Using alliteration and onomatopoeia in a setting description

Home learning focus

Learn how to use alliteration and onomatopoeia in a setting description.

This lesson includes:

  • three videos

  • three activities


Watch this fun video to remind yourself how alliteration and onomatopoeia can be used for effect in your writing.

Playing with words with poet Joseph Coelho

Learn how to use alliteration in more detail by watching this video.

Using alliteration

Alliteration is when words that are next to (or close to each other) start with the same sound.

It is a way to link words together and can be used for effect, especially in descriptive writing. It can be used to create suspense or danger.


Elliot the elephant entered the cave like a shifty, sly snake.

Here, ‘Elliot the elephant entered’ and 'shifty, sly snake’ are both examples of alliteration.

Where else is alliteration used?

You might find examples in poetry, advertising and in newspaper headlines to grab the reader's attention.


Understand what onomatopoeia is in more detail by watching this video clip.

Using onomatopeia

Onomatopoeia is a type of word (or words) that sounds like what it is describing.

'Thud', 'crash', 'bang' and 'buzz' are all examples.

In a setting description, onomatopoeic words can be very useful for setting the mood or sharing what can be heard.


'Crack! The lighting bolt clapped and illuminated the shadowy sky outside. Suddenly, from the floor below, came an eerie creak…'

Here, 'crack' and 'creak' are onomatopoeic.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Can you use your knowledge of alliteration to fill in the gaps?

Next, can you match the onomatopoeic sound to the correct scene?

Activity 2

1) Imagine you are taking a picture of a dog in the park.

2) Can you think of three onomatopoeic words that you might be able to hear?


  • Click! (The camera taking a photograph).
  • Thud! (The tail of the dog hitting the floor).

3) Now, think about our senses of hearing and smell, which are both useful when writing a setting description. What do you think the dog can hear or smell in this setting?

4) Write three sentences about what the dog can hear or smell that includes alliteration.

Super challenge

Can you write a sentence about what the dog might be able to hear or smell that includes both alliteration and onomatopoeia?


'Whiff! The dog sniffed the sumptuous smell of fresh air as he posed for his photograph.'

Top tip!

Too much alliteration can become repetitive and may make your writing harder to read. Use it wisely!

Activity 3

You can either print out this activity sheet or write your answers on a piece of paper.

Try this activity to explore using onomatopoeia.

Onomatopoeia worksheet

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about alliteration and onomatopoeia.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you understand more about making your writing more descriptive:

There's more to learn

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