English 11 Journal Prompts
Journal #1: Alliteration is the repeating of beginning consonant sounds. Even very young
children love tongue twisters that use alliteration. Here is an example: Sue sells seashells by
the seashore. Alliteration can be a great help to memory. It is alliteration that helps us
remember certain phrases. For example, “live and learn,” “sink or swim,” “the more the
merrier,” and “green as grass” all use alliteration. Alliteration is often used in newspaper
headlines. Imagine that you are a reporter for your school newspaper. In the space below,
write at least ten headlines about your school using alliteration.
Journal #2: The repetition in alliteration can help writing flow. But if alliteration is overused, it
can have a comic effect. Many tongue twisters use alliteration for this reason. Here is the first
line of a well-known alliterative tongue twister: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Use alliteration to create your own tongue twister (one you’ve never heard before).
Journal #3: If you look for it, alliteration is everywhere. You will often hear alliteration in
advertising slogans, such as “You’ll find the best buys at Bob’s Bargain Basement!” Write two
advertising slogans you have heard using alliteration. Also, write five slogans of your own using
alliteration. You may make up new slogans for real products or write slogans for products
Journal #4: Alliteration is an effective way to link certain words together. You have probably
seen many examples of the way that alliteration highlights words that have the same beginning
sound or the same stressed syllable. It can also be used, however, to highlight words that break
the alliteration. Write a short poem, a song lyric, or an advertising jingle using alliteration. Use
a break in alliteration to highlight a phrase that is particularly important.
Journal #5: Alliteration can be used to add to the rhythm of a line. For this reason, it is
sometimes used in song lyrics. Look at the example below.
“To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
In a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock,
Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
Form a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!
Gilbert and Sullivan, The Mikado
Study the many different examples of alliteration. How many did you hear? Write three
sentences that use several different sounds for alliteration. Try to make the alliteration add to
the rhythm of your sentence.
English 11 Journal Prompts (Wk 2)
Journal #1: Allusion is an indirect reference to a well-known person, place, thing, or event.
When an allusion is used in writing, it can call up relevant associations. For example, when
someone is referred to as a “Romeo,” we understand the reference to a protagonist in Romeo
and Juliet. This calls up the image of a lover.
Read the following allusions and then describe the associations each one evokes.
Journal #2: People use allusions in everyday conversation by referring to literary, historical, or cultural
subjects that hold understood meaning. For example, when your friend says, “Big Brother is watching,”
she is talking about the ruler from George Orwell’s classic 1984, in which people’s actions, words, or
even thoughts are censored. She is reminding you to watch what you do, because someone might see
you and cause a problem.
Underline each allusion. Then explain what the reference means.
1. When I visited Poland, I felt like Alice in the rabbit hole.
2. She is richer than King Midas!
3. That man is as evil as the Grinch!
Journal #3: Literary allusions come from many sources – novels, stories, poems, myths,
religious literature, and even comic books. For each trait below, think of a way to use a literary
allusion to illustrate it. Then write a sentence using the literary allusion. Be creative, but make
sure your allusion is immediately identifiable.
Journal #4: Antithesis is the contrasting of ideas in the same (or a neighboring) sentence. It is
often used to highlight a single characteristic by giving it a contrasting setting. Antithesis
establishes a clear, contrasting relationship between two ideas by joining them together or
juxtaposing them, often in parallel structure.
Here are some famous examples of antithesis.
That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. –Neil Armstrong
To err is human; to forgive, divine. –Alexander Pope
Read and write the sentences below. Next to each, indicate whether or not it uses antithesis.
Write an A next to each sentence that uses antithesis. Write an N if the sentence does not use
1. The hero stood tall and strong in the midst of the cowering, defeated villains.
2. The branches of the tall tree reached outward through the forest.
3. Her bright flashlight beam cut through the thick blackness of the night.
4. The vivid red holly berries gleamed against the stark whiteness of the snow.
5. The baby’s shrill cries were drowned out by those of the other babies in the nursery.
Journal #5: Read the examples of antithesis below. For each example, write a sentence or two in your
own words describing what the statement means.
1. He is old enough to know better, but he is young enough to not care.
2. Wisdom waits; recklessness runs.
3. Although I decline to answer, I offer to listen.
4. Her head is in the clouds, but her feet are on the ground.
Journal #1: Use antithesis to complete each sentence below.
1. We asked for action, and they gave us
2. We are well fed, but in slavery; we
3. We cannot attract new members by our arguments; we must win them by our
4. Sometimes, you have to be cruel to be
5. You paid for this, but they give you
6. What goes up
7. Less talk, more
Journal #2: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds. Read the examples below.
An so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling – my darling – my life and my bride.
- Edgar Allan Poe
An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
Try using assonance in your writing. Start by writing three sentences on each line below
that contain assonance.
Journal #3: Recognizing assonance can be tricky. After all, assonance is subtler than some of the other
poetic devices. To recognize assonance, you need to listen carefully to the vowel sounds contained in
the interior of words. Is the same sound repeated in different words? If so, assonance is present. It is
important to remember how assonance is different than rhyme. Rhyme happens when a vowel and a
consonant sound are repeated at the ends of words.
Look at the list of words below. For each word, think of another word that you can put with it to create
assonance. Remember, your words should not rhyme.
1. Treetop 5. Nightfall
2. Clamor 6. Revealing
3. Mundane 7. Loyal
4. Quaking 8. Childish
Journal #4: Read the word pairs below. If they contain assonance, write Y for yes beside the
word set. If they do not, write N for no.
1. Fruit/Bait 6. Pen/Pun
2. Grave/Drive 7. Teeth/Complete
3. Purple/Hurt 8. Bath/House
4. Night/Cry 9. Most/Dust
5. Caught/Mop 10. Birth/Curse
Journal #5 – The first stanza of Francis Ledwidge’s poem “Lament for Thomas MacDonagh” uses
He shall not hear the bittern cry
In the wild sky, where he is lain,
Nor voices of the sweeter birds
Above the wailing of the rain.
First, underline all the examples of assonance in these lines. Then use assonance as you write
the first stanza of your own lament. The lament could be for a friend who has moved away, the
end of vacation, or another topic of your choice.
Journal #1 – Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds. It is a lot like alliteration except
that the consonant sounds can occur anywhere within the words, not just at the beginning.
For example: Sally sings of hopes and things.
Or in this excerpt from a poem by Gerard Manely Hopkins: As kingfishers catch fire,
drangonflies draw flame; As tumbled over rim in round wells stones ring.
Notice “kingfishers catch” and “dragonflies draw” are both examples of
consonance. The m in “tumbled” is echoed by “rim,” and the r in “rim” is echoed
by “roundly” and “ring.”
Write a description of the weather using consonance. Try to capture some emotion or sound or
idea about the weather with this device.
Journal #2 – The following sentence is an example of consonance using the z sound. “As I doze,
at ease, the hammock sways under the leaves.” Write an example of consonance using each of
the following sounds: D, H, K, M, P, B, F
Journal #3 – A euphemism is a word or a phrase that uses inoffensive language to express
something offensive or unpleasant. For example, if you were to use the phrase “comfort
station” in place of “toilet,” you would be using a euphemism. Euphemism is often used by the
military, especially during times of war. In the left column are euphemisms that the US military
often employs. In the right column are the words that say what the military is actually talking
about. Match each euphemism on the left with its real meaning on the right.
1. Collateral damage A. the overthrow of a government
2. Friendly fire B. precision bombing
3. Regime change C. civilian deaths
4. Surgical strike D. the site of a nuclear bomb
5. Ground zero E. accidental death or injury of a
soldier by fellow soldiers
Journal #4 – Describe the meaning of each of the following euphemisms:
1. Motion discomfort –
2. Juvenile delinquent –
3. Pass away –
4. Wardrobe malfunction –
5. Underprivileged –
6. Disadvantaged –
7. Inflicted casualities –
8. Senior citizen –
Journal #5 – We often use euphemisms to talk about things we find frightening, such as war, sickness, or
death. They are also used as a way to discuss taboo topics, such as religion. Many euphemisms are
actually metaphors or other figures of speech. Match each euphemism on the right with its real meaning
on the left.
1. Break – in A. be economical with the truth
2. Fire someone B. confidential source
3. Genocide C. ethnic cleansing
4. Informer D. inventory shrinkage
5. Tell a lie E. pre-owned
6. Theft F. right-size
7. Used G. security breach
Journal #1 – Hyperbole is an overstatement or an exaggeration that is used for emphasis. Such
statements are not literally true, but people use them to make an impression or to emphasize
something, such as a feeling, an effort, or a reaction. Hyperbole is often used for a humorous effect.
See the following three examples: The bus ride took forever! He’s as big as a house. I’m so hungry I
could eat a horse!
Think of seven examples of hyperbole of your own and write them down.
Journal #2 – The sentences below use adjectives and adverbs to make literal statements. Rewrite each
sentences using hyperbole to make the statements more expressive.
1. This is not the first time I asked you to clean you room.
2. After seeing the horror movie, Aaron was very frightened when he heard a sudden noise behind
3. Jon had very large feet. He had to buy shoes at a special store.
4. To the four year old child, his grandfather seemed very old.
Journal #3 – You probably exaggerate using hyperbole all the time. Read each example of hyperbole
below. Rewrite the sentences without the hyperbole.
1. Nikki must have run at the speed of light to catch the bus this morning.
2. Devon cooked enough breakfast to feed the whole school.
3. Dana’s sprained ankle swelled to the size of a basketball.
Journal #4 – “Do you feel and look as old as the hills? Then you need to try Reva’s Wrinkle Reducer.
You would need to use gallons of other lotions and creams to get the same effect you get from one
treatment of Reva’s. With Reva’s, you will have the smoothest, softest skin on the whole planet. You’ll
thank yourself a million times a day for deciding to try Reva’s Wrinkle Reducer!”
This advertisement above uses hyperbole, extreme exaggeration, to get your attention. Write at least
three advertising slogans of your own that use hyperbole. Be creative – the more ridiculous they are,
Journal #5 – A hyperbole is often confused with a simile because it can also compare two things. In a
simile, two unlike things are compared with the world like or as. When a hyperbole compares two
things, however, it uses great exaggeration. Read each example of figurative language below, and
underline the examples that use hyperbole.
1. He’s as strong as an ox.
2. My dad is as stubborn as a mule.
3. Her teeth were as white as snow.
4. The shot was heard around the world.
5. The baby’s tears were like a flood.
6. That field is as flat as a pancake.
7. My sister and I fight like cats and dogs.
8. You could have knocked me over with a feather.
Journal #1 – Imagery is the words and details that create images and impressions in the reader’s minds.
Often, when we read, our minds go beyond the printed words to experience a sight, a smell, or a feeling
that is suggested by the writing. Imagery is the language that appeals to and calls upon our senses. It
makes writing more vivid, thus helping the writing come alive. Imagery is not just visual; it can appear in
many forms and go beyond our five senses.
Look at the following example. The author calls upon our senses of sight and hearing as well as our
emotions of fear and recklessness.
The trees clash in vain their naked swords against the door…The darkness presses his black
forehead close to the window pane, and beckons me without.
What vivid language is used by the author? What image is created by the use of the language?
Journal #2 – Read the descriptive words below that appeal to the senses. On the line beside each word,
write SI for sight, SM for smell, TO for touch, TA for taste, or H for hearing. You may use the dictionary
Aromatic iridescent stark Fragrant
Bitter melodious tangy staccato
Chartreuse nubby velvety smooth
Chattering piquant vermilion Ebony
Dissonant shrill viscous
Journal #3 – Writers use imagery to give readers a sense of a scene. To do this, they use words that give
lots of sensory detail, not just facts about the scene. Write a paragraph (at least seven sentences) to
describe the appearance of someone you know. Your description MUST NOT use any of the words
Tall, short, fat, thin, handsome, ugly, pretty, fair, dark, blonde, light, beautiful
Journal #4 – The sentence below gives a straightforward description of an event. Rewrite the sentence
five times, using words that appeal to each of the five senses: smell, hearing, touch, taste, and sight.
As the snow fell, she walked down the street with a cup of hot chocolate.
Journal #5 – Read the following facts about flamingos.
Flamingos are a type of wading bird. Their feathers are pink. They are about five feet tall, with
long, thin legs.
Now, write a description of a flock of flamingos. Do not use any of the following adjectives in your
description: pink, long, tall, thin.
Journal #1 – Irony is using a word or a phrase to mean exactly the opposite of its normal meaning. Irony
is normally identified by the circumstances under which the statement is made. Irony can be found in
many forms. For example: It could be a nickname, such as “Stretch” for a very short person. “Beautiful
weather!” said the girl as she looked out the window at the third day of rainy weather. “Wow! I’m
rich,” said the boy as he picked up a dime off the pavement.
Write seven examples of irony below.
Journal #2 – Read the following statements. Then describe a circumstance in which the statement
would be an example of irony and a circumstance in which it would not be irony. Example: “Well, that
just stinks.” Irony = I just won the lottery. Not irony = Someone just hit my car.
1. “What a nice guy.” Irony: Not irony:
2. “He is so thoughtful.” Irony: Not irony:
3. “Well, isn’t this a great situation!” Irony: Not irony:
Journal #3 - The simplest form of irony uses a word to mean its opposite. For example, you might hear
someone respond to an awful accident by saying, “That’s great!” The speaker means “That’s awful!”
The sentences below use words with their literal meanings. Rewrite each sentence to use irony. The
meaning of each sentence should stay the same.
1. I hate ironing.
2. This situation is terrible.
3. Your mother will be furious when she hears about this.
4. Sunshine, a warm breeze – what great weather we’re having.
Journal #4 – For each situation below, write two statements you might say to describe it – one that uses
irony and one that does not.
1. You travel for hours to a contest that gets rained out.
2. You learn that your big math exam has been postponed until next week.
3. Your brother loses your new CD.
Journal #5 – Situational irony occurs when the opposite of what is expected happens. For example, it
would be ironic if the superintendent of a school system in the U.S. failed an English proficiency test.
Alanis Morissette’s lyrics for the song “Ironic” use this type of irony in the list of bad things that happen
at bad times. This type of irony is what many people mean when they use the term ironic. Write song
lyrics or a poem that about situational irony. Here are a couple of examples of situational irony to get
your ideas flowing.
It rains just after you wash your car.
There is a heat wave the day after you put away the air conditioner.
Journal #1 - Litotes is a figure of speech in which the speaker emphasizes the magnitude of a statement
by denying its opposite. It is a deliberate understatement. For example: “She’s not a bad singer.”
(Means = She is a good singer.) Ex: “Hitler was no angel.” (Means = Hitler was very bad.)
Now write the real meaning of the following phrases.
1. He is no Einstein!
2. That is no laughing matter.
Journal #2 – Read the following litotes. Then write the real meaning of each phrase.
1. The surgeon is not a fool.
2. Patton was a general of no mean reputation.
3. I shall not be sorry to see that teacher retire.
4. He had not a few regrets after throwing away his coin collection.
5. Pollution is no small problem.
Think about the conversations that you have every day. Now write three examples of litotes that you
find in everyday conversations.
Journal #3 – Read the following sentences. How would you express the underlined words in the
sentence using litotes? Write the new words on the line. (Hint: For these sentences, the direct opposite
of the underlined adjective may not be the best option. Try out other adjectives until you arrive at the
one you like.)
1. He was a pretty good acrobat.
2. Summer camp was always a fairly exciting experience.
3. The movie had a lot of relatively well-executed special effects.
How does the use of litotes change the feel of each sentence? Do you think it changes the sentence’s
meaning slightly, or is the meaning unchanged?
Journal #4 – Each sentence below makes a positive statement. Using litotes, rewrite each one so that it
conveys the same meaning through a negative statement. How does using litotes change the overall
effect of each statement?
1. Tornadoes are common in this area.
2. Your question is reasonable.
3. He is very intelligent.
4. That is a good idea.
Journal #5 – You know that litotes is a way of stating something by denying its opposite. If we say
“That’s not bad,” we actually mean “That’s good.” You have probably seen the visual equivalent of
litotes, too. Think of a road sign that shows a drawing of a bicycle with a red slash through it. This sign
means “no cyclists.” To show that smoking is not allowed, a cigarette with a slash through it is used.
The words below all describe abstract ideas. Using litotes, think of a visual way to show each idea.
1. freedom 3. ignorance
2. negativity 4. Health
Journal One – A metaphor is a comparison of two unlike things without using like or as. A metaphor is
normally more subtle than a simile. A metaphor asserts that one thing is another and forces the reader
to consider the comparison. Here are three examples: Mom was a rock through all the difficult times.
Cherise is the prettiest flower in the garden. The coach was a real ringmaster.
Metaphors for strength and attitude are frequently used for the names of sports teams. List the names
of at least five sports teams below that are metaphors for strength and/or attitude.
Journal Two – Read the metaphors below. Then rewrite each sentence without the metaphor. Which
sentence is more descriptive?
1. My bedroom is my castle. 3. Her anger was a cape that she wrapped herself around.
2. The playground can be a jungle in the summer. 4. His brown mane fell to his shoulders.
Journal Three – Metaphors are used to describe things. They usually compare two things that are
unrelated. For each of the things below, write a metaphor to compare it to something else.
1. A rainy day 2. A difficult test 3. A beautiful sunset
4. An argument with a friend 5. A bowl of ice cream
Journal #1 – Metonymy refers to a person or a thing by naming one aspect, not the whole. It is a sneaky
type of figurative language because an object or a concept is used to refer to something that is closely
associated with it. Read the example below.
The White House issued a new policy on health care. *The White House – the actual building – did not
make an announcement. The White House stands for the President of the U.S. The two are closely
connected, and listeners or readers understand who made the announcement.
Read the following and explain why they are examples of metonymy.
1. I’m out of gas. 2. The chef warmed up the food.
3. The book said Columbus was an explorer. 4. The bench ruled on the child custody
Journal #2 – Each sentence below uses metonymy. Identify the person or thing each one refers to.
Then write it on the line.
1. The investigation went all the way up to the top brass.
2. Washington is looking into the conflict.
3. The U.S. made a clean sweep of medals in the first swimming event.
4. Hollywood has been serving up costume epics for the past few seasons.
Journal #3 – Use each of the following to create your own metonymy.
1. Radio 2. Pentagon 3. Sweat
4. The army 5. The school
Journal #4 – Underline each example of metonymy in the sentences below. Then rewrite the sentences
without using metonymy.
1. The suits in marketing want to know how fast we can complete the project.
2. This memo came from the corner office.
3. The crown considered recalling the ambassador.
4. The jockey galloped over the finish line.
Journal #5 – In the following sentences, think of an idea that is related to the underlined word or
phrase. Then rewrite the sentences using metonymy.
1. I will not have any caged-up parakeets in my house!
2. Today, legislators in Congress passed an appropriations bill.
3. Neal’s a lucky guy. His grandfather gave him a cool new car because he got straight A’s every year in
Now write three more examples of metonymy.
Journal #1 – Onomatopoeia is the use of a word that sounds like its meaning. For example, buzz sounds
like a fly swooping toward your ear. Onomatopoeia helps us actually hear the words we read and
consider them as part of the sound around us.
Think about what you heard on your way to school this morning. Write at least five phrases that include
onomatopoeia. For example, you may have heard the “woof” of a dog as you passed by a house or the
“buzz” of an insect.
Journal #2 – An onomatopoetic word expresses the way something sounds, so it’s perfectly
okay to make-up onomatopoetic words of your own. Writers do it all the time. For example,
James Joyce used the word “Mkgnao!” to express the meow of a cat.
Read the descriptions of sounds below. Think about what each sound is like. Then make up a
word that you think best expresses the sound and write it on the line. Be creative.
1. the sound of knuckles cracking
2. the sound of a plane flying overhead
3. the sound of ocean waves
4. the sound of leaves blowing in a high wind
Journal #3 – Using onomatopoeia in your writing is a unique way to help a reader hear what they are
reading. The words below are all examples of onomatopoeia. Choose four of the words and use them
in a paragraph. Your paragraph can be about anything, so be creative!
Boom Clang Coo Hiss Whoosh
Meow Neigh Ping Screech Sizzle
Journal #4 – In English we say that cats meow and dogs bark. These words are considered
onomatopoeia, but the sound can be imitated in many different ways. The words for these sounds in
other languages are not the same as the English words. The words below show the way some common
animal sounds are written in several different languages. Can you name each animal, and the English
word for the sound it makes?
1. cocorico (French) 2. Bhonbhon (Bengali) 3. Meu, meu (Catalan)
4. vov (Danish) 5. Zoem-zoem (Afrikaans) 6. Auh (Estonian)
7. mja (Icelandic) 8. Bho-bho (Hindi) 9. Gou gou (Mandarin Chinese)
10. bunbun (Japanese) 11. Miju (Croatian) 12. Kukeleku (Dutch)
Journal #5 – In the book Holes by Louis Sachar, two boys wander the desert, lost. They find some very
old jars of preserved peaches, the only source of food and liquid they have. The boys call the stuff in the
jars sploosh. Can’t you just hear the sloshing of old, soft, heavy peaches in think, fermented syrup when
you hear that word? Think up onomatopoetic words for each of the following descriptions.
1. a top spinning on a stone floor.
2. a lawnmower or dirt bike engine starting up
3. feet trying to run through a thick, sticky mud
4. high heels walking on a slick, smooth floor
5. a house of cards falling down
Journal #1 – An oxymoron is the use of two contradictory words for a special effect. (For example:
pretty ugly, random order) You probably hear many oxymorons in every day speech. Look at these
pairs of words below, and circle the oxymorons.
Color blind Icy hot Plastic silverware Bad job
Virtual reality Sad clown Working vacation Slow snail
Freezer burn Exact estimate Clogged drain Study hall
Journal #2 – Oxymorons are combinations of contradictory terms. Use these common oxymorons in
sentences of your own AND explain why the phrases are in contradiction with itself.
1. Jumbo shrimp
2. Educated guess
3. Night vision
4. Near future
5. Act naturally
Journal #3 – Look at the following oxymorons. Explain why the phrase is in contradiction with itself.
1. larger half
2. double solitaire
3. open secret
4. instant classic
5. genuine imitation
Journal #4 – An oxymoron combines two terms – often an adjective and a noun – that seem to
contradict each other. For each adjective in the first column below, find the contradictory noun in the
second column, and combine them to form oxymorons.
1. advanced A. beginner
2. boneless B. deadline
3. civil C. deviation
4. constant D. history
5. current E. hook
6. essential F. luxury
7. extended G. recording
8. live H. ribs
9. standard I. variable
10. straight J. war
Journal #5 –Some oxymorons are used for humor, such as an honest politician. Others emphasize
contradictory states, such as deliriously lucid, that give insight into the human mind. For each situation
below, write a sentence that includes an oxymoron.
1. You feel sorry for your friend, who just broke up with someone you hop to go out with.
2. A playful dog growls and snaps at its owner during a game of tug-of-war.
3. A very smart student makes a silly and obvious error.
4. Your brother has created a sandwich of bacon, peanut butter, honey, and lettuce – and it is
Journal #1 – A paradox is a statement that seems to contradict itself but actually makes sense. Paradox
is different from but related to oxymoron. A paradoxical statement is longer and suggests a situation
that appears impossible but works within the context of the poem or story. Paradox attracts the
reader’s attention and gives emphasis. Read the following paradox stated by the Spanish philosopher
Baltasar Gracian: Sometimes it proves the highest understanding not to understand. What do you think
Gracian meant by this statement? Write your answer in a short paragraph.
Journal #2 – When a parent says of a punishment, “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” they are using
paradox. On the surface, it seems the punishee will feel the sting of consequences more than the
punisher. But it pains a parent to cause a beloved child discomfort, even if it is for the good. The
seemingly contradictory statement is true. Write five paradoxes that you have experienced or observed
at school. Here are some examples to get your ideas flowing: She is superficial to the core. His vision
lies in his blindness.
Journal #3 – Read the paradoxical statements below. Then explain what you think each one means.
“There is no remedy for love but to love more. –Henry David Thoreau
“There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire. The other is to get it. – George
“Some things have to believed to be seen.” -Ralph Hodgson
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you
yourself have altered.” -Nelson Mandela
“Nothing is too wonderful to be true.” –Michael Faraday
Journal #4 – Choose one of the paradoxes below. Write a poem or a brief narrative that illustrates how
the apparent contradiction of the paradox is, in fact, accurate.
The more one learns, the less one knows.
Less is more.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Journal #5 – Read the paradoxes carefully and explain what they mean.
“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.”
“Anyone can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize
with a friend’s success.”
“I can resist everything except temptation.”
“I have very simple tastes, I am always satisfied with the very best.”
“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.”
Journal #1 – Personification is giving human characteristics to nonhuman things. Personification helps
the reader identify more closely with a subject. Here is a classic example of the personification of a tree:
“A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in Summer wear a nest
of robins in her hair.”
Explain all the human characteristics that the author assigned to the tree.
Journal #2 – Read the sentences below. Rewrite each sentence using personification. Think about how
personification changes the image the reader gets from the sentence.
1. The house made noise when the wind blew.
2. A lot of smoke came from the bus when it started.
3. The cake smelled delicious.
4. It was hot in the classroom, so Mr. Abrams opened the window.
5. The fire spread to the forest.
Journal 3# - For each object below, write a sentence that gives it human qualities.
1. window 5. computer
2. raindrops 6. Truck
3. pencil 7. couch
4. bicycle 8. Grass
Journal #4 – For each situation below, write a description using personification. Try to make your
description as vivid as possible.
1. Hail is falling during a storm.
2. A rowboat is drifting on a lake.
3. Your alarm clock wakes you early in the morning.
4. Your car runs out of gas on your way home.
5. The moon is full on a clear summer night.
Journal #5 – Write the following paragraph, and underline all the uses of personification. Then write
your own ending to the paragraph using a few examples of personification.
The wind howled outside. The tree branches knocked at my window. Afraid to move, I called out for
anyone. No answer. I knew no one was home, but something told me there was someone or even
something in my house. Every minute, the darkness crept into my room a bit more until I could hardly
make out any shadows. My chest was pounding. Just take a few deep breaths, I thought.
Journal #1 – A pun is a play on words. These words are identical or similar in sound but have very
different meanings. Puns are usually humorous, but sometimes they can be serious. Read the following
pun: Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.
Mercutio speaks this line to his friends as he is bleeding to death in Romeo and Juliet. The pun is on the
word grave. Mercutio means that he will be dead tomorrow. Explain the following pun in your own
words: When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.
Journal #2 – Edgar Allan Poe wrote the following about punning: Of puns it has been said that those who
most dislike them are those who are least able to utter them.
What did Poe mean by this statement? Do you agree with him? Write your answer in a paragraph of at
least five sentences.
Journal #3 – Explain the following pun in your own words: What’s the definition of a will? It’s a dead
Journal #4 – Explain the following pun in your own words: Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-
Journal #5 – Puns about animals are easy to write. Read the examples about cows: That was udderly
ridiculous! MOOve over!
Try to write more puns about animals. Come up with at least five puns.
Journal#1: Some similes are so common, they are almost cliché. Read the examples: Blind as a bat, slept
like a log, thin as a rail, as white as snow.
Write similes to complete the following phrases, trying to avoid clichés.
As fresh as As busy as
Hurt like Smooth as
Journal #2 – Some similes create comparisons you can visualize. For example, if someone said “That
cake is as light as a feather,” you could imagine a cake being lifted off a table by the breeze. If someone
was described as being “busy as a bee,” you could visualize someone with a large pair of wings, flying
quickly from task to task.
Create a simile of your own that calls up a visual image. Write your simile, and then either sketch the
image or write a sentence or two describing it.
Journal #3 – Similes often compare two things that don’t have much in common. This makes the
comparison more striking. For example, “her eyes are like stars.” The two things being compared are
eyes and stars, which are not very similar. What is being suggested though is the brightness of the eyes,
or the magic and mystery the eyes hold – like distant stars.
Match the following words to write similes:
Journal #4 – Choose an object from the following list: pencil, apple, plant, book, key, lake. Write at least
five similes you can about it.
Journal #5 – Read the simile below, and then answer the questions that follow in complete sentences.
The parent supported his child as sclerenchyma supports a plant.
The girl’s mother said the girl was like a tatterdemalion for dressing with such clothes.
She was so happy she glowed like a bioluminescent creature.
1. What is unusual about the similes above?
2. Do similes lose their effectiveness when the words used in them are not easily recognizable? Explain.
3. Rewrite one of the similes above using more standard vocabulary.
Journal #1 – A symbol is an object used to represent an idea. A symbol often represents something that
cannot be seen with the eye. For example, a dove stands for peace. The dove can be seen and peace
cannot. A bird is often a symbol of freedom. The American flag is a symbol for the United States.
Brainstorm at least five other symbols.
Journal #2 – Read the ideas listed below. For each idea, write something that symbolizes that idea for
1. danger 5. Happiness 9. wealth
2. family 6. Despair 10. success
3. love 7. health
4. death 8. Victory
Journal #3 – Synecdoche is using part of something to represent the whole, or the whole of something
to represent the part. For example, when Mark Anthony says in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “Friends,
Roman, Countrymen, lend me your ears,” he wants more than his audience’s ears; he wants their full
Read the examples below and explain why each is an example of synecdoche.
1. The gentleman asked for the lady’s hand in marriage.
2. John showed off his new set of wheels.
3. My favorite movie is on the tube tonight.
Journal #4 – Remember, synecdoche means substituting a part for the whole, or the whole for a part.
Match each underlined synecdoche with the thing it represents. Write your letter behind the sentence.
a. stage b. workers c. police d. cows e. clothes
1. The ranch hands ate after the job finished.
2. She couldn’t wait to hit the boards and show she deserved the role.
3. The cattle rustlers stole fifty head last week.
4. These new threads cost me a week’s paycheck.
5. The fight broke up when the law arrived.
Journal #5 – Read the list of body parts below. Then write a synecdoche using each body part or pair of
1. brain 3. Heart 5. face
2. mouth 4. eyes