Dramatic language is language traditionally associated with drama. It incorporates theatrical vocabulary, is designed to pack an emotional punch, and elicit strong feelings. Traditionally, it mimics these strong feelings and presents them hyperbolically. In addition, dramatic language is often associated with emotive interjections – picture a Shakespearean character on stage, lamenting loudly and peppering their speech with lots of ‘oh!’s and ‘ah!’s.

Nowadays, the principles of dramatic language are often translated into literature. But, on paper or as spoken word, the language still delivers a real impact.

His use of dramatic and hyperbolic language effectively shows the audience how in love with Juliet he is. His use of metaphor is a good example of theatrical language, and his exclamatory ‘o!’ shows how overcome with emotion he is. You can tell it’s the dramatic language because it’s not how most people speak! Instead, it’s very vivid and flowery and packs a real punch. Although some people do use dramatic language in their day-to-day lives, most people are more conservative with their language use and speak more directly to the point.

Dramatic language on the stage

It’s in the name – dramatic language is for drama. In its purest form, dramatic language is meant to be performed. Because of this, interjections are a common part of theatrical language, as it mimics speech.

Crucially, dramatic language on the stage is, of course, dialogue. It often comes in monologues, such as the Shakespearean example above. One explanation is that dramatic language is more lengthy and descriptive than normal speech. Picture a drama queen – everything is all about them, so they talk in dramatic monologues to monopolize the conversation and make extended flowery speeches.

On stage, everything is bigger; some audience members will be sitting far away and won’t be able to see one slight tear in the corner of an actor’s eye. This is why hyperbole and exaggeration play such a big role in theatre, where dramatic language is rooted.

How can you use dramatic language in your writing?

To use dramatic language in your writing, you must think carefully about word choice. For example, bland, commonly used words such as ‘sad’ and ‘good’ aren’t very dramatic and won’t achieve the desired effect! This is why it’s so important to use varied, high-level vocabulary.

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