What Amplification Is
Amplification is a literary device. Suppose you write a statement, but it doesn’t give the reader enough information to fully understand it or see the full impact of the object, idea, or event. So, you add information to further explain it or to emphasize it. You are using amplification.
Jeannie entered her apartment. Callie’s brother, lay on the sofa. What was her roommate’s brother doing—besides sleeping—in their apartment?
She crossed her arms over her ribcage. “Ahem.”
Justin’s eyes opened, and he looked around, confused. He turned his head toward her and startled.
“Why are you here, Justin.”
“I’m sick. My temperature is up to 102 degrees, I have a sore throat, and my head is pounding. Callie went to the drugstore to get me some meds.”
The sentence in italics is an example of amplification. Justin and the author wanted Jeannie to realize how sick he is to justify his presence in the girls’ apartment.
Why Amplification Is Important
Amplification works well to:
- reinforce a point.
- highlight something important.
- elicit emotion from the reader.
- persuade why an idea should be considered.
- make an object or an idea more vivid to the reader.
- increase the reader’s understanding about something.
- supplement an initial abrupt sentence.
1. Original Sentence: I stuck my head inside the opening in the stone face that stretched from the ground to my shoulders. The bat cave was a horror house inside.
The reader struggles to imagine what was going on in a bat “horror house.” The reader needs more information and description.
Rewrite: I stuck my head inside the opening in the stone face that stretched from the ground to my shoulders. The bat cave was a horror house inside. Black rodents with collapsed wings hung from every ridge in the stone ceiling. Flying bats dive-bombed two cats. The gray cat swiped a bat from the air. I jumped out of its way as it slinked outside with its squirming prey between its teeth. The biggest bat I’d ever seen swooped down and sunk its claws into the black cat’s coat. The cat screeched, performed three wrangling flips, and raced into the sunlight, the bat riding the cat as if it were a bucking bronco.
2. The 24-foot, food-laden table was the showpiece that—with its clawed feet, its massive armed chairs, and its purple brocade tablecloth presenting gold-rimmed china and crystal goblets filled with a red beverage—looked like a cross between a king’s feast and Dracula’s repast for vampires.
Use amplification to emphasize or add information to what you just stated. Click to tweet.
What reasons do you, or might you, use amplification?