Primary School Composition | Onomatopoeia – What’s That?

Hello Lil’ Ones! I’m Ms. Junisa. Composition is one of my favourite English components in school because this is where I can display my creativity and let my ideas come to life!

Onomatopoeia - What's that?

Today, I’m sharing with you how you can incorporate onomatopoeia (pronounced as o-nuh-ma- tuh-pee-uh) into your writing. Onomatopoeia, simply known as a sound word, is a literary device that associates a word to a sound. Certain words evoke the aural sound of the object or thing that they describe. The “crash” of a ceramic plate breaking, the “tick tock” of a clock, and the “ring” of an alarm are all examples of onomatopoeia.


Why Should You Use Onomatopoeia?

When describing a scene in your writing, you should strive to use the 5 senses to help your readers visualise it clearly. Using onomatopoeia is an effective way to include the sense of sound and when used properly, it can be a powerful literary device. Take a look at the sentence below:

He pushed the lever and the machine roared to life.

The word ‘roared’ tells us that the machine was probably a large, loud one and this enables us to see the scene clearly in our minds. Now compare that to this:

He pushed the lever and the machine turned on.

In this sentence, we do not hear what is going on and this makes the scene less vivid. Hence, I hope you can see that adding onomatopoeia in your writing allows the readers to experience the scene more fully and makes your writing more interesting.


How Do You Add Onomatopoeia Into Your Composition?

You can add a sound word whenever you are describing a scene where sounds can be heard. You do not need to use quotation marks to denote onomatopoeia as it is not considered speech.

For example:

Onomatopoeia Creative Writing & Compo

In the above example, it is easy for readers to visualise how chaotic and noisy the situation was for the character who had to deal with broken plates and burning hot dogs. When you read the paragraph, you can almost imagine the sounds of the plates crashing to the floor, the sizzling of hot dogs and the ringing of the alarm. This is because the writer has vividly described the scene with the effective use of onomatopoeia – choosing to use sound words that suggest something loud, high-pitched and even shocking.


Types of Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia can be categorised into sounds made by animals, people and things. Here are some examples of sound words for each category:

 Onomatopoeia - Creative Writing & Compo


Books With Onomatopoeia:

As you look through the inventories in your school library, you may find many books with onomatopoeia in them.

For advanced readers, they can be found in the Geronimo Stilton series and for beginner readers, the Dr. Seuss series are a good way to kick-start your reading journey.

The Geronimo Stilton series work particularly well with visual learners. When a sound word (or other impressive vocabulary) appears on the page, it stands out from the other words because it has a colourful font and design. This makes it easy and attractive for visual learners to pick up new words.

Some examples in the book to describe nature sounds are “A dry fall leaf crunches underfoot” and “A bumblebee buzzes around the backyard”.

The Dr. Seuss series are suitable for beginner readers who are still building up on phonemic and word-sound awareness. By using onomatopoeia and rhyming words, readers are able to gain momentum and find a comfortable pace for reading. Word sounds are used extensively in the Dr. Seuss series to describe sounds for animals and objects that follow the character’s adventure.Onomatopoeia - Creative Writing & Compo


A Word of Advice

Like all the other literary devices, onomatopoeia should be used when it is appropriate for the context. As mentioned earlier, it is most effective when you want to describe a scene vividly using the sense of sound. Avoid using onomatopoeia in formal writing, for instance when writing a report or formal letter, because it does not fit the formal tone.

Another important thing to remember is to use it sparingly! Not every sound in the story needs to be described, and sometimes, the scene lends itself more to senses other than hearing. For instance, if I am describing my favourite meal at lunchtime, I would focus more on how the food tastes, smells and looks, rather than the sounds I hear while I consume it.


The next time you think of a story, think of onomatopoeia and how you can make everyday objects come alive with sounds! Share in the comments section below of how you might incorporate onomatopoeia in your writing.

I’ll see you in my next blog post. Good luck!

Ms. Junisa

Writing is Ms Junisa’s favourite way to express how she feels. She loves it so much that she went to NTU to complete her bachelor’s degree in English Literature. It was there that she truly appreciated how authors use language and their skills to make stories come alive for both you and me! And that’s exactly what we’re doing at Lil’ but Mighty – creating stories beyond our imagination.

Have something to share? Drop us a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Share

Other related posts

Creative Writing | 3 Easy Steps to Write Your Own Haiku!
Verbs: More than Just Action Words! | Part 3: Changes in Verb Forms
Ketchup on English! – is, are, was and were!
Audience In Visual Text | Visual Text Comprehension
Exploring Points of View (POV) in Composition Writing
Metaphors For? | Part II – Implied Metaphors
10 Beautiful Vivid Verbs to Boost Your Writing and Oral! | Primary School English
Metaphors For? | Part I – An Introduction to Metaphors
3 Family-Friendly Shows on Netflix (Educational & Entertaining)!
Verbs: More than Just Action Words! | Part 2: Tenses
2021 Father’s Day Contest Winners
Verbs: More than Just Action Words! | Part 1: Subject-Verb Agreement
10 Beautiful Words You Can Use in Narrative / Descriptive Writing | Secondary School
Ways To Create A Well-Rounded Character | Creative Writing
Understanding Purpose-Related Questions in Visual Text Comprehension
How Playing Video Games Can Improve Our English (With Practical Tips for Parents!)
2021 Mother’s Day Contest Winners + Our Founder’s Journey (Mother’s Day Special)!
Composition Revision: Using Your 5 Senses in Your Writing
How to Create A Dynamic Piece of Writing Using Idioms
Ketchup on English! – Subject-Verb Agreement
Punctuation Marks: Colon Vs. Semicolon
4 steps to Create Suspense
That Simile Though 2 | Using Stronger Similes
That Simile Though | An Introduction to Similes
Practice or Practise? What’s the Difference?!
PSLE ORAL | Compiled Prelim 2021 Oral Topics + Questions!
If you’re looking at getting recent PSLE Prelim Oral topics and practice questions, this will be an excellent resource for you!
5 Steps to Convert a Newspaper Article into a Cloze Passage
I would like to share with you 5 steps on how authentic articles can be transformed into cloze passages easily. Read on here!
PSLE English | Oral Conversation: Free SG50 Sample Practice + Model Answers
In this blogpost we will be touching on the oral stimulus-based conversation topic of National Day and SG50! Read on here!
PSLE English | Oral Conversation: Filling your Story with Details Easily + Free Revision Cards
By simply using the 5W1H, your children will be able to lengthen their stories (hence, the conversation!). Read on here!
PSLE English | Situational Writing: Q&A + Formal vs Informal Writing Comparison Chart
To aid you in your situational writing revision, here is a comparison chart that shows the differences between formal and informal writing!
PSLE English Tips | Oral: Stimulus-Based Conversation Checklist
To help my children handle the Stimulus-Based Conversation examination, here are some instructions again about using the checklist!
A Little Encouragement | DIY Motivational Bookmark (Easy to personalise too!)
A bookmark with a quote to motivate is also a chance for them to see the power of words and how words can mean more than what they seem.
Situational Writing: Step-by-Step Guide + Free Revision Card
I believe a walkthrough on the process of doing situational writing is in order. Here are the requirements for content and language!
I Love Reading | 5 Ways to Motivate Reluctant Readers
One of the most important ingredients necessary for a child or anyone learning English is the habit of reading. Get motivated to read now!
PSLE English | Printable Ultimate Grammar & Synthesis Summary
Today, we are sharing two lists of essentials in our Ultimate Grammar and Synthesis Summary Printable. Download them free here!
How Well Do You Know Your Past Participles?
While we are familiar with the past, present and future tenses, the little less known but equally important tense is the past participles.
Primary Composition Writing | Starting Sentences with Introductory Clauses
Today, we'll be revising the use of sentence starters to help you create variety in your sentence structures. Read on here!
The Sentence Train | Lower Primary English
Today, we are going to learn what makes up a sentence. It will come in handy when you do the word order activity in school! Read on here!
PSLE English Tips | Oral: Reading Checklist
This Oral Reading Checklist can be used by children when they practise reading on their own. Download it now!
Language of COVID | 10 Words Added to the Dictionary
Using Personification to Show, Not Tell!
Expressing Character Feelings Too! | Using Show-Not-Tell (Part 2)
How to Choose a Book to Read: 8 Ways
How to Dress Up A Boring Paragraph | Creative Writing
Ketchup on English! – Halloween Special: Prepositions of Time!
Ketchup on English! – Verbs Are Not Just Action Words!
Expressing Character Feelings | Using Show-Not-Tell
Which Picture Should I Use? | Choosing the Best Picture to Use for Composition!
Oral: Reading Passage | Long Vowels – Have You Been Reading Your Vowels Correctly?
Previous
Next

Like what you are reading?

Subscribe now to receive news and tips hot off the press!

Primary School English Tuition| Lil' but Mighty English