Figurative language can be found in literature and poetry where the writing appeals to the senses. It can do this by giving a word with a specific meaning, by comparing two things in such a way that you find the comparison interesting or by using words that have unusual constructions or sounds.
You are using figurative language when writing goes beyond the actual meanings of words so that the reader gains new insights into the objects or subjects in the work.
One of the best ways to really understand the concept of figurative language is to see it in action such as with these examples:
There are many types of figurative language. Some include the use of a specific type of word or word meaning such as:
Figurative language can also include unusual constructions or combinations of words that give a new perspective on the word such as:
Following is an explanation of each type of figurative language, each with an example of figurative language:
A simile compares two things using the words “like” and “as.” Examples include:
When you use a metaphor, you make a statement that doesn’t make sense literally, like “time is a thief.” It only makes sense when the similarities between the two things become apparent or someone understands the connection.
Personification gives human characteristics to inanimate objects, animals, or ideas. This can really affect the way the reader imagines things. This is used in children’s books, poetry, and fictional literature. Examples include:
Hyperbole is an outrageous exaggeration that emphasizes a point, and can be ridiculous or funny. Hyperboles can be added to fiction to add color and depth to a character. Examples are:
Symbolism occurs when a word which has meaning in itself but is used to represent something entirely different. Examples are:
Alliteration is the easiest of the examples of figurative language to spot. It is a repetition of the first consonant sounds in several words. Some good examples are:
and tongue twisters like:
Onomatopoeia is the use of words that sound like their meaning, or mimic sounds. They add a level of fun and reality to writing. Here are some examples:
An idion is an expression that has a meaning that is only known to a particular group of people. For example:
Regardless of the type of word used, figurative language can make you look at the world differently; it can heighten your senses and help you feel like you are having the same experience as the author.