Using Figurative Language

9 Feb

Figurative Language is language that uses words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation. In writing, if we state the facts as they are, we are using literal language. Figurative language allows writers to better describe something by comparing it with something else, or by saying something other than what is literally meant for affect. Check out the Figurative Language Rap for catchy examples, or scroll down to learn more!

Personification is a figure of speech where human characteristics are given to an animal or object; it involves giving human qualities to something that is not human.

  • For example: Clara’s stuffed bear smiled warmly as she hugged it.

Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming within phrases or sentences. It is a rhyme that depends on the utilization of similar vowel sounds.

  • For example: Gand mow the lawn.

Alliteration occurs when a series of words in a row that have the same first consonant sound. These words could all be within the same row or sentence, or they may be used closely together but not in the same row or sentence.

  • For example: The wild and wooly walrus waits and wonders when we’ll walk by.

Hyperbole is an extreme exaggeration. This extreme exaggeration is used to make a point. Hyperbole can be considered the opposite of an understatement.

  • For example: Susie swore the rollercoaster’s first hill was two miles high.

Onomatopoeia involves naming a thing or an action by imitating the sound associated with it. This could include words like “hiss” or “roar” or any word that can be used to imitate a sound.

  • For example: Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. Ding-dong, ding-dong. The little train rumbled over the tracks.

A metaphor states a fact or draws a picture through the use of comparison.

  • For example: Her hair was silk.

A simile makes a comparison, like in a metaphor, but the simile is made explicit through the use of “like” or “as”.

  • For example: The sun was like a yellow ball floating in the sky.

Can you tell a metaphor from a simile? How do you feel about your alliteration skills? When should you use hyperbole? Take this quiz and see how you do! To learn more about figurative language, check out these resources:

As always, please schedule an appointment with the Writing Center for help with any writing concern, including proper use of figurative language!

© Alyssa Ryan 


One Response to “Using Figurative Language”


  1. Resources for Getting Started | The Christ College Writing Center - March 1, 2016

    […] Using Figurative Language […]

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