What is diction in literature/definition/types of diction

Diction is the choice of words or style used by a writer or character. Diction is the main element in determining the quality of a work. There are several factors to consider. What is diction in literature

What is diction

Diction is the choice of words or style used by a writer or character. Diction is the main element in determining the quality of a work. There are several factors to consider when choosing words:

  • Words must be correct and precise
  • Words must match the context
  • Words must be understood by readers or listeners

The choice of words may differ depending on symbols, situations and settings. For example, formal diction can be used in formal settings such as conferences, academic presentations, etc., while informal diction is used in everyday language. Thus, diction can be classified into various types. Here we will look at the different types of diction in detail. What is diction in literature

What are the different types of diction

Formal versus informal diction

Formal diction refers to a language suitable for formal or formal occasions. It often contains complex syntax and complex words. Formal diction does not contain colloquial speech, abbreviations, slang, etc.

Informal or causal diction refers to the style of language we use in everyday life. An informal language usually does not contain any complex syntactic patterns or complex terms. It may contain colloquial expressions and abbreviations.


Spoken language expressions are non-standard, often regional, ways of using the language. They are suitable for informal and colloquial speech and writing. Expressions such as “not going to” are examples of colloquial words. What is diction in literature


Slang is an informal, non-standard form of language that consists of newly created and rapidly changing words and phrases. Words such as phat (physically attractive), bonkers (insane), beemer (BMW) are some examples of slang words.


a dialect is a type of language spoken in a specific geographic area or in a specific group of people. A dialect can differ from the standard variety of this language in its vocabulary, syntax and pronunciation.


jargon are specific words or phrases used in different contexts, professions, and trade. People outside this context may not be able to identify these words and phrases. For example, FTP is police jargon for not paying a fine; BP is the medical jargon for blood pressure. What is diction in literature

Abstract versus specific diction

Abstract diction refers to words and phrases that denote ideas, emotions, concepts and conditions that are immaterial. They often refer to common words that cannot be visualized in your mind. Also, abstract words can mean different things to different people. Love, jealousy, anger, peace, rights, freedom, politics are some examples of abstract terms.

“She had a good person, many brilliant achievements, but her mind was poor, her heart was naturally barren; nothing spontaneously blossomed on this soil; there is no wild, natural fruit delighted with its freshness. ”

– “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë

Specific diction refers to specific words that describe physical characteristics, qualities, and conditions. Readers can get a mental image by reading these words. What is diction in literature

“Behind the original Victorian counter stood a man in a long black leather coat. His hair was grown to counteract his unambiguous departure from the crown of his head, and was sculpted into a coarse, brittle ponytail that hung limply from his back. ”

– “The Tower, the Zoo and the Turtle” by Julia Stewart

Pedestrian versus pedantic diction

Walking diction refers to the language of ordinary people.

“You can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your family, and they are still family members, whether you acknowledge them or not, and it makes you look stupid when you don’t.”

– “To Kill the Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee

Pedantic diction refers to the heightened language used by a character to convey his or her importance.

“You must give me permission to flatter yourself, my dear cousin, that your rejection of my addresses is, of course, just words.” What is diction in literature

– “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Literal versus figurative diction

Literal language refers to the precise meaning of a word without any emotional associations or secondary meanings. This is also known as naming.

She was very protective of him.

Metaphorical language uses words that have different meanings from their literal interpretation. This is commonly used in the literature.

He was the apple of her eye.

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