What are conventions?

A helpful definition for those wanting to know what Language conventions are:

Language conventions are basically different ways the writer uses and manipulates language to encourage the audience to view something in a certain way.

Descriptive language conventions


When the writer creates a very clear picture of something in your head, to make the events more realistic

E.g., Robert’s boots sunk into the bloodied sand of the beach. Hundreds of soldiers lay lifeless and will, others were twitching and foaming at the mouth. (You could say this is a “disgusting connotation that helps you to respond to war in a negative way.)


When an object is given a human characteristic

E.g., the lamp blinked, or the wind screamed


When one thing is COMPARED to another

E.g. As white as snow, or as pretty as a picture


When something is not compared but said TO BE something else

E.g., the moon was suspended on a black sheet of velvet (the night sky IS the sheet)

Emotive language

When language is used to stir the audience’s emotions and get them to respond in a certain way to a person, event, or place

E.g., the screaming mother clung to the truck as her sobbing children were taken away from her

This gives the idea of a very desperate and emotional event, and we respond sympathetically to the mother and children

Another form of emotive language is when one particular character is given positive traits/qualities and thus makes her/him a likable and sympathetic character:

E.g. Emma opened her lunch box and pulled out her sandwich looked over at the little girl to the right ad noticed she had no lunch. Even though strawberry jam was her favorite, she quietly placed one of the crustless triangles in the girls lap.

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This is an ACTION and this action helps us to develop a positive opinion and sympathetic response to Emma.

Tip: Just remember they are ways in which the writer uses language to stimulate a particular response from the reader, or create a certain perception of something. Let us know if you have any questions!