We most regularly associate figurative language with poetry, but we uncover figurative language widely used in numerous other contexts too. We find it in use in whatever from fiction and folk music come drama and our everyday speech.

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The term figurative language refers to any kind of use of language the goes past the literal definition of the indigenous themselves. In numerous instances, the phrase additionally refers to instances where the use of sounds, syntax, and also word order deviate native what is taken into consideration the normal patterns of use. It is this definition that us will explore in this guide.



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In both regards stated above, figurative language represents a sophisticated, an imaginative use that language come convey meaning and mood amongst other effects. That represents an important tool in the writer’s toolbox.

These an innovative applications of language help readers come visualize the writer’s plan meaning, and also establish atmosphere, rhythm, and other stylistic effects. The usage of these literary tools creates an effective and also beautiful way to interact through the written and spoken word.

Using figurative language helps speak to a reader’s emotions, and to articulate more abstract and complicated concepts in a relatable way. How a writer offers figurative language in their occupational constitutes a big element of their style.


Figurative language is a large category that includes all varieties of figures of speech, including sound devices and also imagery.

There are numerous different species of figures that speech, but extensively speaking these deserve to helpfully be divided into 2 groups: tropes and schemes.

In this article, we will look at various examples of figures of speech in ~ these two categories. We will define them, provide an instance of how they room used, and carry out a straightforward task that calls for minimal preparation and will permit students to practice these in class.




A trope is a figure of decided that supplies words or phrases in a way in i m sorry the intended meaning extends beyond the literal meaning of the words used. Several of the most commonly used tropes incorporate metaphor, simile, and personification. But, there are plenty of others. We will certainly take a look at at some of the key ones below.



Definition: This figure of speech offers exaggeration for emphasis or other details effects such together humour, because that example. Just like other numbers of speech, the is not supposed to it is in taken literally by the audience or the reader – they space usually in ~ above it. We often use hyperbole in our day-to-day speech.

Example: I might have passed away of embarrassment

Task: Give student a list of to compare adjectives. Girlfriend can identify these follow to the students’ ages and abilities. Challenge students to write hyperbole based upon each of these adjectives. Use the version phrase ‘brighter than the sun’ to gain the ball rolling.

We have actually a finish guide to hyperbole in literature which deserve to be uncovered here



Definition: An idiom is a figurative usage of language that cannot be interpreted from a literal expertise of the indigenous alone. Idioms space a part of the language and each language creates its own distinctive idioms over time. Idioms are similar to other figures of speech other than that while many other numbers of speech have the right to be the original conceptions that the writer, idioms are currently in visibility within the language. Many of Shakespeare’s figures of speech have become crystallized in the language as the idioms that today.

Example: ‘Kick the bucket / offered up the ghost / passed away

Task: You can aid students bridge the gap in between their understanding of numbers of speech and also idioms through this activity. Carry out students through a list of idioms on miscellaneous themes. Talk about these and also ensure they have actually a sense of your meaning. Difficulty the students to write their own figures of decided on each of this themes utilizing the sample idiom as a beginning point.


Definition: A metaphor makes a comparison in between two unrelated points by stating one thing is the various other thing. This is generally done through highlighting or suggesting a mutual quality or characteristic in between the two distinctive elements.

Example: Life is a rollercoaster

Task: Metaphors are generally used in speech, poetry, plays, songs, and also stories. To offer your students practice identifying metaphors in a selection of contexts, organize lock into teams and provide them through a variety of the types of reading materials provided above. Have students read and also listen to this materials and also identify instances of an allegory in each, translate in a list as they go.


Definition: Oxymorons incorporate two opposing elements into a single phrase or sentence. They deserve to be supplied to create a range of effects, comedic, dramatic, or thought-provoking.

Example: “Parting is together sweet sorrow.

Task: Oxymorons are an extremely common in our everyday speech, for example ‘seriously funny’, ‘random order’, and also ‘pretty ugly’. Organise the student into groups and difficulty them to come up v as numerous other usual examples together they can. Together an extension exercise, questioning the students to create some initial oxymorons too.



Definition: Personification is a special kind of an allegory where human actions or feelings are ascribed come a non-human thing. Once we talk about something that isn’t human as if that was, then we room personifying it – the is, do it into a person. This figurative usage of language is most commonly linked with poetry and also literary fiction, but we can often uncover it in our everyday speech too.

Example: An angry sky / publications were her continuous companions / the car’s a beauty

Task: theorem the students right into pairs. Instruct partner 1 to compile a perform of 10 nouns, these have the right to be inanimate objects such as a pencil, a chair and so on or organic phenomenon such as moon, stars, sun etc. Have Partner 2 compile a perform of 10 verbs linked with the plot of human being beings, for instance laugh, tell, sing etc. Once both partners have completed your lists they deserve to use your nouns and verbs to compose their very own personification sentences.


Definition: Similes do comparisons between two watch unrelated facets by making use of ‘like’ or ‘as’ to highlight a usual quality or characteristics both points share. Similes make a to compare by arguing a similarity in between two things, quite than do a to compare by stating that one thing is something else – such as we discover with metaphors.

Example: Her eye shone choose diamonds / He was as solid as a horse

Task: Begin this activity by questioning students come compile a perform of to speak 10 nouns and also 10 adjectives. An obstacle the college student to kind original similes utilising the nouns and the adjective on their perform to collection up a simile comparison. Because that example, if they select the noun cat and the adjective smart they must generate the final facet to complete their simile, because that example, The cat is together smart together a computer. They should do this till they have actually completed a simile for every items on their lists. Encourage them come strike a balance in between the similes that use like to do the comparison and those that usage as.

Definition: This figure of speech most regularly occurs when a component of a thing is offered to represent the whole of a thing. However, the can additionally occur as soon as the entirety of a point is offered to was standing for a part of a thing. The very first type is referred to as microcosm and also the second, macrocosm. This trope is far better conveyed v illustration 보다 explanation.

Example: All hand on deck! (microcosm) / The joined States claimed war. (macrocosm)

Task: theorem students into groups and give out duplicates of old newspapers. Difficulty the students to spot instances of synecdoche in the assorted articles and then to mark them. They may wish to usage two separate colors because that identifying the 2 different types mentioned above.


Schemes room a figurative use of language the deviates indigenous the normal mechanics that a sentence. This might be in regards to syntax, sound, or word order. Writers can use schemes to produce rhythm, musicality, or to draw comparisons or contrasts within a text. They are particularly associated through poetry, as they regularly work on a rhythmic basis or with sound. Unlike tropes, schemes operate on a sense level much more than an intellectual level.


Definition: The repetition of the early stage consonant sound of continually or near consecutive words for effect. Alliteration is also referred to together head rhyme or initial rhyme.

Example: The slithering snake slid sideways silently

Task: Read some tongue twisters together a class and then difficulty the student to develop their own examples.


Definition: The repetition of vowel sounds within a team of words. As with alliteration, it is the repeating sounds that room important, not the letters.

Example: “Fleet feet sweep by sleeping geeseby Pink Floyd

Task: Assonance deserve to be used to convey different moods. For example, repeat of long, broad ‘o’ and ‘a sounds have the right to express sore or melancholy. Difficulty your college student to create a heat that uses assonance to express a selected mood.


Definition: The repetition of consonant sounds everywhere in the words the are near each other. This must be distinguished from alliteration, wherein the repeat is minimal to the sounds at the start of words. Alliteration is a special form of consonance, so all alliteration is a type of consonance, yet not every consonance is alliteration.

Example: “I’m sure she sell sea-shore shells

Task: Give the end a worksheet v a mix the unmarked examples of alliteration, consonance, and assonance and have the students kind them into the exactly categories. You may want the student to use a Venn diagram for this reason they can much more easily categorize those that fit into an ext than one category.


Definition: Onomatopoeia describes words that sound like the thing they describe. Onomatopoeia is most generally seen in poetry wherein its usage serves together a an effective tool because that the imagination as that imitates the sounds of the things defined themselves. A common example that onomatopoeia have the right to be watched in the name of the sounds various animals make.

Example: Woof! Baa! Moo! Oink! Cock-a-doodle-do!

Be sure to review our complete guide to onomatopoiea here.

Task: To get your students thinking around onomatopoeia, offer them a layout and challenge them to list as plenty of onomatopoeic words together they can roughly that theme. This can easily be identified for various period groups. Because that example, younger kids can job-related on animal sounds prefer those above, while older students deserve to work ~ above a design template such as that the water (drip, splish, splosh, splash, plop etc). For stronger students, simply administer them with a theme and also task lock with developing their very own related and also original onomatopoeic words.


Definition: This system is likewise known together a parallel structure and also applies to sentences or phrases the employ an identical or very similar structure. Parallelism is regularly used to carry clarity and emphasis, and create a memorable rhythm. Some of history’s many memorable speeches and also statements used parallelism to great effect and these have stayed with us for plenty of decades together a result. Neil Armstrong’s reported words on the moon landing and Martin Luther king I have actually a Dream speech being prime examples.

Example: “That’s one small step for a man. One large leap for mankind.by Neil Armstrong.

Task: carry out students with sample sentences that perform not use a parallel structure within them. Difficulty the students come rewrite the sentence to incorporate a parallel structure into the brand-new sentences. For example, provide the students the following sentence:

Do you prefer spicy chicken, pork, or braided fish because that the key course?

Students should work to acknowledge that the underlying structure entails an adjective preceding two the the food options and have to rewrite the sentence to incorporate one because that the pork. Answers will of food vary, but all are valid as long as castle conform come the pattern. For example:

Do you prefer spicy chicken, sweet pork, or braided fish for the main course?

Go Figure!

These are just some the the various means that language is commonly used figuratively. There room many more of course, though several of these deserve to be fairly rarely used. It’s best to begin with these more common people first, prior to moving onto several of the more complex literary tools available.

Spending part time working on figurative language in isolation will help students come understand how to usage the various figures of decided in their own writing.

But, to use them in a confident and also unselfconscious manner will certainly require several reinforcement in their usage throughout the institution year.

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While beforehand attempts to weave them right into their very own writing might seem stilted and unnatural, v time and also practice they will become component of a student’s an individual style and help enable them come articulate and express their thoughts in one artistic and also coherent manner.