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Understand How Authors Use Language

In this worksheet, students will explore author's use of language. They will be asked to consider different writing devices and techniques.

'Understand How Authors Use Language' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:   Discuss Author Language

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

In your writing, you can use literal or figurative language. What's the difference between the two?


Literal Language:

Literal language is obvious language that is plainly stated and is often found in non-fiction texts.

Literal language means exactly what it says!

For example: 'the grass looks green'.


Figurative language:

Figurative language is more commonly used in fictional writing.

It will add extra detail, depth and meaning to a sentence.

There are many forms of figurative language that you can use in your writing, let's recap some now.



A simile is when you compare one thing to another using 'like' or 'as'.

For example:

'The mixture is as sticky as chewing gum.'

'He moves like a dancer.'



A metaphor is when one thing is compared to another.

For example:

'She is an angel.'

'Her tears were a river flowing down her cheeks.'



Personification is when inanimate (not moving/living) objects are given the qualities or actions of a living person or creature.

For example:

'Time flew and before we knew it, it was time to start secondary school.'

'The popcorn leapt out of the bowl.'


Pathetic fallacy

The pathetic fallacy is similar to personification but is used with reference to nature.

For example:

'An angry storm.'

'The stars waltzed in the moonlit sky.'



Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds near each other.

For example:

'Sheep should sleep in a shed.'

'Penny planted peonies in the pot.'



Onomatopoeia means a word that sounds like the common sound of the object it is describing. 

For example:

'Plop went the rubber duck into the bath.'

'The train called, "choo, choo!"'



Oxymoron are words close together that have the opposite meaning.

For example:

'The living dead.'

'We're alone together.'



Hyperbole is when exaggeration is used in writing for effect.

For example:

'The shopping cost me a million pounds!'


In this activity, you will answer a range of questions based on the devices above.

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