Plant and vehicle lovers tend to use personification when speaking of the object of their affection. I heard a friend say her plants say thank you when they blossom in response to her watering them, and another tell me about how his motorcycle understands all kinds of road conditions. Personification, the attributing of human qualities to nonhuman things, challenges readers as well as listeners to use their imagination.
We use personification when we say those meatballs and sausages were mean to us, or the sun caresses our flesh, or a hard rain smacks our windshield. We personify computers all the time when we say they know a lot, work fast, and die suddenly.
Sometimes, writers can get carried away with personification, as does Ernest Hemingway in translating Spanish speakers to English in For Whom the Bell Tolls, when the mountain rebels make their machine guns "speak" or Eugene O'Neill, whose Christopher Christopherson in Anna Christie says, "dat ole davil, sea—she knows!" But thoughtful personification adds excitement to our writing and even brings clarity to it.