We most regularly associate figurative language through poetry, but we find figurative language widely supplied in many other contexts too. We find it in use in everything from fiction and also folk music come drama and also our everyday speech.

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The ax figurative language advert to any type of use the language that goes past the literal definition of the indigenous themselves. In plenty of instances, the phrase additionally refers come instances where the use of sounds, syntax, and word bespeak deviate from what is taken into consideration the normal trends of use. That is this meaning that we will check out in this guide.



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In both regards discussed above, figurative language represents a sophisticated, creative use that language to convey an interpretation and mood amongst other effects. It represents vital tool in the writer’s toolbox.

These an imaginative applications the language assist readers come visualize the writer’s to plan meaning, as well as establish atmosphere, rhythm, and other stylistic effects. The usage of these literary tools creates one effective and beautiful way to interact through the created and spoken word.

Using figurative language helps speak to a reader’s emotions, and also to articulate much more abstract and facility concepts in a relatable way. How a writer supplies figurative language in their work constitutes a large element of your style.


Figurative language is a large category that incorporates all varieties of numbers of speech, consisting of sound devices and imagery.

There are numerous different species of figures of speech, but extensively speaking these have the right to helpfully be split into two groups: tropes and also schemes.

In this article, we will certainly look at various instances of numbers of speech in ~ these two categories. Us will specify them, carry out an example of how they room used, and administer a straightforward activity that needs minimal preparation and also will allow students to practice these in class.




A trope is a number of decided that uses words or paragraph in a means in which the intended definition extends beyond the literal definition of the words used. Some of the most frequently used tropes include metaphor, simile, and personification. But, there are many others. We will certainly take a look at at several of the key ones below.



Definition: This number of speech offers exaggeration for emphasis or other certain effects such as humour, because that example. Similar to other figures of speech, that is not expected to it is in taken literally by the audience or the reader – they are usually in top top it. We often use hyperbole in our daily speech.

Example: I could have passed away of embarrassment

Task: Give students a list of comparative adjectives. Girlfriend can identify these follow to the students’ ages and abilities. Challenge students to compose hyperbole based on each of these adjectives. Usage the model phrase ‘brighter than the sun’ to acquire the ball rolling.

We have a finish guide come hyperbole in literary works which deserve to be uncovered here



Definition: An idiom is a figurative usage of language the cannot be understood from a literal knowledge of the indigenous alone. Idioms are a component of the language and each language develops its own unique idioms over time. Idioms are similar to other numbers of speech except that while many other numbers of speech deserve to be the initial conceptions of the writer, idioms are currently in visibility within the language. Countless of Shakespeare’s figures of decided have come to be crystallized in the language as the idioms that today.

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

Task: You can help students leg the gap between their knowledge of numbers of speech and idioms with this activity. Administer students v a list of idioms on assorted themes. Discuss these and also ensure they have a feeling of their meaning. Difficulty the students to create their own numbers of speech on every of these themes using the sample idiom together a beginning point.


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

Example: Life is a rollercoaster

Task: Metaphors are typically used in speech, poetry, plays, songs, and stories. To give your students exercise identifying metaphors in a variety of contexts, organize castle into groups and provide them v a range of the types of reading materials listed above. Have actually students read and listen to this materials and also identify examples of metaphor in each, translate into a list together they go.


Definition: Oxymorons integrate two opposing aspects into a single phrase or sentence. They can be offered to develop a variety of effects, comedic, dramatic, or thought-provoking.

Example: “Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Task: Oxymorons are very common in our everyday speech, for example ‘seriously funny’, ‘random order’, and ‘pretty ugly’. Organise the college student into teams and challenge them come come up with as plenty of other usual examples as they can. As an expansion exercise, asking the student to write some original oxymorons too.



Definition: Personification is a special form of an allegory where human actions or feelings room ascribed to a non-human thing. As soon as we talk around something that isn’t person as if the was, climate we space personifying the – the is, make it right into a person. This figurative usage of language is most commonly associated with poetry and literary fiction, but we have the right to often find it in our everyday speech too.

Example: An angry skies / publications were her consistent companions / that car’s a beauty

Task: to organize the students into pairs. Instruct companion 1 to compile a list of 10 nouns, these have the right to be inanimate objects such together a pencil, a chair and so on or natural phenomenon such as moon, stars, sun etc. Have Partner 2 translate in a list of 10 verbs linked with the action of human beings, for example laugh, tell, sing etc. Once both partners have completed their lists they deserve to use your nouns and verbs to compose their own personification sentences.


Definition: Similes do comparisons in between two watch unrelated elements by using ‘like’ or ‘as’ to to mark a common quality or properties both things share. Similes do a to compare by saying a similarity between two things, quite than make a comparison by stating the one point is something else – such together we discover with metaphors.

Example: Her eyes shone choose diamonds / He to be as solid as a horse

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

Definition: This number of decided most frequently occurs when a part of a point is used to represent the entirety of a thing. However, it can likewise occur when the entirety of a point is used to was standing for a component of a thing. The very first type is called microcosm and also the second, macrocosm. This trope is better conveyed v illustration 보다 explanation.

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

Task: organize students into groups and also give out copies of old newspapers. Challenge the students to spot instances of synecdoche in the assorted articles and then to mark them. They may wish to use two different colors because that identifying the 2 different types mentioned above.


Schemes space a figurative use of language that deviates from the normal mechanics the a sentence. This might be in regards to syntax, sound, or word order. Writers have the right to use schemes to produce rhythm, musicality, or to attract comparisons or contrasts in ~ a text. Lock are specifically associated v poetry, as they frequently work ~ above a rhythmic basis or v sound. Unlike tropes, schemes operate on a sense level an ext than an pundit level.


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

Example: The slithering snake slid sideways silently

Task: Read some tongue twisters together a class and also then challenge the students to create their very own examples.


Definition: The repeat of vowel sounds in ~ a group of words. As with alliteration, it is the repeating sound that room important, no the letters.

Example: “Fleet feet sweep by sleeping geeseby Pink Floyd

Task: Assonance can be supplied to convey different moods. Because that example, repetition of long, vast ‘o’ and also ‘a sounds deserve to express sore or melancholy. Challenge your student to create a heat that uses assonance come express a selected mood.


Definition: The repeat of consonant sounds everywhere in the words that are close to each other. This must be identified from alliteration, whereby the repetition is minimal to the sounds at the start of words. Alliteration is a special form of consonance, so every alliteration is a kind of consonance, but not all consonance is alliteration.

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

Task: Give the end a worksheet with a mix the unmarked instances of alliteration, consonance, and assonance and also have the students sort them right into the correct categories. You might want the college student to use a Venn diagram for this reason they can much more easily categorize those that fit into more than one category.


Definition: Onomatopoeia describes words the sound favor the thing they describe. Onomatopoeia is most commonly seen in poetry wherein its use serves together a powerful tool because that the creative thinking as it imitates the sound of the things defined themselves. A common example that onomatopoeia can be watched in the name of the sounds various pets make.

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

Be certain to review our finish guide come onomatopoiea here.

Task: To gain your student thinking around onomatopoeia, give them a theme and an obstacle them to list as many onomatopoeic words together they can about that theme. This can easily be differentiated for various age groups. For example, younger youngsters can work-related on pet sounds choose those above, if older students can work top top a design template such together that the water (drip, splish, splosh, splash, plop etc). For stronger students, simply provide them v a theme and task lock with creating their very own related and also original onomatopoeic words.


Definition: This plan is also known together a parallel structure and also applies to sentence or phrases that employ an similar or very comparable structure. Parallelism is frequently used to bring clarity and emphasis, and also create a memorable rhythm. Some of history’s many memorable speeches and statements used parallelism to an excellent effect and also these have stayed v us for numerous decades together a result. Neil Armstrong’s report words top top the moon landing and Martin Luther king I have a Dream speech gift prime examples.

Example: “That’s one little step because that a man. One large leap because that mankind.by Neil Armstrong.

Task: provide students with sample sentences that do not usage a parallel structure within them. Challenge the students come rewrite the sentences to incorporate a parallel structure right into the brand-new sentences. Because that example, give the students the following sentence:

Do you like spicy chicken, pork, or salty fish because that the key course?

Students have to work to recognize that the basic structure requires an adjective preceding two that the food choices and must rewrite the sentence to encompass one for the pork. Answers will of course vary, yet all are valid as lengthy as castle conform to the pattern. Because that example:

Do you choose spicy chicken, sweet pork, or salty fish for the key course?

Go Figure!

These are simply some of the various means that language is typically used figuratively. There are many much more of course, though some of these have the right to be rather rarely used. It’s ideal to begin with these more common ones 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 to understand just how to use the various numbers of decided in their very own writing.

But, to usage them in a confident and unselfconscious manner will require numerous reinforcement in their use throughout the school year.

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While early attempts to weave them into their very own writing may seem stilted and also unnatural, v time and practice they will become part of a student’s personal style and assist enable them to articulate and also express their thoughts in an artistic and also coherent manner.