Can we use personification this way?


His bold eyes swam through the forest.

Instead of saying:

He boldly ran through the forest.

I am wondering if this type of metaphorical language is accepted, or there are clear rule against such liberal use of figurative language.

  • 3
    There are no rules. – DM_with_secrets Aug 23 at 7:31
  • 3
    No rules, but it needs to be clear. Without a ton of context, it sounds like he's looking at a forest, not running through it. – DWKraus Aug 24 at 20:13

There are very few 'rules' in writing. There are conventions. For example, diaries usually use the first-person narrative perspective. Conventions can be broken if you have a good reason to do. In fiction, there is no convention against using figurative language.

However, you do need to consider whether an image works. For me this one doesn't because when I think of swimming I think of arms, legs, water and splashing. I can't see eyes doing breaststroke, for example.

| improve this answer | |
  • When you walk, the eyes are like floating in the air. That's why I thought swam made sense. What other verb would you consider using instead? – newton Aug 23 at 18:25
  • @newton Drawing focus to a specific body part is the issue, not the verb. helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/mistakes-24 – Anna A. Fitzgerald Aug 23 at 18:34
  • Perhaps you have given your own answer with 'floating'. – S. Mitchell Aug 23 at 19:09

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