Figurative Language * is language that means more than what it says on the surface. *Poets use figurative language almost as frequently as literal language. Whenever you describe something by comparing it with something else, you are using figurative language.
Literal Language *is language that means exactly what is said.
Types of Figurative Language
Language that appeals to the senses. Descriptions of people or objects stated in terms of our senses.
“ The delicate white bird flew gracefully through the blue sky”
FIGURES OF SPEECH
*Figures of speech are words or phrases that depart from straightforward literal language. *Figures of speech are often used and crafted for emphasis , freshness , expression , or clarity .
1. Simile: a way of describing something by comparing it with something else using "like" or "as"
The snow was as thick as a blanket.
She was as light as a feather.
You are acting like a baby.
He felt like a bug under a microscope.
His temper was as explosive as a volcano.
Being stood up is like being the last fruit on the tree, Left to wither through the winter. Feeling angry is like carrying a volcano in the pit of your stomach that threatens to erupt at any moment. The leaves fell from the tree like a thousand paratroopers leaping into battle behind enemy lines.
A figure of speech which involves a direct comparison between two unlike things, usually with the words like or as.
Example: The muscles on his brawny arms are strong as iron bands.
I am hungry as a horse . You run like a rabbit. He is sneaky as a snake. She is happy as a clam.
A way of describing something by comparing it to something else
A figure of speech which involves an implied comparison between two relatively unlike things using a form of be. The comparison is not announced by like or as.
Example: The road was a ribbon wrapped through the dessert.
The girl was a fish in the water. The clown was a feather floating away.
A figure of speech which gives the qualities of a person to an animal, an object, or an idea.
Example: “The wind yells while blowing."
(The wind cannot yell. Only a living thing can yell.)
More examples: *The car danced across the icy road. *The angry clouds marched across the sky. *The stars in the clear night sky winked at me. *The tulips nodded their heads in the breeze
The flowers danced in the wind. The Earth coughed and choked in all of the pollution. The friendly gates welcomed us.
An exaggerated statement used to heighten effect. It is not used to mislead the reader, but to emphasize a point.
Example: She’s said so on several million occasions.
His feet are as big as boats ! =
Repeated consonant sounds occurring at the beginning of words or within words.
Example: She was w ide-eyed and w ondering w hile she w aited for W alter to w aken.
*Brad wore his blue and brown blazer. *Hank held his head high. *Larry loves lemonade and lolly pops. *Six swans went swimming in the sea.
Stan the strong surfer saved several swimmers on Saturday. Tiny Tommy Thomson takes toy trucks to Timmy’s on Tuesday.
6. Assonance: The repetition of internal vowel sounds. Doesn't have to rhyme!!
The repetition of accented vowel sounds in a series of words. (i.e. Fleet feet sweep by sleeping geese.) (i.e. "He hadn't faught at all" by Elizabeth Bishop)
7. Onomatopoeia: Sounds that suggest meaning
The use of words that mimic sounds.
Example: The firecracker made a loud ka-boom!
(on- uh -mat- uh - pee - uh) An onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound it represents. The chiming of the bells… The boom of the explosion…
Other examples include: screech, whirr, sizzle, crunch, bang, pow, zap, roar, growl, click, snap, crackle, and pop.
Princess Kitty will kiss Timmy T. Tippers’s lips The pain may drain Drake, but maybe the weight is fake.
Hyperbole (hy per bolee) is intentional exaggeration or overstating, often for dramatic or humorous effect:
Your predicament saddens me so much that I feel a veritable flood of tears coming on:
My backpack weighs a ton. The wolf was 100 feet high. You could have knocked me over with a feather.
“ Here once the embattled farmers stood And fired the shot heard around the world.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
What a brilliant remark that was, it made no sense. How good of you to refuse to help us .
* is a type of metaphor in which the part stands for the whole , the whole for a part , the genus for the species, the species for the genus , the material for the thing made , or in short, any portion, section, or main quality for the whole or the thing itself (or vice versa).
Farmer Jones has two hundred head of cattle and three hired hands.
(Here we recognize that Jones also owns the bodies of the cattle, and that the hired hands have bodies attached. This is a simple part-for-whole synecdoche.)
Here are a few more:
If I had some wheels, I'd put on my best threads and ask for Jane's hand in marriage.
The army included two hundred horse and three hundred foot.
It is sure hard to earn a dollar these days.
Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. --Genesis 2:7
Take care to make your synecdoche clear by choosing an important and obvious part to represent the whole. Compare:
His pet purr was home alone and asleep.
His pet paws [whiskers?] was home alone and asleep.
One of the easiest kinds of synecdoche to write is the substitution of genus for species. Here you choose the class to which the idea or thing to be expressed belongs, and use that rather than the idea or thing itself :
There sits my animal [instead of "dog"] guarding door the to the henhouse.
He hurled the barbed weapon [instead of "harpoon"] at the whale .
A possible problem can arise with the genus-for-species substitution because the movement is from more specific to more general; this can result in vagueness and loss of information. Note that in the example above some additional contextual information will be needed to clarify that "weapon" means "harpoon" in this case, rather than, say, "dagger" or something else. The same is true for the animal-for-dog substitution.
Perhaps a better substitution is the species for the genus--a single, specific, representative item symbolic of the whole. This form of synecdoche will usually be clearer and more effective than the other:
A major lesson Americans need to learn is that life consists of more than cars and television sets. [Two specific items substituted for the concept of material wealth]
Give us this day our daily bread. --Matt. 6:11
If you still do not feel well, you'd better call up a sawbones and have him examine you.
This program is for the little old lady in Cleveland who cannot afford to pay her heating bill.
Here, (sin nec duh kee) a part represents the whole:
All hands on deck!
Lend me your ears .
Let’s buy one hundred head of cattle!
is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms. 11.
*is a paradox reduced to two words, usually in an adjective-noun ("eloquent silence") or adverb-adjective ("inertly strong") relationship, and is used for effect, complexity, emphasis, or wit:
Dark light Living dead New Classic Old News Open secret ( supposedly a secret but it has leaked ) Vintage Modern Some paradoxical oxymorons become clichés : Irregular pattern Bitter sweet Deafening silence Forward retreat Noisy silence Quiet riot Serious joke Silent Scream Sweet sorrow
Funny Oxymoron Examples Given below is a oxymoron list, some of which you might have used inadvertently and some as a pun or paradox. Accurate estimate Act naturally All alone Appear invisible Awfully nice Bad luck Big baby Born dead Brief speech
One case where many oxymorons are strung together can be found in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet , where Romeo declares: " O heavy lightness! Serious vanity! Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!"
Oxymoron - two contradictory terms are placed side by side, usually for an effect of intensity:
darkness visible (John Milton)
People often enjoy joking sarcastically by declaring certain pairs of words to be oxymorons:
In this figure (m’ tawn ni’mee) one thing is replaced by another thing associated with it:
The Crown is amused (“The Crown” is the Queen).
The White House is furious (“The White House” is the President).
*is another form of metaphor, very similar to synecdoche (and, in fact, some rhetoricians do not distinguish between the two), in which the thing chosen for the metaphorical image is closely associated with (but not an actual part of) the subject with which it is to be compared.
The orders came directly from the White House.
In this example we know that the writer means the President issued the orders, because "White House" is quite closely associated with "President," even though it is not physically a part of him. Consider these substitutions, and notice that some are more obvious than others, but that in context all are clear:
You can't fight city hall.
This land belongs to the crown.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread . . . . --Genesis 3:19
Boy, I'm dying from the heat. Just look how the mercury is rising.
His blood be on us and on our children. --Matt. 27:25
The checkered flag waved and victory crossed the finish line.
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. --Psalm 100:1-2 (KJV) The use of a particular metonymy makes a comment about the idea for which it has been substituted, and thereby helps to define that idea. Note how much more vivid "in the sweat of thy face" is in the third example above than "by labor" would have been. And in the fourth example , "mercury rising" has a more graphic, physical, and pictorial effect than would "temperature increasing." Attune yourself to such subtleties of language, and study the effects of connotation, suggestion, substitution, and metaphor.
A form of personification in which the absent or dead or the inanimate are spoken to as if present. These are all addressed directly. (i.e. Anothony adresses Ceasar's corpse after his assasination "O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth")
A person or thing which is absent is addressed:
“ What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman” (Ginsberg 599).
“ Oh sun, I miss you, now that it’s December.”
(The best sources for allusions are literature, history, Greek myth, and the Bible.) *is a short, informal reference to a famous person or event :
You must borrow me Gargantua's mouth first. 'Tis a word too great for any mouth of this age's size. --Shakespeare
If you take his parking place, you can expect World War II all over again.
Plan ahead: it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark. --Richard Cushing
Our examination of the relation of the historian to the facts of history finds us, therefore, in an apparently precarious situation, navigating delicately between the Scylla of an untenable theory of history as an objective compilation of facts . . . and the Charybdis of an equally untenable theory of history as the subjective product of the mind of the historian . . . . --Edward Hallett Carr
A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition .
1. He clattered and clanged as he washed the dishes.
2. “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” ~Mother Goose
3. I’ve heard that joke a billion times, but it still cracks me up!
4. The glass vase is as fragile as a child’s sandcastle.
5. The buzzing bee startled me!
6. She looked at him with fire in her eyes.
7. “Don’t delay dawn’s disarming display. Dusk demands daylight.” From “Dewdrops Dancing Down Daises”
8.The river falls under us like a trap door.
Bang! The starter’s gun— thin raindrops sprint. Dorthi Charles Knock at a Star 9. Which figure of speech is highlighted in the above poem?
“ The Wind” The wind stood up , and gave a shout ; He whistled on his fingers, and Kicked the withered leaves about, And thumped the branches with his hand, And said he’ll kill, and kill, and kill; And so he will! And so he will! James Stephens Knock at a Star 10.What figure of speech is highlighted in the above poem?
“ Dreams” Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a brokenwinged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow. Langston Hughes The Dream Keeper and Other Poems 11.What figure of speech is used in the above poem?
“ A Pizza the Size of the Sun” I’m making a pizza the size of the sun, a pizza that’s sure to weigh more than a ton, a pizza too massive to pick up and toss, a pizza resplendent with oceans of sauce. I’m topping my pizza with mountains of cheese, with acres of peppers, pimentos, and peas, with mushrooms, tomatoes, and sausage galore, with every last olive they had at the store. My pizza is sure to be one of a kind, my pizza will leave other pizzas behind, my pizza will be a delectable treat that all who love pizza are welcome to eat. The oven is hot, I believe it will take a year and a half for my pizza to bake. I hardly can wait till my pizza is done, my wonderful pizza is the size of the sun. Jack Pretulsky A Pizza the Size of the Sun 12.What figure of speech is used in the above poem?
13. “The US economy is improving. The country is becoming an industrial tiger.” What figure of speech was used? A. Personification B. Metaphor C. Hyperbole D. Onomatopoeia
14. “During sunrise, the sun kisses us with its warm rays." What figure of speech was used? A. Hyperbole B. Irony C. Simile D. Personification
15. "The story of Evita Peron caught the attention of moviegoers.” The figure of speech used was personification. What is personification? A. reference to a famous historical figure B. directly compared to something without “like” and “as” C. give life to inanimate object or non-living things D. a person being compared to a thing
16.“She sings beautifully. She has the voice of Celine Dion." What figure of speech was used? A. Metaphor B. Simile C. Metonymy D. Irony
17. “The Argentineans roared whenever they hear Evita speak.” The figure of speech used is onomatopoeia. What is onomatopoeia? A. to affirm the opposite B. imitation of the sound C. intentional exaggeration D. applying to similar situation
18. “Their farm has a beautiful atmosphere. Every morning you will be awakened by the mooing of the cow and the crowing of rooster.” What figure of speech was used? A. Hyperbole B. Personification C. Metaphor D. Onomatopoeia
19. Simile is a figure of speech. What is a simile? A. act of saying the opposite of the truth B. a person being compared to a thing C. to emphasize the word D. reference to a famous historical figure
20.“Romeo and Juliet is a story that speaks of a bitter sweet love.” What figure of speech was used? A. Oxymoron B. Synecdoche C. Hyperbole D. Allusion
21. Irony is a figure of speech. What do you mean by irony? A. the act of saying the opposite of the truth B. person being compared to a thing C. directly compared to something D. overstatement of the sentence
22. “The mother is the light of the family and the father is the post.” What figure of speech was used in the underlined word? A. Oxymoron B. Metaphor C. Allusion D. Metonymy
23. "The Filipinos need to be eagles in industry." What figure of speech was used? A. Personification B. Simile C. Hyperbole D. Metaphor
24. Oxymoron is a figure of speech. What is an oxymoron? A. used by writers to beautify their composition B. used by writers to beautify their composition C. using statement that seemed to be false at first reading but true on closer scrutiny D. using the name of a popular person or place in lieu of another
25. My rancher uncle bought 50 head of cattle last week.' A. Oxymoron B. Personification C. Synecdoche D. Allusion
27. She was a Scrooge when it comes to parting with her hard earned money. A. Irony B. Allusion C. Hyperbole D. Personification