What is Personification?
Definition: Personification is a form of figurative language that is used as a literary technique. Personification means attributing human characteristics to something that is not human. Personification is useful because it can make written descriptions more vivid. By using human characteristics to describe an object, animal, or even a place, personification can make your descriptions more unique, and it can also help your reader better relate to your writing. Noticing when authors use personification can help you to better understand written descriptions when you are reading and writing about works of literature. Read on for more information about personification, including tips on how to identify personification, as well as personification examples.
How Do You Identify Personification in Writing?
Personification is a technique used by many writers to enrich their language and create more interesting and compelling descriptions. You can identify personification by noticing any moments where the author describes something non-human with human characteristics. For example, a writer could compare the sun’s warmth to the arms of a loving mother. By giving human characteristics (the love of a mother) to something non-human (the sun), the author will have successfully employed personification to make a deeper and more interesting description than simply, “the sun felt warm today.”
When To Use Personification in Your Writing
Personification is most appropriately used in descriptive or narrative writing. Personification is often employed in poetry, as well as more lyrical fiction and nonfiction. It’s fairly rare to use personification in an essay or report, although the use of figurative language can be a nice way to catch the reader’s attention in the introduction to any piece of writing. It’s important to keep in mind that personification can be much more than just a way to add some decorative touches to your writing. When used properly, personification can invite more emotion, humor, and truth into a piece of writing. By giving human qualities to something we don’t expect to be human, you allow your readers to make surprising new connections and begin to see the world a little bit differently.
In other words, use personification when it seems that it fits fairly naturally and will create a strong impact in the mind of your reader. Should you compare a fire hydrant to a short, red-faced man? It all depends on your intent. The image could be rather humorous, so it would fit well in a funny piece, but sound strange in a piece of writing designed to be more serious. When using personification, you must not only find the right characteristics to apply, but also the right tone of voice.
Examples of Personification
So what does personification actually look like? Read on for ten examples of personification, then click the link below for our complete resource of personification examples.
For additional examples of personification, including examples of personification from works of literature, please visit our Personification Examples resource.
Check out our Free, Printable Personification Worksheets too!