those emotions to their natural world. For example, animals in fairy tales have human traits like speaking.


An allusion is a reference to something that is out of the present context. It can be a work of art, a popular event, a myth or a character. The writer assumes that a majority of readers will understand.

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In a Nutshell

By understanding all the above stylistic devices, you will find it easier to use them in your writing to make it more attractive. While the list is of stylistic devices is large, practising them several times and looking for numerous examples for each will help you memorize them and develop creative ways to include unique stylistic devices in your day-to-day writing. It will be satisfying to move from a flat and shallow form of writing to an attractive style that impresses everyone who comes into contact with your content.