A Good Library

Image Thumbnail What is Personification? Definition, Sentence, & Examples

What is Personification? Definition, Sentence, & Examples

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on mix
Share on pocket
Share on telegram
Share on tumblr
Share on email
Share on skype
Share on whatsapp

Sun was smiling today, this sentence illustrates another figure of speech, Personification. Sun? Smiling? Personification? You must have a lot of questions wandering in your head right now. 

Let us start with personification meaning, which is a figurative language used to portray non-human or inanimate objects with human characteristics. Just like the sun smiling. So, here the sun actually doesn’t smile right? Smiling is a human attribute that is used to describe the sun.

Basically, using a personification figure of speech, non-human objects are portrayed in such a way that it feels like they have the ability to act like human beings. 

For example – 

The wind whispered. 

Here, the writer is giving the wind the ability to whisper, which again is a human quality, Hence, the wind has been personified in the given sentence. 

Interesting right? Dig a little deeper with further information on personification.

Personification definition

The concept of personification can be defined in a number of ways, such as Personification is a figure of speech in which an inanimate thing, an idea, or an animal is portrayed with human attributes. 

In English, personification is mostly used in descriptive or narrative writing, more often in poetry, lyrical fiction, and nonfiction. Along with creativity, it brings in humor, emotion, and truth.

For example 

During the thunderstorm, the lightning danced across the sky.

Here, lightning actually cannot dance without legs, which is a human ability. Hence, lightning is personified.

David says that his alarm clock yells at him to get out of bed every morning.

Here, the clock is personified with the yelling ability of a human.

Hence, personification in literature is used to convey a different meaning outside the literal one through creative ways. It expresses the idea in a more colorful and imaginative way, and readers tend to connect more with these kinds of writings. 

Personification Examples

To understand more try and figure out human attributes and the things they are related to in these personification sentences. 

  • It was a rainy day and the moon played hide and seek with the clouds.
  • On our return from the trip, the flowers in my garden were crying for water.
  • On a windy day, the wind howled at night.
  • I heard the news this afternoon, the fire swallowed the entire forest.
  • The chair groaned when my grandfather sat on it.

In all the above examples non-human things are depicted with human abilities. 

As personification is widely used in literature, take a glance at some of the personification examples in literature.

  • That piece of chocolate cake is calling my name.

Here, the writer portrays the feeling of desire and hunger for a piece of chocolate cake. 

  • Love is blind. (Poet Geoffrey Chaucer)
  • The tree’s fingers hadn’t got the strength to hold on. (Extract from William Brodrick’s The Day of the Lie) 
  • Silence speaks so much louder than screaming tantrums. (Singer Taylor Swift)

Importance of Personification 

This figure of speech provides personality, energy, and emotion to an otherwise inanimate scene which engages the readers making them use the power of their imagination. The piece of writing becomes more colorful, humourous, and imaginative.

For example

David says that his alarm clock yells at him to get out of bed every morning.

This is a personified sentence. If not personified, this is how it will read like.

David says that the sound of the alarm clock gets him out of his bed every morning.

So, which one do you think is more expressive? Obviously, the one where the alarm is personified, as it expresses the perception of how David looks at the alarm.

Functions of Personification 

Apart from decorating the writing pieces, personification conveys a deeper meaning of the subject. As humans we will always look at the world from our perspective. And when writers or poets add the pinch of human characteristics in their writing, it becomes more relatable.  

For example:

The chair groaned when my father sat on it.

It depicts the image of when we will grow old, while sitting we might groan out of pain.

Thus, personification makes the literature more vivid and it can be used to explain concepts and ideas in a better way. 

Personification and Metaphor

The older the concept of personification and metaphor, the older the confusion among them. As both are figures of speech, which portray some things with some other thing. But, they are different.

Personification is illustrating a non-human object, idea, or concept with human characteristics, such as 

The camera loves my mother, as she is so pretty. Or The angry sore on my feet was painful.

Both the sentences related a non-living thing to a human attribute.

Whereas, a metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable, such as 

You are the apple of my eye. Or Shelly is the black sheep of the family. 

In both the sentences, neither of them is true.

Let us look at an example explaining both.

Metaphor: His face was stone.

Personification: The stone ignored us.

Metaphor: The leaves are dancers.

Personification: The leaves danced in the wind.

So, metaphor is like portraying things, be it human to non-human or vice versa and personification is illustrating things with human characteristics.

Did you find this article helpful?

Join our no-spam newsletter & find much more interesting (& very useful) stuff in your inbox!

Subscribe Here

The Newsletter

Wisdom of both worlds – Literature & Philosophy… 

About Me

Jui Shirvalkar-Chandurkar

Founder, A Good Library

Documenting my study notes in this cute little study library here!

Know more about me here

You can also connect with me on my Studygram – 


Popular Tags