Figurative Language
EQ: How does figurative language
affect the meaning of literature?
January 2008
What is figurative language?
It is spoken or written language that
communicates ideas beyond the
ordinary or literal meaning of the
Used well, figurative language adds to
the text, and can change the mood and
tone of the piece.
However, used incorrectly, figurative
language can be confusing or
downright silly.
January 2008
What are the different types?
Don’t write yet… the definitions follow!
January 2008
Simile – a comparison of two unlike things using “like”
or “as”
My cat is as gentle as a lamb.
His words stung like bee stings.
Metaphor – a figure of speech that uses associates to
state that two unlike things are similar.
The surfer rode his stead of the waves.
My cat is a lamb.
Hyperbole – an extreme exaggeration to emphasize a
The earth shook as he crossed the room.
She wears a pound of makeup.
Personification a figure of speech in which an inanimate
object or idea is given human qualities.
The wind growled as it moved through the trees.
Fear knocked on the door.
Onomatopoeia – words that imitate sounds.
Crash! Went the window
Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!
January 2008
Alliteration – the repetition of a consonant sound at the
beginning of words.
She sells seashells by the seashore.
In the middle of the moon...
Idioms – a statement that is not literally true.
Give me a hand.
Hold your tongue.
Irony - a figure of speech that refers to a difference
between the way something appears and what is
actually true.
The weather forecaster was unexpectedly caught in a
sudden rain storm.
Allusion – an instance of indirect reference
Sally didn't like to spend money. She was no Scrooge, but
she seldom purchased anything except the bare
Imagery – the use of descriptive writing which appeals
to the five senses.
Thomas couldn’t recall having been in a more shadowy
place, nor had he ever felt such a silence that seemed to
January 2008
Let’s look at an example:
The problem is, you'd think a
reimagining of a famous fairy tale
would tickle one's ... oh ... imagination.
Alas, the attempts by writer Leigh
Dunlap and director Mark Rosman to
modernize this fable fall flatter than
Cinderella's arches after a night of
dancing on glass slippers.
From 'Cinderella Story' takes a promising premise and lays a big fat
pumpkin, 07/16/04. By Winda Benedetti, Special To The Postintelligencer
January 2008
greeted me like an old,
familiar friend, reaching its low
branches out in an embrace.
January 2008
What is the mystery word?
What figurative language is used?
What is the mood of the sentence?
How does the figurative language
affect the mood of this sentence?

Figurative Language