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Alliteration, assonance, emotive language, colloquial, slang, jargon, neologism, cliché, rhetorical questions

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Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at the start of a word:

1. The parched pavement peeled in the hot summer sun.
The parched pavement peeled in the hot summer sun.

2. The sun sizzled softly in the afternoon.
The sun sizzled softly in the afternoon.

3. The dam ran dry during the drought.
The dam ran dry during the drought.

4. The waves washed wistfully against the shores.
The waves washed wistfully against the shores.

Alliteration is used to link two or more words (and ideas) together. You will usually find examples of alliteration in poetry.



Assonance is the repetition of a vowel sound. It is different from rhyme as it does not need to be at the end of each line of poetry:

1. How now brown cow.
How now brown cow.

2. The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains.
The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains.

3. The man with the tan was the meanest in the land.
The man with the tan was the meanest in the land.

4. Saving the whales is a crucial detail.
Saving the whales is a crucial detail.

Assonance is used to link two or more words (and ideas) together. You will usually find examples of assonance in poetry.



Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates or suggests the source of the sound that it describes. It is common with animal sounds but has expanded to include sounds made by other sources.

There was a big thud when the brick hit the floor.

Little Janey bounced around on the pogo stick - boing, boing, boing.

James whacked the cricket ball.

The engine of the bi-plane moaned as it executed a huge arc in the sky. The tyres screeched as they hit the tarmac.

All you could hear was the buzzing of the fly and then squish! Dad squashed the fly.

Woof, meow, tweet - all the animals in the house responded to the clucking of the chickens outside.

Rice bubbles are full of snap, crackle and pop.


Emotive language

Emotive language is language (in particular adjectives or adverbs) that relate to or refer to emotions:

Drink Coca-Cola, you'll like it.

I am very happy that you decided to come.

The bike was very tired and sad-looking.

The bike was bright and cheerful-looking.

The girl was skipping joyfully.

Composers use emotive language to create empathy. Empathy is when a person can understand the emotions of another 'to put yourself in another's shoes', so to speak.

See Animation


Colloquial language

Colloquial language is language that is informal. This can include words as well as phrases. You might use colloquial language when messaging your friends but not in a formal situation such as writing a letter to a business:

1. I'm gonna go down to the beach. You wanna come?

I am going to go down to the beach. Do you want to come?

2. Ain't that strange?

Isn't that strange?

3. Ain't these doo whoppers unusual?

Aren't these things unusual?

4. I dunno where we're meeting up tomorrow.

I don't know where we're meeting tomorrow.

I do not know where we are meeting tomorrow.

5. Danny was as tough as nails. Danny was very tough.



Slang includes informal (or casual) words that are made up and used by cultural groups:

G'day, Mate - Australian slang for good morning

Wicked air, bro - Skateboarding slang for getting high in the air

barbie - Australian slang for barbecue

crook - Australian slang for being sick

It is very important when you are writing a formalpiece of writing to avoid the use of slang. It follows that if you come across slang in a text that you are analysing, then it will indicate to you that it is an informal text.



Jargon is particular words that are used and understood only by people who are experts or specifically involved in different groups.

Group Jargon Meaning
business people operationalise Carry out, to put into action
proactive To act first and in a positive way. This term has become more mainstream.
learnings Things that have been learned.
functionality Referring to the functions or features of a product.
skateboarders grind To move across/down an edge with the tail of the skateboard.
fakie Where a rider rides backwards.
ollie A jump.
kickflip An ollie in which the rider kicks the board with his/her toes so that the board flips.
rugby league enthusiasts sin bin Where a player who has been sent from the field waits to come back on.
overlap When the defence is outnumbered by the players running the ball.
side-step Avoiding a tackle by pretending to move one way and then moving the other.
play the ball Restarting play by rolling the ball under a player's foot.



Neologisms are new words, invented by social or cultural groups. 'The Simpsons' provides many examples.

'Simpsonian' neologism


Simpsonian Of or pertaining to 'The Simpsons'.
scientician A phony scientist, as coined by Troy McClure.
belly fruit Brandine's term for babies.
Bartesque Coined by Bart himself - to be like Bart.
bemusement park A mix of bemuse and amusement park to mean an amusement park that is bemusing. Coined by Ned Flanders.
introubulate To put others in trouble. Coined by Homer Simpson.
sacrilicious From 'sacrilege' and 'delicious', something that is not good to eat but is irresistibly tasty. Coined by Homer Simpson.
saxamaphone Homer Simpson's word for a saxophone.



A cliché can be a recognisable word, phrase or a concept that has been used so often that it has lost its impact.

Type of Cliché Cliché Meaning
phrase/expression easy as 1, 2, 3 very easy
out of the woods overcome a problem or confusion
concept At the end of an action film. The male and female protagonists fall in love.
The hero of an action film is a down-and-out cop.


Rhetorical questions

Rhetorical questions, mostly used in speeches but occasionally in writing, are questions where the reader is not expected to answer. They are usually questions that make a responder think about a point, or a question that is so obvious that the composer has asked it to make a point.

Rhetorical Question


Does a fish have lips? The answer is an obvious no. A direct translation of this phrase could be 'obviously not!'
How am I supposed to live without you? The answer is designed to convey the importance of the audience in the speaker's life.
'If you / prick us do we not bleed?' (from The Merchant of Venice Act III, Scene I, lines 60-61) The answer is an obvious yes. This conveys to the responder the fact that the speaker is obviously human.



No thanks. Remind me again later.