The word 'device' is often used in literature and drama studies and it might seem an odd word to use. A 'device' is a way or technique of using language in order to create a particular kind of effect on a reader, i.e. one that will help the reader understand the messages or purposes of the writing better.

Literary devices are used mainly in fiction but often find their way into non-fictional texts. They include the the use of figurative language such as simile, metaphor and personification to achieve a heightened level of description by creating a vivid image or feeling in the mind of the reader or audience; other literary devices include the use of characterisation, the use of dialogue to mimic real speech and the creation of setting that evokes a believable sense of place and sets a certain mood.

Poetic devices include the use of metaphors to create imagery, the use of rhyme (perhaps to suggest harmony) and the use of alliteration.

Dramatic devices include the use of asides, soliloquies, costume, dramatic irony, props.