Literary resources complete list with examples

Simon Doyle
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 a 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.

Literary resources allow expressiveness to the text. Source:

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

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

Article index

  • 1 Phonic literary resources
    • 1.1 - Alliteration
    • 1.2 -Onomatopoeia
    • 1.3 - Paronomasia
    • 1.4 - Similicadence
    • 1.5 - Palindromia
  • 2 Semantic literary resources
    • 2.1 - Comparison
    • 2.2 - Metaphor
    • 2.3 - Allegory
    • 2.4 - Metonymy
    • 2.5 - Antithesis
    • 2.6 - Personification or prosopopeia
    • 2.7 - Apostrophe
    • 2.8 - Calambur
    • 2.9 - Hyperbole
  • 3 Morphosyntactic literary resources
    • 3.1 - Enumeration
    • 3.2 - Epithet
    • 3.3 - Hyperbaton
    • 3.4 - Anaphora
    • 3.5 - Chiasmus
    • 3.6 - Asyndeton
    • 3.7 - Parallelism
    • 3.8 - Ellipsis
    • 3.9 - Oxymoron
    • 3.10 - Tautology
    • 3.11 - Symbolism 
    • 3.12 - Allusion
    • 3.13 - Synecdoche 
  • 4 References

Phonic literary resources

- Alliteration

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


"The mar was going to The msee the shore,

should theired to what theirceptible of his soul of agua agitada a grites for storms ".

Here you can see the alliteration present in "La mar" and "lick", also in "his thirst" and "susceptible"; and, finally, in "water" "agitated" "shouting".


Onomatopoeia is the reproduction of sounds from nature or common objects within 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 could not bear the continuous tic tac, tic tac of the clock, much less the rrr rrr rrr Of the cat and its incessant meow, it was a complete paranoia all that for me; tell me the quiquiriquí of the rooster at dawn, or the twit, twit, twit of his young at all hours ... Yes, my father's farm was everything, except a cozy place ".

The ticking of the clock is one of the most popular onomatopoeias. ] Source:

In the text the onomatopoeia can be evidenced in the “tic tac”, 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 to 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 man to the minimal pussy,

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

In this case, the paranomasia can be seen in "male man" and in "minimal pussy".

- Similicadence

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


Prose: “There she goes, she will To die, to stop feel, not to live no more to laugh neither walk".

Verse: “His mother looked / his father sang / his daughter pampered / his wife loved".

In the example in prose, the similicadencia is evident in the verbs in the infinitive: to die, feel, live, laugh and walk. And in the example in verse in the conjugations: he looked, he sang, he pampered, he loved.

- Palindromia

It is a kind of word game that consists of writing terms or phrases that are 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 load it with dynamism and creativity.


"Home! And get it out!".

There are also numerical palindromes, for example: 404. Source:

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

Semantic literary resources

- 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 night sea foam,

White, creeps through my dying hands,

similar to the flashes of a dead sun ".

The phrase "Your skin, like night sea foam, white " clearly denotes the simile between skin and sea foam

- Metaphor

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

The metaphor gives sensitivity to the text as well as stylistic force. On the other hand, this literary device 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 wounded beast eyes they roamed the firmament,

in that instant his hands were roots of air looking for which word to hold on to ".

Clearly the metaphor is exemplified in “His eyes of a wounded beast " Y "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 to define it is as the expression of a concept or idea to show a different meaning than what is actually exposed.

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


"What will become of this ranchería,

from its walls reed 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 ranchería is being; the walls are your skin, the air is your 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 device, relationships and resemblances are objective, which means that they are present in reality..

The elements are related in metonymy as follows:

- Cause for effect.

- The continent for its content.

- The symbol for the 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 after another adjoining it.

- The instrument you use it for.

- Example

"Definitely, Maria suits Dolce and Gabbana".

This example is simple, instead of talking directly about clothing, we are talking about the brand.

- Antithesis

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


"As always, I will be the light and you the dark, this relationship can not be more".

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

- Personification or prosopopeia

The personification or prosopopoeia is oriented to give human traits, characteristics or qualities to an imaginary or irrational being. Now, this literary device is applied in literature with the aim of cultivating the imagination and perceiving changes with broad points of view..


"The chair looked at me attentively, I wanted to guess the right moment when I would sit down".

"The sky cries ".

Look at my house. It is a beauty, right? ".

"The fire swallowed up the whole forest".

"Time advances and does not wait for anyone", etc.

- Apostrophe

This literary device is used to address or express to a being present or absent, or to an object or thing, some feeling or emotion that is usually full of passion and strength. Commonly, the apostrophe is seen 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 reunifying words within a phrase or sentence in order to change its meaning and context. With the use of this literary device, there is a turn in the direction of the speech and at the same time it is endowed with humor, irony, sarcasm and naivety.


"Bye, I owe you everything." - "I owe everything to God".

Just by redistributing 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 resources

- 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 expand 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 listed as it climbs 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 speech, 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 and beautifying effect in the text.


"The hot sun it burned 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 meter of the verses. This literary resource can be of four types: the thesis, parenthesis, anastrophe and hysterology.


"The beach is alone without you." The most common way is "The beach is alone without you".

"ANDWinter kept us warm, covering us ".

"Nor you can say, or guess, since only you".

"Y the dead tree does not provide shelter, the cricket does not give any 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 anaphora is to consolidate an idea, thought or emotion within the content of the speech.


"We will be the sun and the moon,

we will be the beginning and the end,

we will be a rumor, something uncertain ".

In this case "we will be" is the word used to make the anaphora.

- Chiasmus

This literary device consists of repeating a syntactic or order organization in a text. The chiasm orders the first elements of speech in the form "AB" and the next one is reversed, that is, it becomes "BA". In other words, a chiasm is the crossover in the structure of phrases or sentences.


"You can get the man out of the neighborhood, but it is difficult to get the neighborhood out of the man".

- Asyndeton

This literary device consists of omitting or leaving aside the links that unite one word or phrase with another. The main function of the asyndeton is to give speed and dynamism to the speech. The links that are removed are usually replaced by the comma punctuation sign (,).


"She is pretty, attentive, I like her".

In this case, the conjunction "and" is suppressed by a ",".

- Parallelism

This literary element consists of distributing the words in a text in parallel in order to repeat the structure of the discourse to give it rhythm and sequentiality. The parallelism can be of four forms: semantic, correlational, parison and isocolon.


“There you were, cold; there you were, without feelings ".

- Ellipse

Ellipsis is the omission or elimination of a word within a phrase or verse because it is not necessary within the context in which the statement is given. Ellipsis is applied so as not to repeat an idea that is over-understood and at the same time give precision to the text.


"Today I go to the cinema, you (go) to the store".

In this case, "see" is deleted.

- Oxymoron

This resource refers to the union of two words or ideas whose meaning is logically opposite, that is, they do not have similarity to each other. The oxymoron is used to make the text more attractive within the speech.


"He was a poor rich man, like so many others".

- Tautology

It is the repetitive use of phrases or words with similar meanings. In other words, it is expressing the same thing or idea two or more times..

A grammatical tautology means that an idea will be repeated within the phrase, sentence, or paragraph to give the impression that more information is being supplied..

There are different types of tautology; they can occur in intentional ambiguities, in poetic devices, as psychological significance, etc. Examples of tautology can be: "Your performance is completely devoid of emotion" Y "Repeat that again ".

- Symbolism

Uses the use of symbols to signal ideas, giving them symbolic meaning different from its literal sense. It can take different forms; generally it is an object representing another to give it a deeper and more important different meaning.

In literature, there are many symbolic values. For example, in the monologue of “As you likeShakespeare's: Everyone is a stage, all men and women are actors who have their entrances and exits; a man plays many roles in his life.

These lines are symbolic since the stage represents the world and the actors are human beings who act in different ways throughout their lives..   

- Allusion

This resource is an indirect and brief reference to a person, place, thing or idea with a cultural, historical, literary or political meaning. It does not describe in detail what it refers to, it is just a brief comment.

For example, the phrase "I do not approve of this quixotic idea”Is an allusion. Quixotic means impractical and stupid, it derives from Cervantes's Don Quixote as it tells the story of a crazy knight.

- Synecdoche

Synecdoche occurs when a part of something represents a whole; it can be used to represent a part. You can use large or small groups.

For example, referring to a car as “wheels” is a synecdoche as it represents the entire car..

The word bread refers to money in the phrase "writing is my bread and butter"; the word tail is a common synecdoche to refer to carbonated drinks, etc..


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