6 junio, 2024

Literary resources: complete list with examples

The literary resources They are tools or elements that are used within a text in order to give it expressiveness and particular style. These figures are based on the use of words in an unusual way to give the work a special and extraordinary character.

However, literary resources are classified into large groups, which have particular characteristics that give shape, depth, originality and creativity to the writings. The so-called literary figures can be: phonic, morphosyntactic and semantic. Phonic resources are associated with the sounds of words.

On the other hand, semantic resources are related to the meaning of the words within the content. Finally, the morphosyntactic literary figure is linked to the meaning and order of the words within the text. In short, these figures or elements serve to combine words and create attractive and interesting literature.

Each of the elements that make up the phonic, semantic and morphosyntactic classification of literary resources are described below.


Phonic literary devices

– Alliteration

This resource consists of the repetition of sounds that have a certain similarity in order to give the text greater expressiveness and capture attention through the ear. On the other hand, alliteration gives musicality and dynamism to the texts.


«The sea was going to lick the shore,

he owed his thirst to the susceptibility of his soul to water agitated loudly by storms”.

Here you can see the alliteration present in “La mar” and “lamer”, also in “su sed” and “susceptible”; and, finally, in «water» «agitated» «to shouts».


Onomatopoeia is the reproduction of sounds from nature or from common objects in literature. In other words, this resource is used to imitate expressions of animals or other phenomena that occur in the environment, it is also used to represent phonic effects that occur in everyday life.


“I couldn’t stand the continuous tick tock, tick tock of the clock, much less the rrr rrr rrr of the cat and its incessant meow, all of that was complete paranoia for me; tell me the rooster’s chiquiriquí at dawn, or the chirping, chirping, chirping of his young at all hours… Yes, my father’s farm was anything but a cozy place ”.

In the text the onomatopoeia can be evidenced in the «tic tock», the «rrr rrr rrr», the quiquiriquí and the «pío, pío, pío».

– Paronomasia

Paronomasia refers to the use of words whose sound is very similar, but have different meanings. Its main objective is to cause grace or give the content of the work an ironic or satirical tone, the purpose is that the idea that is expressed is kept in the memory of the person who reads it.


«The man manned the minimum pussycat,

because he saw that it was opportune to extend a faithful hand”.

In this case, the paranomasia can be appreciated in “hombreo hombreo” and in “minino minimo”.

– similicadence

This literary resource consists of the repetition of words with similar sounds in a text, which are usually close to each other. In general, a verb that is conjugated in the same person and tense is used. In prose they are written continuously, but in verse these words can be used at the end of each one.


Prose: «There he goes, he is going to die, to stop feeling, not to live anymore, not to laugh or walk.»

Verse: “His mother looked at him / his father sang to him / his daughter pampered him / his wife loved him”.

In the prose example, the similarity in the verbs in the infinitive is evident: die, feel, live, laugh and walk. And in the example in verse in the conjugations: I watched, I sang, I pampered, I loved.

– Palindromy

It is a kind of word game that consists of writing terms or phrases that read the same from left to right and from right to left. The main utility of palindromy is to give literary content a different meaning and order to charge it with dynamism and creativity.


«To the house!, and already take it out!».

If the sentence is read backwards, it will be possible to notice that the letters have the same order.

semantic literary devices

– Comparison

Comparison as a literary device consists of associating two words with similar meanings in order to observe and highlight any difference. This figure is also known as a simile and is used to vary the text or establish a discursive style.


«Your skin, like nocturnal foam of the sea,

white, sneaks through my dying hands,

similar to the flashes of a dead sun”.

The phrase «Your skin, like nocturnal foam of the sea, white» clearly denotes the simile between the skin and the foam of the sea

– metaphor

The metaphor is one of the most used elements in literature. It consists of transmitting a different meaning to what the text says literally.

The metaphor gives sensitivity to the text as well as stylistic force. On the other hand, this literary resource subtly suggests the association or comparison between the concepts involved, that is, it does not use relationship terms such as: that, which, how, resembles, similar to, among others.


«His eyes of a wounded beast roamed the firmament,

At that moment his hands were roots of air looking for which word to hold on to”.

The metaphor is clearly exemplified in «His eyes of a wounded beast» and «his hands were roots of air.»

– Allegory

The allegory consists of omitting the denotative or original meaning of the word to use the figurative sense. Another way of defining it is as the expression of a concept or idea to show a different meaning to what is actually exposed.

In a simpler way, an allegory is a symbolic manifestation of a thought. Now, this literary resource is often compared to a metaphor, only that it is broader and more durable within the discourse.


«What will become of this ranchería,

of its walls cane and mud,

of the sea air that fills you and leaves you?

How many nights will its foundations last?

In this case the entire stanza is an allegory to a man. The ranch is the being; the walls are his skin, the air is his breath and the nights are the days.

– Metonymy

In simple terms, metonymy is giving a new name to a word or concept based on the similarities of their meanings. In this literary resource, relationships and similarities are objective, which means that they are present in reality.

The elements are related in metonymy as follows:

– The cause for the effect.

– The container for the content.

– The symbol for what is symbolized.

– The place for what is generated in it.

– The author for the work.

– The part for the whole.

– The whole for the part.

– The matter for the object.

– The name of the object by another contiguous to it.

– The instrument for which you use it.

– Example

«Maria definitely looks good on Dolce and Gabbana.»

This example is simple, instead of talking directly about the clothing, they talk about the brand.

– Antithesis

The literary resource of the antithesis consists of contrasting two phrases or ideas to awaken reasoning. In other words, this element is an expressive way of opposing approaches that at a given moment may have similar features.


«As always, I will be the light and you will be the darkness, this relationship cannot be any more.»

This antithesis between light and dark is one of the most common.

– Personification or prosopopoeia

The personification or prosopopoeia is aimed at giving human traits, characteristics or qualities to an imaginary or irrational being. However, this literary resource is applied in literature with the aim of cultivating the imagination and perceiving changes with broad points of view.


«The chair was looking at me attentively, I wanted to guess the right moment in which I would sit down.»

The sky cries.»

«Look at my house. It’s a beauty, right?»

«Fire swallowed the whole forest.»

“Time advances and waits for no one”etc.

– Apostrophe

This literary resource is used to address or express a present or absent being, or an object or thing, a feeling or emotion that is generally full of passion and strength. Commonly, the apostrophe is observed in religious prayers, political speeches, soliloquies, and prayers.


«Where am I going without you, sea?»

In this case the phrase is directed to the sea.

– Calambur

The calambur consists of reuniting words within a phrase or sentence in order to change its meaning and context. With the use of this literary resource, there is a turn in the meaning of the discourse and at the same time it is endowed with humor, irony, sarcasm and naivety.


«Goodbye, I owe you everything.» – “I owe everything to God”.

Just by rearranging the letters the phrase takes on a different meaning.

– hyperbole

Simply put, hyperbole or exaggeration consists of enlarging or increasing the qualities or features of a subject or object in order to make the text more expressive.


«She stopped the world with her eyes.»

«I could eat an elephant.»

«Your suitcase weighs a ton.»

«I’m dying of shame.»

«Your grandmother is as old as the hills”.

«I’m trying to solve a million problems at the same time.»

Morphosyntactic literary devices

– enumeration

The enumeration refers to the accumulation or consecutive sum of elements that may or may not be part of the same context and may also vary in terms of their meanings. This literary resource is used to broaden and deepen the content of the speech.


«And so I climbed, little by little, from the root to the trunk, then to the branches, to each leaf, to the top.»

Each part of the tree is numbered while climbing to the top.

– Epithet

An epithet is an adjective or characteristic that is added to a noun in order to reinforce its meaning within the discourse, but in reality it does not provide new knowledge because it is associated with its natural qualities. In short, this resource is used to generate an aesthetic effect and embellishment in the text.


«The hot sun scorched everything.»

– hyperbaton

The hyperbaton consists of altering the order of the words within the sentence or phrase in order to highlight an idea, or in the case of poetry, adjust the metric of the verses. This literary resource can be of four types: the thesis, the parenthesis, the anastrophe and the hysterology.


«The beach is alone without you.» The most common form is “The beach is lonely without you”.

«ANDhe winter kept us warm, covering us.”

“Nor you can tell, or guess, since only you”.

«AND the dead tree provides no shelter, the cricket gives no relief.»

«Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall» (Shakespeare).

– Anaphora

Anaphora as a literary element is the repetitive emission of one or more words at the beginning of a verse or phrase. The objective of the anaphora is to strengthen an idea, thought or emotion within the content of the speech.


«We will be the sun and…

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