We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Why Do Writers Use Personification?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Personification is a literary technique that gives human characteristics to inanimate objects or non-living things that would otherwise not experience emotions, or other human responses to events. The purpose of this is to increase the reader's interest in the story and keep his or her attention. In addition, providing human characteristics to anything -- whether it is a tree or a piece of machinery -- immediately encourages the reader to relate to the thing being described, and can evoke emotions such as concern or sympathy. As with many other literary techniques, personification helps to make the text feel more alive and vibrant, like all the details of everyday life.

It may be best to explain the concept of personification with an example. If an author says the grasses in a field are dancing in the wind, for example, this is an example of personifying the plants. The grasses are clearly not dancing, they are simply moving in response to the wind currents, but saying they are dancing evokes an image of nature that is easier to picture and relate to. Saying an alarm clock is beeping angrily is another example of this. The alarm clock isn't angry, but the person listening to the alarm clock is perceiving it that way, and this helps to set the tone for the story. The author is indicating that the person is probably not too happy to be waking up in the morning, for instance.

These are just a few basic examples of personification, but they do help to illustrate the reason an author might use this technique. One of the cardinal rules of good writing is to "show, not tell," and personification is one of the best ways to convey a mood or image without directly saying it. Describing the grass as dancing across the field, for instance, may convey an image of a beautiful, peaceful field without actually having to describe the field as being beautiful or peaceful.

Another reason authors use personification is to make the story more interesting and engaging to the reader, making it more likely they will keep going. Describing something this way forces the reader to visualize it, which brings him or her deeper into the story. In some instances, personification may also make the reader think about things differently, or gain a new perspective. This technique is often used in advocacy campaigns, for example, because people are more likely to want to care for something that they experience an emotional response to.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By StarJo — On Jan 02, 2013

Poems using personification are very moving, in my opinion. When someone is composing poetry, they really have to make the most of their words, because it's best not to cram too many words into one line.

Even with free verse, less is more. Personification helps the writer make sound, powerful points with short phrases.

Lengthy descriptions just don't work in poetry. There has to be a flow and a rhythm, and it is easier to find that when you use appropriate personification.

By seag47 — On Jan 01, 2013

This article taught me something I never knew. I have always combined descriptions like “beautiful” and “tranquil” with personifications, and I now see that I didn't really need to do that. I've been going overboard with my descriptive words, and I see that personification alone is enough.

By giddion — On Jan 01, 2013

@Kristee – Yes, even though a person can be told what personification is, they can't necessarily be taught to use it correctly. However, trying never hurt anyone.

I believe that everyone can improve their writing by learning new techniques. I had been using personification here and there in my writing without knowing what it was, but I believe that I now use it much more efficiently after learning more about it in college. So, though some people may never get the hang of it, the ones who understand it can improve by learning more about how the greats used it.

By Kristee — On Dec 31, 2012

I think that teaching personification to someone would be hard. It's more of a natural talent that some writers just have.

Many people just don't get subtlety, so it is really hard for them to make up some of their own. I had a writing class in college with kids who could not paint a picture with their words for anything, but there were a few students who had the gift.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.