Personification is when you give human qualities or abilities to an object or animal. It is a literary tool that adds interest and fun to a poem or story. When a writer brings a non-human object to life it can help us understand better what they're trying to say.
Common Personification Examples
- Lightning danced across the sky.
- The wind howled in the night.
- The car complained as the key was turned.
- Rita heard the last piece of pie calling her name.
- My alarm clock yells at me every morning.
- The avalanche devoured anything standing in its way.
- Traffic slowed to a crawl.
- The door protested as it opened slowly.
- My house is a friend who protects me.
- The moon played hide and seek with the clouds.
- That book was so popular, it flew off the shelves.
- My car’s headlights winked at me.
- She is so beautiful the camera loves her.
- The stairs groaned as we walked on them.
- Winter’s icy grip caused people to shudder.
- Our vacuum hums a happy tune while it cleans.
- You need to cross over at the mouth of the river.
- Time flies and waits for no one.
- My flowers were begging for water.
- The ivy wove its fingers around the fence.
- The thunder was grumbling like it was angry.
- Hail pounded the houses and streets.
- The cactus saluted those who drove past.
- The wildfire ran through the forest at an amazing speed.
- When I didn’t make the team, my dream of being a star died.
Personification in Literature
"Ah, William, we're weary of weather," / said the sunflowers, shining with dew. / "Our traveling habits have tired us. / Can you give us a room with a view?" - "Two Sunflowers Move into the Yellow Room", Nancy Willard
Ten thousand (daffodils) saw I at a glance, / Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. / The waves beside them danced; but they / Out-did the sparkling waves in glee - "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud", William Wordsworth
The fog comes / on little cat feet. / It sits looking / over harbor and city / on silent haunches / and then moves on. - “The Fog”, Carl Sandburg
The little dog laughed / To see such sport, / And the dish ran away with the spoon. - Nursery Rhyme
The night was creeping on the ground! / She crept and did not make a sound - “Check”, James Stephens
"And then one day the boy came back and the tree shook with joy." - The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
Personification in Advertising
- Oreo: Milk's favorite cookie - Oreo
- Nothing hugs like Huggies - Huggies diapers
- Goldfish: The snack that smiles back - Goldfish snack crackers
- Kleenex says bless you - Kleenex facial tissues
- The car that cares - Kia
- Unwrap a smile - Little Debbie snack cakes
- Carvel: It's what happy tastes like - Carvel ice cream
- What do you feed a machine with an appetite this big? - Indesit washing machine and Ariel Liquitabs, laundry detergent (UK)
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Examples of Personification for Kids
By YourDictionaryPersonification is when you give human qualities or abilities to an object or animal. It is a literary tool that adds interest and fun to a poem or story. When a writer brings a non-human object to life it can help us understand better what they're trying to say.
Personification is a form of figurative language that is used as a literary technique. Personification means attributing human characteristics to something that is not human. For more information on how to identify and use personification in writing, please check out our Personification Worksheets for printable practice. Please read on for 30 examples of personification, including many personification examples from literature. Before you know it, your student(s) will master this very fun and creative way to use words!
- The stars winked at each other in the dark.
- Flames surrounded the house, licking and devouring it whole.
- The books murmured their stories from her shelf.
- Every photo in the album hides a secret.
- The cat glared at the new kitten like a jealous girlfriend.
- The sand stretched out its long limbs beside the water’s edge.
- Crouching low, the old cottage looked bent to its knees.
- The sky wept tears of joy.
- Cookies and cakes called to him from the display case: “eat us up!”
- Her silken dress whispered and sighed as she settled into the chair.
- The skyscrapers punched the blue sky.
- In the early morning light, time was patient with the new mother and her child.
- His voice filled up the house like an army of soldiers sent to attack.
- My dog studied the grass as if he was an architect preparing blueprints.
- The car horn squealed to alert us that they’d finally arrived.
Personification Examples from Literature
The following examples are all quoted from various works of literature, including poems, plays, stories, and novels.
- “These are the lips of the lake, on which no beard grows. It licks its chops from time to time.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “The fog comes / on little cat feet.” – Carl Sandburg
- “April is the cruelest month.” – T.S. Eliot
- “When it comes, the landscape listens, / Shadows hold their breath,” – Emily Dickinson
- “‘Ah, William, we’re weary of weather, / said the sunflowers, shining with dew. / Our traveling habits have tired us. / Can you give us a room with a view?” – William Blake
- “The woods are getting ready to sleep—they are not yet asleep but they are disrobing and are having all sorts of little bed-time conferences and whisperings and good-nights.” – L.M. Montgomery
- “Five-fingered ferns hung over the water and dropped spray from their fingertips.” – John Steinbeck
- “Hadn’t she known that something good was going to happen to her that morning–hadn’t she felt it in every touch of the sunshine, as its golden finger-tips pressed her lids open and wound their way through her hair?” – Edith Wharton
- “Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.” William Shakespeare
- “Pink is what red looks like when it kicks off its shoes and lets its hair down. Pink is the boudoir color, the cherubic color, the color of Heaven’s gates. . . . Pink is as laid back as beige, but while beige is dull and bland, pink is laid back with attitude.” – Tom Robbins
- “The teapot sang as the water boiled, / The ice cubes cackled in their glass, / The teacups chattered to one another, / While the chairs were passing gas.” Sharon Hendricks
- “The glacier knocks in the cupboard, / The desert sighs in the bed, / And the crack in the tea-cup opens / A lane to the land of the dead.” – W.H. Auden
- “I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. / Whatever I see, I swallow immediately. / Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike / I am not cruel, only truthful –” – Sylvia Plath
- “Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.” – Theodore Roethke
- “The shattered water made a misty din. Great waves looked over others coming in.” – Robert Frost