What is Personification?

Do you need a comprehensive definition of personification and help using it in writing? This sheet lays out the definition of personification, provides examples of personification, and will help you learn how to incorporate personification into your own writing. Master the personification definition today!

The Definition of Personification

Personification is a form of figurative language that is used as a literary technique. The personification definition can also be thought of as 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 help your reader better relate to your writing. Mastering your understanding of the personification definition can help you to better understand reading and writing about works of literature. Read on for more information about personification, including tips on how to identify personification, as well as more context for understanding the personification definition.

How Do You Identify Personification in Writing?

Personification is a technique used by many writers to enrich their language and create more compelling descriptions. You can identify personification by noticing any moments where the author describes something non-human with human characteristics. Personification examples could include a writer comparing 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 has successfully employed personification to make a more interesting description than, “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. It’s important to keep in mind that personification can be much more than 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 connections and allow them to see the world a bit differently.

In other words, use personification when it seems that personification fits 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 this personification 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.

Personification Examples

So do you understand the personification definition? If you feel like you understand the personification definition well, but would like to see it in practice, check out our personification examples. If it hasn’t sunk in yet, these examples will help it sink in. Read on for ten personification examples that will help you understand the personification definition, then click the link below for our complete resource of personification examples.

For additional personification definition help, including personification examples from works of literature, please visit our Personification Examples resource.

Check out our Free, Printable Personification Worksheets for more practice opportunities!

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