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Onomatopoeia 01
In 'The fire is crackling and the wood is hissing' the words 'crackling' and 'hissing' are known as onomatopoeia.

Onomatopoeia 01

Onomatopoeia refers to words which make the sound they suggest, e.g. zip, crack, crash, buzz. Onomatopoeia is hard to say and even harder to spell, however it's not as scary as it looks!

Onomatopoeia can be used in an unsubtle way, as you might remember from childhood books and nursery rhymes. The writing of animal sounds is an example of onomatopoeia. Sounds to replicate those of nature or of terrible accidents are familiar, too, and you might have seen onomatopoeia in graphic novels as visual sound effects.

Poets and other writers use onomatopoeia to make you "hear" particular sounds when reading, as when they write of "reeds whispering", "branches creaking" or "water gurgling". It's good to experiment with onomatopoeia in order to make your writing more interesting, but try to use it sparingly and inventively, since many of these phrases have become cliched over time.

There are two quizzes on the subject, so to sharpen your onomatopoeic skills, give them both a go!

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1.
Find the onomatopoeic word(s) in the following sentence.
The old chair rasped and creaked as it rocked.
chair, rocked
old, chair
old, it
rasped, creaked
You could also use "squeaked" or "squealed" for "creaked"
2.
Find the onomatopoeic word(s) in the following sentence.
Birds chirped as they flew over the gurgling stream.
Birds, flew
Birds, stream
chirped, gurgling
flew, stream
Animal sounds are onomatopoeic: for example, "baa" and "quack"
3.
Find the onomatopoeic word(s) in the following sentence.
"Zap!" "Pow!" "Splat!" The hero was the winner.
hero, was, winner
the, hero, was
Zap, hero, splat
Zap, pow, splat
Keep a list of onomatopoeic words to use in writing
4.
Find the onomatopoeic word(s) in the following sentence.
Listen! The fire is crackling and the the wood is hissing.
crackling, hissing
fire, coals
is, are
Listen, is
"Crackling" and "hissing" are onomatopoeic words
5.
Find the onomatopoeic word(s) in the following sentence.
The wind shrieked and blew the rattling leaves along.
blew, along
leaves, along
shrieked, rattling
wind, leaves
Using "rattle" informs the reader that the leaves are dry
6.
Find the onomatopoeic word(s) in the following sentence.
Wailing gnats whirred around the cascading water.
gnats, whirred, cascading
Wailing, water, cascading
Wailing, whirred, cascading
Wailing, whirred, water
You could use "gushing'" or "plunging" for the water too
7.
Find the onomatopoeic word(s) in the following sentence.
The saucepan lids crashed and clattered onto the floor.
crashed, clattered
lids, floor
saucepan, floor
saucepan, lids
Other suitable noisy words include "clashed" and "'jangled"
8.
Find the onomatopoeic word(s) in the following sentence.
The storm broke with rain and flashes of lightning.
flashes
lightning
rain
storm
"Crash", "bang", "thump" and "thud" describe storms too
9.
Find the onomatopoeic word(s) in the following sentence.
Dogs splashed and sploshed in the burbling brook.
Dogs, sploshed, burbling
splashed, brook, burbling
splashed, sploshed, brook
splashed, sploshed, burbling
You can use "chattering" or "bubbling" for the brook too
10.
Find the onomatopoeic word(s) in the following sentence.
The bees buzzed and whizzed from flower to flower.
bees, flower
buzzed, whizzed
flower, flower
from, to
Use onomatopoeia to make your writing interesting

 

Author:  Sue Daish

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