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Figurative Language

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  • Pages: 7
  • Word count: 1594
  • Category: Language

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Figurative language, word or group of words used to give particular emphasis to an idea or sentiment. The special emphasis is typically accomplished by the user’s conscious deviation from the strict literal sense of a word, or from the more commonly used form of word order or sentence construction. From ancient times to the present, such figurative locutions have been extensively employed by orators and writers to strengthen and embellish their styles of speech and composition. Figures of Speech are expression used by a writer to tell something different from a literal meaning of a word or a group of word. Through this, you can express idea in a fresh and distinctive way

Examples of Figurative Language
– is a sequence of ideas that abruptly diminish in dignity or importance at the end of a sentence or passage, generally for satirical effect. ExAmple:
* Among the great achievements of Benito Mussolini’s regime were the revival of a strong national consciousness, the expansion of the Italian Empire, and the running of the trains on time.

– is a juxtaposition of two words, phrases, clauses, or sentences contrasted or opposed in meaning in such a way as to give emphasis to contrasting ideas. ExAmple:
* To err is human, to forgive divine.

– is a device by which an actor turns from the audience, or a writer from readers, to address a person who usually is either absent or deceased, an inanimate object, or an abstract idea.
* Hail divinest Melancholy, whose saintly visage is too bright to hit the sense of human sight.

– is a scheme type and often results when the verbs in supporting clauses are eliminated to produce shorter descriptive phrases. This makes them often hyperbatons, or figures of disorders because they can disrupt the flow of a sentence.


* Denver and Kid, both friends of mine, are starting a band.

-is the refrain of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming within phrases or sentences and together with alliteration and consonance serves as one of the building blocks of verse.


* Dead in the middle of little Italy, little did we know that we riddled two middle men who didn’t go giddily.

-is a stylistic scheme in which conjunctions are deliberately omitted from a series of related clauses.


* We must hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends

-is a figure of speech in which two or more clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point.


* By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

-is an arrangement of words, clauses, or sentences in the order of their importance, the least forcible coming first and the others rising in power until the last.
* It is an outrage to bind a Roman citizen; it is a crime to scourge him; it is almost parricide to kill him; but to crucify him—what shall I say of this?

-is an elaborate, often extravagant metaphor or simile making an analogy between totally dissimilar things. The term originally meant “concept” or “idea.” The use of conceits is especially characteristic of 17th-century English metaphysical poetry.

* When you’re as great as I am, it’s hard to be humble.
-refers to the omission from a clause of one or more words that would otherwise be required by the remaining elements.


* He can play the guitar and I can play the guitar, too.

-is a term used to mean the substitution of one grammatical form for another one.


* Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.

-is a substitution of a delicate or inoffensive term or phrase for one that has coarse, sordid, or otherwise unpleasant associations, as in the use of “lavatory” or “rest room” for “toilet,” and “pass away” for “die.”


* Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin—it’s the triumphant twang of a bedspring.

-is an interjection expressing violent emotion, such as fright, grief, or hatred.
* Mr. Burchell at the conclusion of every sentence would cry out ‘Fudge!’—an expression which displeased us all.

-is a form of inordinate exaggeration according to which a person or thing is depicted as being better or worse, or larger or smaller, than is actually the case.
* Dr. Johnson drank his tea in oceans.
-is a figure of speech in which words that naturally belong together are separated from each other for emphasis or effect.


* Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end.

-consist of repeating a sequence of words at the beginning of neighboring clauses, thereby lending them emphasis.


* Have struck those tyrants! Strike as deep as my course! Strike! And but once.

-is a figure of speech involving an inversion of a language’s ordinary order of words.


* Hope holds to Christ the minds own mirror out to take His lovely likeness more and more.

-is the repetition of last word of a preceding clause. The word is used at the end of a sentence and then used again at the beginning of the next sentence.


* Having power makes isolated: isolation breeds insecurity: insecurity breeds suspicion and fear: suspicion and fear breed violence.

-is a figure of speech that calls into question the meaning of word.


* For you mistook me all this while. I live with bread like what you feel, taste grief and need friends, but how can you say to me I’m a traitor?

-is a figure of speech wherein a sentence is deliberately broken off and left unfinished, the ending to be supplied by the imagination, giving an impression of unwillingness or inability to continue.


* Unless I have believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of living.

-is the breaking of a syntactic unit by the end of a line or between two verses. It is to be contrasted with end-stopping, where each linguistic unit corresponds with a single line, and caesura, in which the linguistic unit ends mid line.


* A glooming peace this morning it brings,
The sun for sorrow will not show his head.
Go hence to have more talk of these sad things,
Some shall be pardons, and some punished.

-is a figure of speech used defined by the repetition of the initial word or words of a clause or sentence at the end.


* The king is dead, long live the king.

-is the reversal of the syntactic relation of two words.


* On the idle hill of summer, sleepy with the flow of streams, far I hear.

– are word that are identical with each other in pronunciation and spelling but different in origin and meaning.


* She sleeps on soft last breath; but no ghost looms
Out of the stillness of the palace wall
Her walls of boys on boys and dooms on dooms.

-is a dryly humorous or lightly sarcastic mode of speech, in which words are used to convey a meaning contrary to their literal sense.
* I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

-is an understatement employed for the purpose of enhancing the effect of the ideas expressed
* “The English poet Thomas Gray showed no inconsiderable powers as a prose writer,” meaning that Gray was in fact a very good prose writer.

-is a use of a word or phrase denoting one kind of idea or object in place of another word or phrase for the purpose of suggesting a likeness between the two.
* Our lives are merely strange dark interludes in the electric display of God the Father.

-is a use of a word or phrase for another to which it bears an important relation, as the effect for the cause, the abstract for the concrete, and similar constructions.
* “The hostess kept a good table,” means good food is implied. 29.
-is an imitation of natural sounds by words.
* The humming bee went on that tree.

-is a combination of two seemingly contradictory or incongruous words.
* Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

-is a statement or sentiment that appears contradictory to common sense yet is true in fact.
* I am a well known secret agent.

-is a representation of inanimate objects or abstract ideas as living beings
* Necessity is the mother of invention.

-asking of questions not to gain information but to assert more emphatically the obvious answer to what is asked. No answer, in fact, is expected by the speaker.
* “Did you help me when I needed help? Did you once offer to intercede in my behalf? Did you do anything to lessen my load?”

– is a specific comparison by means of the words “like” or “as” between two kinds of ideas or objects.
* “Christianity shone like a beacon in the black night of paganism”


-s a figurative locution whereby the part is made to stand for the whole, the whole for a part, the species for the genus, and vice versa.
* “The president’s administration contained the best brains in the country,””brains” is used for intellectually brilliant persons.

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