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  1. #1
    alpacinoutd is offline Key Member
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    a few personifications

    Do these personifications work?

    1. The violin she was cradling in her arm was anxious. The hairs on the bow gently touched the strings and the violin wailed as if it were alive.
    2. The flowers didn't feel at home among all the tacky ornaments. They felt uncomfortable.
    3. The city was falling into despair.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: a few personifications

    1 is very odd.
    2 is OK, though I can't explain why I think flowers can be uncomfortable but a violin can't be anxious.
    3 isn't an example of personification.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. #3
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: a few personifications

    I don't think either musical instruments or plants have feelings.
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  4. #4
    alpacinoutd is offline Key Member
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    Re: a few personifications

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    1 is very odd.
    2 is OK, though I can't explain why I think flowers can be uncomfortable but a violin can't be anxious.
    3 isn't an example of personification.
    Okay. What about this?

    1. She was cradling a reddish violin, anxious to begin. The hairs on the bow gently touched the strings and the violin wailed as if it were alive.

    Why is it not personification to say a city falls into despair?
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 19-Jan-2021 at 19:20.

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: a few personifications

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    Okay. What about this?

    1. She was cradling a reddish violin, anxious to begin. The hairs on the bow gently touched the strings and the violin wailed as if it were alive.
    That's much better. It's clear that she is anxious, not the violin. The personification of the violin works with "as if it were alive".


    Why is it not personification to say a city falls into despair?
    I apologise. I read sentence 3 as "was falling into disrepair". You're right that "falling into despair" is an example of personification.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 19-Jan-2021 at 19:20.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. #6
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: a few personifications

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    Do these anthropomorphisms work?

    1. The violin she was cradling in her arm was anxious. The hairs on the bow gently touched the strings and the violin wailed as if it were alive.
    2. The flowers didn't feel at home among all the tacky ornaments. They felt uncomfortable.
    3. The city was falling into despair.
    The first two would only work in a Disney-like context where internal life of inanimate objects is clearly established.

    The third can be read to refer to the people of the city, as a group.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  7. #7
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: a few personifications

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I apologise. I read sentence 3 as "was falling into disrepair". You're right that "falling into despair" is an example of personification.
    I made the same mistake.

    We're just too used to cities falling into disrepair!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  8. #8
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: a few personifications

    I remember a line from a poem I wrote. (See below.)

    The fog has a sense of humor. It laughs when I bump into a tree.
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  9. #9
    alpacinoutd is offline Key Member
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    Re: a few personifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    I remember a line from a poem I wrote. (See below.)

    The fog has a sense of humor. It laughs when I bump into a tree.
    And the Nobel Prize for literature goes to the one and only Tarheel.

  10. #10
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: a few personifications

    By the way, do you see the difference between how personify and anthropomorphize are used?

    - Mother Teresa personified charity.

    - Motor vehicles don't really talk. Disney just anthropomorphized them in Cars.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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