Exploring personification

Home learning focus

To explore the way writers use personification and experiment with it in your own writing.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos to help you understand personification, where something non-human is described in human terms, as though it is alive

  • three activities

Learn

Personification is a type of metaphor where something non-human is described in human terms. Watch this short clip to remind yourself about personification and its effects.

What is personification? How and why would you use it? Bitesize explains with examples from ‘Home’ by Iain Crichton Smith.

An example of personification is: 'The alarm clock screamed at me to get out of bed'.

Here the alarm clock is shown as a figure or person hounding someone to get up for school!

Watch the following clip, from the start up to 1:05, and listen out for examples of personification in Frank Flynn's poem 'The School Bell'.

Craig Charles discusses how the poets have used simile and metaphor to create images.

Practise

Activity 1

  • Look around your room and make a list of eight objects that you see.

  • Write a list of eight to ten human actions - walking, dancing, smiling, etc.

  • Match the objects to an action to create humorous combinations.

Example

The clothes cartwheeled onto the floor.

Activity 2

Write a paragraph of description about your home. Bring it to life using personification.

Top tip!

A good way to approach this it to think about areas of your home in the morning, afternoon and evening. Do the objects in different rooms behave differently at different times of the day?

Example

In the morning, the cups chatter to each other in the kitchen sink.

Activity 3

Click on the image below and explore the effect of personification by completing two questions from Oxford University Press.

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

Personification activity sheets

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt how to use personification in your creative writing.

There are other articles on Bitesize with useful techniques to help you make your writing interesting and engaging.

There's more to learn

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