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You know what a fun word to spell is? The word that is the sound of a pop tab opening. Also a fun word to spell: onomatopoeia.


Old McDonald had a Cow. Ee-ai-ee-ai-oh. Photo by Brainware3000.

Sometimes when you’re writing, you want the reader to hear the sound of gravel crunching beneath your hero’s feet, but you have a very specific idea of what that sound is, so instead of saying that the gravel crunched, maybe you make up a word that, when spoken aloud, sounds like gravel crunching.

That’s onomatopoeia.

Examples of Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeias can take the form of established words, like “oink” or “moo” to describe animal sounds, or it can be a completely made up word. Different languages have their own onomatopoeias as well. For example, American dogs say “woof woof,” but French dogs say “ouah ouah,” and Japanese dogs say “wan wan.”

Adding onomatopoeia to your writing engages the reader’s imagination and forces them to mentally say that word, invoking the image that you’re trying to get across. It also, with a few exceptions, is the one time when you’re writing that no one will correct your spelling.


Write for fifteen minutes about a group of friends experiencing the last few days of summer. Incorporate as many onomatopoeias as you can. Post your practice in the comments, and don’t forget to leave notes for your fellow writers.

Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting is an author and the founder of The Write Practice. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! You can follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
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