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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (December 16, 2006)

Learn from the Greeks: Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia is the use of words whose pronunciation imitates the sound the word describes. "Buzz," for example, when we say it out loud is intended to sound like the noise from a flying insect.

Other examples: slam, bang, pow, screech, whirr, crush, sizzle, crunch, wring, whimper, wrench, gouge, grind, mangle, blam, pow, zap, fizz, urp, roar, growl, blip, click, and, my favourites, snap, crackle, and pop.

Compare these two sentences to see the power of onomatopoeia:

The flies bothered me in my tent last night.

The buzz and whirr of the flies bothered me in my tent last night.



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