Onomatopoeia is often found in many great works of literature. It can help create worlds and a sense for characters of a story like no other. Any work that draws upon and elicits an emotional response from a reader will often use this technique to achieve it. These worksheets will help students learn to identify and use onomatopoeia in their own work. This series of worksheets can help you learn how to apply this in your writing. The worksheets start out by learning to identify the usage in other writer's work. We start out by working with sentences and transition to multi-sentence groups and ultimately land on working in a paragraph environment. We eventually work up to constructing our own sentences which leads us to paragraph writing as well. I would encourage students to brainstorm words by saying them aloud. I often find that when you explore at least five word choices, you have a much better outcome. This is one of those skills that may require you to look up a few words at first. As you gain experience, it will come easy for you.
Printable Onomatopoeia Worksheets
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Match each situation to the onomatopoeia that describes it. You should listen to what is said aloud to make your best choice.
Words that Express Sound
The goal is to identify words that sounds like the sound it is describing. In the sentences below, the underlined words are examples of this that you can find.
Describing Sound with Words
They have you start with a matching sentence activity and then finish off with good old writing sentences.
Recognizing Sounds Like That
We give you a few examples and then we set you to underline instances within sentences.
Hiding in Plan Cite
Another identification activity that has you identify subjects for a bit. On the line, write what made the noise.
Think of Words
Think about the sound that each object makes. Then write an word on the line that describes each sound.
Many onomatopoeia words describe the sounds that animals make. For each word below, draw a picture of an animal that would make that sound. You remember that farm unit you did.
The Sounds People Make
Write a sentence using each words that are given. They all relate to the sounds that humans make. Put them in the right context.
The Sounds of Destruction
These words all relate to some form of a collision or blow. What might each sound below be describing? Write your answer in the box.
Matching and Sentence Rewrites
Start by matching words to subjects that create the sound. Rewrite a bunch of sentences by using descriptive sound words.
Find the words in the sentences and then write an original sentence that includes the word in each box.
Words that Describe Sound
Use the word bank to help you complete each sentence. Make sure to sound out everything on this worksheet.
The Sounds of Music
There are many onomatopoeia words that describe music. Read each word. Then write what kind of sound or instrument each word could be used to described.
What Is the Effect of Onomatopoeia in Literature?
There are words in the English language that mimic a natural sound. When these sounds the words make directly reflect the meaning of the word, we refer to this an example of onomatopoeia. When onomatopoeia is used it can help build the mood and tone of the story or even a sentence. For example if we looked at an example of a sentence that employs this technique versus one that does not, it is evident. What if we look at the difference between two sentences, one that uses this technique and one that does not. Sentence 1: The car drove by. Sentence 2: The car whizzed by. In both sentence we know a car is in motion, but the second sentence tells us that thing is moving fast. This is all achieved by just changing one word.
The word onomatopoeia itself means "the sound that I make." It originated from the Greek language. The literary device has a wide range of use in literature as it gives a vocal effect to anything and makes the words come alive.
Use of Onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia is categorized in many forms of sounds like:
Animals: cat's purr, duck's quack, cow's moo, and a frog's ribbit.
Mechanical: buzzing of the bell, monitor's beeping, vroom-vroom of a bike, and tick-tock of the clock.
Vocal: Whining, murmuring, growling, and snoring.
Nature: water splashing or dripping, the rustling of the leaves, and swoosh and swish of the wind.
Cooking: sizzling, squishing, fizz of the drink, and pop of popcorn.
Examples of Onomatopoeia
Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
SMASH! The door was hit with such force that it swung clean off its hinges and, with a deafening crash, landed flat on the floor.
The word SMASH represents the sound of the door hitting and landing on the floor.
The Things They Carried Away by Tim O'Brian
The sound was ragged and clotted up, but even so, he knew the voice. A strange gargling noise. Rolling sideways, he crawled toward the screaming in the dark. The rain was hard and steady. Along the perimeter, there were quick bursts of gunfire.
This is a passage from one of the short stories in the book. The words gargling, ragged, and clotted tell us about the type of sound he heard. It is the best example of the use of onomatopoeia in literature.
The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes
Over the cobbles, he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard. He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred.
The words clattered and clashed create a sound effect using onomatopoeia.
And then again:
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse hoofs ringing clear; Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Here again, Tlot-tlot, which are not even actual words, gives us the sound of how the horse walked.
Poems by Edgar Allen Poe
The Raven (1845):
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
Only this and nothing more."
The words rapping and tapping act as the sound creator in the stanza.
The Bells (1849):
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that over sprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells
The word tinkling and bells are used here to provide the sound effect needed. Even though the word "bells" cannot create sound has been repeatedly used to give it a sound.
Our Final Thoughts
Onomatopoeia is a perfect literary tool when it comes to writing. Whether used in a poem or a simple piece of writing, the sound these words create has a spot-on effect on the reader. As a writer, one must utilize this tool more often.