Figurative
Language/Figures
of Speech
Figures of Speech
Figures of speech are words or phrases
that depart from straight-forward,
literal language. Figures of speech
are often used and crafted for
emphasis, freshness, expression, or
clarity.
Figurative
Adjective
- of the nature of or involving a figure
of speech, especially a metaphor;
metaphorical and not literal, as in
figurative language .
My Definition:

- a comparison to something

- not real
Literal
adjective
true to fact; not exaggerated; actual or
factual: a literal description of
conditions.
in accordance with, involving, or being
the primary or strict meaning of the
word or words; not figurative or
metaphorical: the literal meaning of a
word.
MY definition: FOR REAL!
Figurative or Literal
F
• ____
1. Eric thinks doing schoolwork is one
big video game.
L
• ____
2. Lauren has made up her mind to volunteer
every Tuesday after school.
F
• ____
3. Thinking about summer camp makes me
feel like a bundle of sunshine.
F
• ____ 4. As I delivered my speech, my voice sounded
as if I’d swallowed rocks and sand.
F
• ____
5. Emma may seem clumsy, but onstage she
dances like a gazelle.
L
• ____
6. Jacob expresses many feelings through his
photography.
F
• ____ 7. My favorite tennis shoes have grown tired
and weary.
L
F
F
F
F
F
L
F
Jonah forgot about the field trip, so some of
the kids called to see if he was all right.
What Is a Figure of Speech?
A figure of speech is a word or phrase that
describes one thing in terms of something
else and is not literally true.
© 2002-2003 clipart.com
•All he thought about was money. His eyes
were dollar signs.
Uses of Figures of Speech
Figures of speech can …
• create images in a reader’s mind.
• establish moods.
• express feelings and ideas in interesting and
surprising ways.
• As I slept beneath the
stars, a white blanket of
fog covered me in its misty
folds.
1) They were as busy as bees.
2) My love is deeper than the ocean.
3) The room looks like a pig sty.
4) The announcement was music to my ears.
5) It’s a jungle out there.
6) Pretty as a picture
7) Sly as a fox
8) Smooth as silk
9) Slow as molasses
10) Burns like fire
12) Mad as a hornet
13) Dark as midnight
14) Thorn in my side
What do these
sayings
mean?
Discuss/write
down with
your partner.
* Choose 6 and draw a
picture for each.
Why might figures of speech be confusing
for people whose first language is not
English?
Kinds of Figures of Speech
FIVE types of figurative language we will
use in fiction are…
• similes
• metaphors
• idioms
• hyperboles
• personification
Understanding Figures of Speech
When you read a figure of speech, use what
you know about one thing to help you
understand more about the other.
In the water, Mark was a
dolphin.
Mark was a good
swimmer.
Corbis Images/HRW
Dolphins are good
swimmers.
OR
© 2002 marinethemes.com/Mark Conlin
Corbis Images/HRW
What Do You See?
In the water, Mark was a dolphin.
What Are Similes?
Similes are comparisons between two unlike things,
using a word such as like, as, than, or resembles.
CORBIS Images/HRW
CORBIS Images/HRW
• The city lights twinkle like stars in the night sky.
What Are Similes?
Corbis Images/HRW
Corbis Images/HRW
•Phoebe ran like a cheetah.
What Are Metaphors?
Metaphors are imaginative comparisons between two
unlike things in which one thing is said to be another
thing. A metaphor does not use like or as.
• The city lights are stars that
CORBIS Images/HRW
twinkle in the darkness.
What Are Metaphors?
Metaphors are comparisons between
two unlike things in which one thing
becomes another thing.
•A metaphor says that one thing is
something else.
•The dog’s bark was thunder.
© Chris Collins/Corbis
•A metaphor does not use the words
like, as, than, or resembles.
Metaphor
The flood waters rose, and the river
became a ravenous monster. Raging
on for hours, it consumed everything
in its sight.
What kind of sentence is the
first one? compound
What kind of sentence is the
second one? simple
The second sentence begins
Gerund
with a ________________.
Metaphor
A direct metaphor directly compares two things
using a verb such as is.
His ideas were a flock of
birds in flight.
An indirect metaphor implies or suggests the
comparison.
His ideas spread their wings and soared freely.
Metaphor
Quick Check
This computer is a dinosaur.
She stared at me with venomous
eyes and hissed out her reply.
Identify
each
metaphor as
either direct
or indirect.
The old motorcycle barked and yipped
before it started up with a howl.
Today my mind is the wind blowing
across rolling hills.
Quick Check
This computer is a dinosaur.
Direct
She stared at me with venomous Indirect
eyes and hissed out her reply.
The old motorcycle barked and
yipped before it started up with
a howl.
Indirect
Today my mind is the wind
blowing across rolling hills.
Direct
What Have You Learned
EXIT SLIP?
- On a small piece of paper, number to five.
- Write your answers and put them in the slot.
Simile
Metaphor
1. Her cheerful laugh was a rainbow in a stormy sky.
Metaphor
2. Birds streamed across the sky like black ribbons.
Simile
3. The baby’s skin was as soft as rose petals.
4. A librarian’s mind is a treasure chest.
5. His smile was brighter than sunshine.
Simile
Metaphor
Simile
Personification
 A figure of speech which gives the
qualities of a person to an animal, an
object, or an idea.
 EXAMPLE:
“The wind yells through the trees."
• The wind cannot yell. Only a living thing
can yell.
Personification
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright.
—from “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll
The sun has come to life and is acting as
if he/she is a person.
Personification
1) Hunger sat shivering
on the road.
2) Flowers danced
about the lawn.
Understanding Personification
Write down the word that gives
a quality of a person.
1. The sun stretches its
warmth across the land.
2. The chair danced as the
baby bounced to and fro.
3. The darkness wrapped
its arms around me.
Using Personification
Look at the words below.
With your partner, discuss how to
give each word a quality of a
human and write a sentence for
each.
frog ___________________________
table __________________________
grass __________________________
night __________________________
EXIT SLIP Review of Simile,
Metaphor, and Personification
Quick Check
Spring caresses the earth and
sky with her warm, delicate hands.
Personification
Identify each figure
of speech.
• Simile
• Metaphor
Our friendship is as comfortable
as a pair of flannel pajamas.
Simile
The old factory had become a
heaving, grunting beast.
Personification
• Personification
Hyperbole
 An exaggerated statement used to
heighten effect.
 It is not used to mislead the reader, but
to emphasize a point.
Examples:
- She said, “Marvelous” on several million
occasions.
- You’ve grown like a bean sprout.
- I’m older than the hills.
- They ran like greased lightning.
- Her brain is the size of a pea.
Hyperbole
 Hyperbole is exaggeration.
 It puts a picture into the reader’s mind.
 Example: You could have knocked me
over with a feather.
 Hyperbole is used for emphasis (makes
that part more important) or humorous
effect. With hyperbole, an author makes
a point by overstating it.
HYPERBOLE
=
His feet are as big as boats.
I almost died laughing.
Hyperbole makes qualities of people or things
stand out by exaggerating them.
Examples: The skin on her face was as thin and
drawn as tightly as the skin of an onion.
She’s the funniest girl I’ve ever met.
Create five of your own examples.
Hyperbole can also be used to describe a person’s
emotions (feelings).
In the following selection, a boy is pulling a man
up from a deep hole.
“It was not a mere man he was holding, but a
giant; or a block of granite. The pull was
unendurable. The pain unendurable.”
—James Ramsey Ullman, "A Boy and a Man"
What makes this hyperbole? Write down your
answer.
There did not seem to be brains enough in
the entire nursery, so to speak, to bait a
fishhook with.
—Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
People moved slowly then. There was no
hurry, for there was nowhere to go,
nothing to buy and no money to buy it
with, nothing to see outside the
boundaries of Maycomb County.
—Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Hyperbole:
-is exaggeration
-is used for emphasis
-is used for humorous effect
-is used in descriptions
-of people
-of emotions
Idioms
 An idiom (or idiomatic expression) refers to
a construction or expression in one
language that cannot be matched or
directly translated word-for-word in
another language.
Example:
“She has a bee in her bonnet,"
meaning "she is obsessed,"
cannot be literally translated into
another language word for word.
By: Michelle Gaines
Michelle Gaines
What is an idiom?
words, phrases, or expressions
that are not interpreted
logically or literally
unusual expressions that are
either grammatically incorrect
or have a meaning that cannot
be comprehended through
contextual clues
Michelle Gaines
It’s Raining Cats and Dogs!!!!
It’s raining cats and dogs means:
a.
a. Cats and dogs are falling from
the sky.
b. It’s raining very hard.
b.
c. It’s not raining much at all.
c.
d. The weather is horrible.
d.
HINT: I can’t go outside because
it’s raining cats and dogs and I
would get soaked!
Michelle Gaines
SORRY, Try Again!
Michelle Gaines
CORRECT!
Michelle Gaines
SORRY, Try Again!
Michelle Gaines
SORRY, Try Again
Michelle Gaines
Skeletons in Your Closet
Skeletons in your closet means:
a.
a. Your closet is full of skeletons.
b. You are hiding something in your
b.
closet.
c. You have secrets or something
c.
that you don’t want anyone to
know.
d.
d. You are not afraid of anything.
Hint: Why shouldn’t you be able to answer
all of my questions? Don’t tell me you have skeletons
Michelle Gaines
in your closet!
Sorry, Try Again!
Michelle Gaines
Sorry, Try Again!
Michelle Gaines
CORRECT!
Michelle Gaines
Sorry, Try Again!
Michelle Gaines
Shake a leg means:
a. A dance move used in the
a.
Shag.
b.
b. Shake your leg to get a
bug off of it.
c.
c. Hurry up!
d. You are doing the Hokey
d.
Pokey.
Hint: We’re going to be late
for the plane if you don’t
shake a leg!
Michelle Gaines
Sorry, Try Again!
Michelle Gaines
Sorry, Try Again!
Michelle Gaines
CORRECT!
Michelle Gaines
Sorry, Try Again!
Michelle Gaines
Common Idioms and Their
Meanings:
•To break the ice
•To be the first to say or do
something hoping that others
will join you
•To have a chip on your
shoulder
•Describes a person who is
angry and defensive or who is
always ready to argue or fight
•Hold your horses
•Be patient; wait a minute
•Over the hill
•Old or too old to do
something
•On cloud nine
•Very happy or excited
•Pulling your leg
•Teasing you
Michelle Gaines
•www.funbrain.com/idioms/ has fun idiom
games.
•www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/6720/
has an a to z list of idioms with categories and
quizzes.
•www.idiomagic.com/dgl is a site about a
software program you can buy about idioms.
•http://a4esl.org/q/h/idioms.html is another
idioms review site .
•www.english-zone.com/idioms/ has practice
quizzes.
•www.idiomsite.com/-history tells where
specific idioms originated.
Michelle Gaines
Idioms Practice
http://a4esl.org/q/h/idioms.html
Simile, metaphor, idiom, hyperbole,
or personification

____ 1. Eric thinks doing schoolwork is one big video game.

____ 2. Lauren has made up her mind to volunteer every Tuesday after school.

____ 3. Thinking about summer camp makes me feel like a bundle of sunshine.

____ 4. As I delivered my speech, my voice sounded as if I’d swallowed rocks and sand.

____ 5. Emma may seem clumsy, but onstage she dances like a gazelle.

____ 6. Jacob expresses many feelings through his photography.

____ 7. My favorite tennis shoes have grown tired and weary.

____ 8. Before the soccer match, both teams attended a sportsmanship program.

____9. I have a ton of paperwork to do before I can enjoy the sun this summer.

____ 10. Sometimes I have to be my little brother’s brain.

_____11. Some students are getting swept out of the library.

_____12. Her brain is the size of a pea.

_____13. That joke went right over my head.

_____ 14. The students caught him with his pants down on Monday. I forgot about the field trip.

_____15. It was a group project, but everyone rode Andrew's coattails
Practice = HOMEWORK
• Figures of speech are widely
used. Look through a
newspaper or magazine,
including the advertisements,
and gather at least six figures
of speech. Look for examples
of similes, metaphors, and
personification.
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Figurative Language - Bowling Green High School