The Elements Of Interesting Writing

It can be hard to come up with ideas to help students develop their writing. We all know simile and metaphor. I know the meaning of (ironically difficult to pronounce) onomatopoeia. But what are some other ways we can manipulate language in a piece of writing. Curtis Newbold, the Visual Communication Guy, has created the Periodic Table of the Figures of Speech.


The allusion to the scientific table of the elements was enough to draw my attention, but the chart does a good job of succinctly describing 40 different ways to use English. While ‘elements’ like Polyptoton (repetition of words derived from the same root) and Antanaclasis (repetition of a word with two different definitions) may seem a little heavy for grade-schoolers, the function of the figure of speech is usually quite simple. Each one could be the focus of a mini-lesson, at least. Furthermore, if a student is particularly keen to vary the way they write, they can simply consult the table and get ideas, ideas that are at the heart of great writing. (Anadiplosis: Repetition of the last word of one clause at the beginning of the following clause.)

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