How To Use Figures Of Speech


Figures of speech are used in the English language to communicate a thought or idea indirectly. It adds a dash of spice to your spoken or written piece. When you communicate, you tell the listener the information and how you communicate talks about you. Your speech echoes your brand.

To understand the unexplored world beyond the literal meaning, let?s comprehend the purpose and difference between direct and figurative languages. The literal meaning of the sentence, ?I am very sleepy? is that I can?t stay up any longer, and I need to go to bed. So what you read is exactly what it means. Every writer is sensitive to the audience when using the literal or figurative language. While many authors incorporate a balance of both, some may opt for either.

Literal lingo is quick and easy to grasp while figurative language requires the reader to read, think and understand before proceeding. While dealing with facts and news, it is best to rely on literal communication. However, while it comes to fiction, poems and quotes, figurative communication leaves room for the imagination. Literal language can seem to the point while figurative language leaves room for interpretation.

Written work with a figurative language helps the reader experience the literary arts. Serving a purpose more profound than just adding aesthetic value enhances the emotional significance of the content. A written work of art is a gift from a writer waiting to be unwrapped.

Figures of speech are a useful tool to emphasize a thought. The purpose of figures of speech is to help you express in a new way. Here are some commonly used figures of speech:

1. Metaphor

Metaphor talks about one idea by referring to another through an indirect comparison- words such as ?like? or ?as? are not used here. The idea is not easily put forth; you need to find the meaning beyond the words. You can express it creatively using metaphors.

?Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.?
                                                                        - Truman Capote

The quote highlights how unfortunate it is to see people view failures as a negative word. Failure is the building blocks to success and is needed to achieve success. It is a crucial ingredient.

1. Simile

Like a metaphor, a simile compares two different things that seem unrelated but in a direct manner. Words such as ?like? or ?as? are helping words used to describe a simile.

?Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.?

2. Albert Einstein

The quote talks about how it is essential to keep moving to find a balance in life. Pausing for long on a particular topic can hinder the flow of life. You do not need to dwell too much on a chapter in your life, and only when you keep moving will you be able to read the next one.

3. Analogy

Through an analogy, two almost different things are shown to be alike. It is a more complex rhetorical device. While metaphors and similes are used to depict an analogy, the latter is elaborate. 

?Just as music is noise that makes sense, a painting is colour that makes sense, so a story is life that makes sense.?
                                                                                                     - Yann Martel, Beatrice and Virgil

Music, art and story are created with the imagination of the artist to convey a message. Though these messages can have a different interpretation, to the interpreter, it makes sense and gives her/him a sense of relief and calm in doing so. 

4. Personification

In this figure of speech, non-living objects are described with the help of human traits, emotions and behaviours. In doing so, the lifeless substance is brought to life.

?Life moves pretty fast. If you don?t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.?

                                                                                      - Dr Richard Chambers, Ferris Bueller?s Day Off

The quote talks about how life is frequently in motion as if it has legs to keep travelling. Life is depicted as a human who is always moving.

The next time you write an essay or blog, how about you incorporate figures of speech to your written piece? This will catch the attention of your readers and will pique their interest.

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