Difference Between Literary Devices and Figures of Speech l Literary Devices vs Figures of Speech

The key difference between literary devices and figures of speech is that the literary devices involve all literary elements in a literary work while the figures of speech mainly involve language and style of a literary work.

A figure of speech is a form of expression where writers use words out of their literary meaning or out of ordinary use. However, a literary device can be broadly defined as a literary or linguistic technique producing a specific effect, especially a figure of speech, narrative style, or plot mechanism. Though figures of speech are a type of literary device, not all literary devices are figures of speech.


1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Literary Devices
3. What are Figures of Speech
4. Side by Side Comparison – Literary Devices vs Figures of Speech in Tabular Form
5. Summary

What are Literary Devices?

Literary devices refer to devices or manoeuvres writers use in their writing to relay information and develop the narrative, i.e., to make his or her work complete, interesting or complex. In other words, it is a “literary or linguistic technique that produces a specific effect, esp. a figure of speech, narrative style, or plot mechanism”.

While figures of speech are a major component of literary devices, they are only one aspect of literary devices. Literary devices also include techniques that enhance elements such as setting, plot, and characterization of a literary work. Below are some examples of literary devices one can use to improve the plot and characterization:


Flashback – depicting an occurrence that happened before the current point of the story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>