What Is Figurative Language and How to Use it?

What is Figurative Language

Reading the content which has been written in a straightforward language is although easy to understand but, most of the time, it becomes monotonous and boring. The readers respond more and in a better way towards the content having creative words in it. It is where the writers make the use of figurative language. It helps the writers and the poets give the power of their written words and compels them to start imagining. And it also becomes easy for the reader to remember things and get familiar with the things. There is the use of tools like similes under figurative language, expressions of exaggeration, metaphor, hyperbola, and much more such literal and non-literal methods.

Discussion and Introduction on Figurative Language

Figurative language makes the use of certain phrases and words that put an impression on the readers. These words try to point out a message that the readers can get from reading the content. The word ‘Figurative’ gets derived from the French word that is ‘figurative. In French, the word means metaphorical. There is the use of many expressions to make your academic writing distinct from the others. These expressions get the name of Figures of Speech. There are many figures of speech, but the most commonly used includes the following;

  1. Metaphor
  2. Similes
  3. assonance
  4. Exaggeration
  5. onomatopoeia
  6. Personification
  7. Hyperbola
  8. Alliteration
  9. Imagery
  10. Repetition

These literary devices put an impression on the readers’ minds so that they can relate the things and heighten their imagination.

Commonly used Figures of Speech in Figurative Language

There is possibly a range of literary devices that the writers can use. But the majorly used are the figures of speech which are as follows:

Figurative Language

1. Metaphor

Metaphor in Figurative language is similar to the similes, but the only difference that gets marked between the two is that metaphor indirectly marks the comparison between the two things. It is commonly of two types-

a.) General Metaphor – It doesn’t connect the words to show the comparison. It generally shows how the two things relate to each other and are the same on some basis. For example- She was crying a river of tears. Here, here tears have been compared with the river, but the comparison has not been reflected in direct terms using words such as- like, etc.

b.) Implied Metaphor – Another common form of metaphor is that of implied metaphor. Under this, direct referencing gets avoided, and comparison is there on the implied basis. For example- The coach barked orders at the team. Here the comparison has been indirectly made with the dog.

2. Simile

It is a kind of a literary device that compares two things by using the words such as- ‘like’ or ‘as.’ This becomes very helpful to show how two different things get related to each other. It is easy to imagine how the thing could have been about which the writer wants to speak. Examples of phrases making the use of similes are- My cousin is as clever as a fox. Or I was sleeping like a log last night. In the first sentence, you can easily understand that the cousin has the same quality of cleverness, just as the fox has. And in the second reference, just like the log of wood is still and immobile, the same way I slept last night without making a single movement.

3. Onomatopoeia

This figure of speech gives an image in the minds of the readers and gives a lasting impact. They feel the things just like the way they have been described in the passage. Sometimes, the individual words may not be the literary device, but it depends on the kind of sentence it is. To take an example of our everyday lives, we come across words like- tick-tock, hiccup, ding-dong, tip-tapping of the raindrops, etc. These words give the same sound, just the way they seem in real.

4. Personification

The literary device of personification is useful in giving an impact of human qualities to the non-living things or objects inanimate. It adds the natural elements, which gives the feel like the object is live. To give an example of this figure of speech, look at the following sentences:

a.) Time kept marching on

b.) The wind was howling in the evening

c.) Words were leaping off the book

These sentences must have given you a vibe as if the time, wind, and the words are living creatures, and the marching, howling, and leaping have been the describing words, respectively. Such is the use of personification in the Figurative language.

5. Alliteration

Not only in the writings but many poems and poetries have the use of this figure of speech. It is a very common literary device that can get found in any piece of writing. Many experts do not consider it the part of Figurative language as it does not involve speech figures. It is rather a sound device as it gets based on the sound of the words only. Alliteration occurs when the sound of the same letter comes in a series of words. It adds additional meaning to the passage. Examples of alliteration used are as follows:

  • Wicked witch
  • From forth the fatal

This creates a mood and sense of image in the readers’ minds. Hence, we can say that it is a very part of Figurative language and Emotive language.

Uses of Figurative Language

Figurative language plays several important roles and functions in writing. It is both important from the point of view of the readers and the writers to have an impact on the piece of writing. Some of the major functions are as follows:

  • It helps in easily communicating the message of the writers to their respective community of readers.
  • Many of the literary devices under Figurative language creates imagery that makes the reading more interesting and fruitful.
  • Rhyming words create a rhythm in the series of monotonous words under Figurative language.
  • The reader can easily grasp things and the related connections between the things.
  • It gives a vivid and wide description.

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