Personification: Definition and Examples of Personification in Speech & Literature

When speaking in the English language or reading written text in the same, you are likely to come across the use of personification. But what exactly is this type of figure of speech? In this article, we are going to look at the meaning and use of personification. We will also take a look at some examples of personification in both an everyday conversational sense and in that of a literary sense.


Personification Definition

Personification is when human characteristics are attributed to an inanimate object. It is used to convey the meaning that an item or thing has performed an action when in reality it has not. This type of figurative language is used as a literary device in order to make a piece of writing more vivid and descriptive. It is also used in order to better assist the reader in understanding the text and can make a piece of writing more original and unique in its nature.

It is often used in the way of a metaphor and gives objects emotions, speech, gestures or desires.

Personification Examples

Examples of Personification in Everyday Conversation

There are likely to be many times in which you will hear or use personification in day to day language. It is a very popular form of figure of speech and is used regularly. We are now going to take a look at some examples of personification in a way that it is used in daily speech.

  • The book provides the information that we need to understand the language.
  • The car was suffering and needed some attention.
  • The stars were dancing playfully in the sky.
  • The tattered house appeared to be distressed.
  • The red car raced by, screaming for someone to notice its speed.
  • The bread jumped out of the toaster.
  • He was aware that opportunity had come knocking at his door.
  • The popcorn jumped around the microwave.
  • She did not see that her last chance was about to walk out of the door.
  • The new record from Elton John flew off the shelves.
  • The wind howled through the forest.
  • I fell over because the kerb jumped out before me.
  • The news took me by surprise when I heard it.
  • Before I knew it, it was midnight, time had crept up on me.
  • The hurricane attacked the city leaving it in ruins.
  • My life passed me by.
  • The sun glared down from the sky on that hot summers day.
  • The evil tree lurked in the shadowy woodland.
  • When I lost my job, my life screeched to a halt.
  • The waves lashed out on the ocean, causing the boat to falter.
  • My alarm clock loves to disturb me every morning.
  • Her tone was so vivid that as she read, the words leapt off the page.
  • I can hear Australia calling my name.
  • The avalanche devoured everything that stood in its way.
  • The wind whispered through the tall reeds.
  • Time and tide do not wait for anyone.
  • The fire swallowed everything in its path.
  • The moon peeped through the clouds in the sky.
  • I took a speaking exam but I was so nervous that the words left my mind.
  • The sun smiled at me that morning, and I knew it was going to be a good day.
  • Romance novels were her only companion.
  • The piece of carrot cake is calling out for me.
  • The candle’s flame danced in the dimly lit room.
  • The rain forest stood still and all the animals were quiet.

Examples of Personification in Literature

Personification is likely to be seen often used as a literary device. This might be in the form of poetry, song or script. We are now going to take a look at some examples of times in which personification has been used in written language.

  • In the poem ‘Two sunflowers move in to the yellow room’ written by Nancy Willard, we see an example of personification many times, one example of this is the line “Oh Will we are tired of the weather, said the sunflowers as they shone with dew.”
  • In William Wordsworth’s poem ‘Daffodils’ we again see many examples of personification, one of these is in the opening line of ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud.’
  • In the play Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare, we can see an example of personification in a line delivered by Friar Tuck, which reads ‘the grey eyed morning smiles at the nights which frowns.’
  • In ‘The green gables letter’ written by L G Montgomery we see personification being used in the sentence ‘the woods are preparing to go to sleep.’
  • In another scene from the play Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare, we see an example of personification in the line ‘when well dressed April comes on the heel of winter.’
  • In ‘Have you got a little brook in your heart’ written by Emily Dickinson, we can see another example of personification in the line ‘where the bashful flowers blew.’
  • In another piece of writing written by William Shakespeare called ‘How Pearl Button was kidnapped, we see an example of personification in use in the following line; ‘It was afternoon time of a sunny day in which the winds played hide and seek.’
  • In the poem, ‘The waste land’ written by T S Elliot we see personification being used in the opening line, which reads ‘April is the most cruel month.’
  • In another piece written by Emily Dickinson, entitled Because I could not stop for death, we see personification being used in the line ‘Because I couldn’t stop for death, he then stopped for me.’


By looking deeper into how personification is used and what it is used for, we have learnt that it is a form of figurative language in which inanimate objects are given human traits such as emotions, gestures, desires, speech and more. It is used commonly in everyday language and also used frequently in literature. It is a way of making a description much more unique and vivid and aids the reader or listener to better understand what is being described.

Personification Infographic