Throughout the evolution of humankind, language and its features have played a significant role. It has helped to develop communication which, in turn, has enabled us to express our thoughts, ideas, and views on various subjects.
In today’s time, strong communication skill is mandatory to communicate through written and verbal means. In this guide, we will talk on various English language features and the types of language techniques which are essential to master the art of writing academic, formal, or informal document.
What are the Language Features?
Before we learn about the language features in writing, let’s first understand the basics. So, what is a language feature? A language feature definition states that it is a literary device which helps the readers to understand a text. English language features help a reader to identify unique language techniques and simplify a text for better understanding.
What are the types of language features in writing? The list of language features is endless, and it can come as quite a challenge trying to learn them all at once. Hence, to help you understand and assimilate, below, we have discussed some of the commonly used language features with relevant examples.
Language Features List
Writers use various types of language features to create an impression on their readers. In exams, professors often ask students to identify language features used in the text to describe a situation and how the identified features affect the reader.
If you are wondering what are linguistic features and the types, here's a list of standard language features with examples and their effects.
Nouns: Naming words, e.g. Mark, Switzerland, Sunday
Adjectives: Words that describe nouns, e.g. blue, massive, fair
Verbs: Words that describe nouns, e.g. run, eat, hike
Adverbs: words that describe verbs, e.g. immensely, patiently
Pronouns: Describes the subject of the sentence, e.g. I, we, me, you, yours, he, she, they
Prepositions: Words used to indicate the place or time, e.g. at, for, with, from
Literary Language Features Examples and Their Effects
Simile: Comparison using “Like” or “as” to create a vivid picture
Example: "As big as a whale."
Effect: Helps to increase the understanding of a reader by comparing it to something else
Metaphor: Direct comparison of something with another without using "like" or "as."
Example: "drowning in-depth."
Effect: Clear visualisation due to the comparison
Personification: A clear imagination where a non-human object is given a human characteristic
Example: "the leaves danced with the wind."
Effect: By assigning a human aspect, it gives life to the object
Onomatopoeia: Words used to express the sound of an action
Example: “pop”, “crunch”
Effect: The sound of words suggests action
Alliteration: The repetition of the same consonant sounds at the beginning of the words
Example: "Reuse, renew, recycle."
Effect: Sound created helps to reinforce an idea
Assonance: The word(s) with the repetition of vowel sounds
Example: "Moonlit pool."
Effect: Sound created helps to reinforce an idea
Connotations: Implied meaning suggested by a word instead of its actual meaning
Example: “Green” is a colour but used to talk about the “environment” or as a “go” signal
Effect: It helps imply another meaning rather than the literal meaning
Hyperbole: Words used for over-the-top exaggeration
Example: “I have hundreds of assignments to do.”
Effect: Stresses on creating a dramatic effect
Repetition: Repeating the words or phrases for an effect
Example: “This is sick. Incredibly Sick"
Effect: Emphasises on the original idea
Rhetorical questions: Questions asked for an effect with no expected answers
Example: "Do you think that I've got a money tree?"
Rule of three: Repetition of words in a group of three
Example: "Freedom, justice, and equality."
Effect: Strengthens a primary idea/argument
Emotive language: Words or phrases used to create an emotional response
Example: "hard-hearted" or "heartbreaking."
Effect: Builds a sentimental scenario
Irony: The opposite of what the writer means
Example: “His hand was as soft as a rock.”
Effect: Funny, expresses a writer's attitude on the subject.
Pun: Using some words which are interpreted in two ways
Example: “Santa Claus' helpers are known as subordinate Clauses.”
Effect: Witty and fun effect
Colloquialism: Use of informal or everyday language
Example: "Don't cause a ruckus."
Effect: Writer comes across with a casual tone
Oxymoron: Words that don't associate brought together
Example: "bittersweet" or "sweet sorrow."
Effect: Creates a dramatic effect and makes a reader ponder about the contradicting ideas
Now that we have discussed some of the most commonly used language features let’s dig deeper and learn the types of language features techniques used for writing.
Different Language Techniques
Different language techniques allow a writer to make their work stand out. We will now discuss the types, effects, and examples of some common language techniques.
Antagonist: Opposite to the protagonist or the main character.
Example: Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series
Effect: Different ideologies which create a conflict
Allegory: A figure of speech which describes abstract ideas to preach some kind of moral lesson
Example: The tale of a Tortoise and the Hare from Aesop’s Fables
Effect: Gives an insight into the writer's mind and his morality
Anaphora: A writer deliberately repeats the first part of the sentence to create an artistic effect
Example: "Every day, every night, in every way, she is getting better and better."
Effect: Adds prominence and rhythm to the ideas to catch the reader’s attention
Idiom: A set expression or a phrase which consists of two or more words
Example: “ball is in your court” or “beat around the bush”
Effect: Helps to elaborate the language and convey an indirect message to the targeted audience
Imagery: Use of abstract language to represent objects, actions, and ideas in an appealing way
Example: "It was dark and foggy. She whiffed the aroma of brewed coffee."
Effect: Generates a vibrant image of a scene to help readers imagine the characters and scenes precisely
Juxtaposition: Two or more ideas or characters are placed side by side in a narrative form
Example: "The white dove lay still in the pool of blood."
Effect: Develops a comparison between two dissimilar things to evoke readers’ interest
Symbolism: Used to signify ideas by giving them symbolic meanings which differ from the literal sense
Example: "Yellow rose is the symbol of friendship."
Effect: Adds double levels of meanings which is far more profound than the literal one
Theme: Used as an underlying meaning of a literary work to state an idea directly or indirectly
Example: A Christmas Carol: compassion and forgiveness, isolation, transformation, choices, time, family, memory, guilt
Effect: Brings together all essential elements of a narrative and gives readers a better understanding of the main character’s struggles
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