Wednesday, January 11, 2012


From a student in Mr. Hughes' sixth grade class - How do you write onomatopoeia?

While working with Mr. Hughes' sixth grade class during writing time today, one of the students asked how she would write onomatopoeia - like the sound of a doorbell or things like that. Being the resident author for the class, Mr. Hughes threw the question my way. I've seen it written several ways, ALL CAPS or italicized usually with an exclamation mark following. I answered the young lady by saying that italics were frowned upon or using them extensively, so told her to put them in all caps. While they were working on their writing projects, I decided to do a little research. This is what I found, specifically the section about italics, number 5.

I did share this with Mr. Hughes and while I was reading it, I tried to think of an example of when I had used onomatopoeia in my writing. It came to me - in my short story "The Proposal". I start out with frogs ribbitting. Italicized and an exclamation point following. Ribbit! Ribbit!

Now you know the answer to the question. If it is at the beginning of the sentence, it would be capitalized or if it stands alone like I did and italicized. If it is within a sentence structure, you would italicize the "sound". An example they gave was like machine gun firing - you would write it as rat-a-tat-tat.

So how do you write onomatopoeia in your stories? Mrs. E :)

If you teach a writing class or have a writing club and would like your students' questions answered, please forward them to me at eeldering (at) gmail (dot) com. It's okay to send several questions at a time as I will be doing a "Wednesday Weekly Young Writers Writing Question" posting every week. I will not use students' names, but if you give me their initials, I can do that as well as the teacher's name (example E.E. in Mr. Hughes' class ask: ...) that is how my postings will go.

Keep checking my blog weekly for a new question and response. E :)


Carol Baldwin said...

appreciated this post. the WWYWWQ sounds very cool!

elysabeth said...

Thanks, Carol. I'm trying to shake things up a bit and see if I can increase my followers/readers. I need something as my stats are looking a bit dismal. Next week's question is about writer's block - so stay tuned for that. E ;)