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INCORPORATING FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE
INCORPORATING
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE
INTO YOUR WRITING
INTO
YOUR WRITING

Adrienne Salinas

DEFINITION:
DEFINITION:

FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE (n): speech or writing that departs from the literal meaning

F IGURATIVE L ANGUAGE (n): speech or writing that departs from the literal meaning

in order to achieve a special effect or meaning

(n): speech or writing that departs from the literal meaning in order to achieve a special
PURPOSE:
PURPOSE:
PURPOSE:  Creates vivid images Gives a distinctive style Captures reader’s attention Draws reader into the

Creates vivid images Gives a distinctive style Captures reader’s attention Draws reader into the story

 Creates vivid images Gives a distinctive style Captures reader’s attention Draws reader into the story
USES: 
USES:

style of writing



To enhance your own personal

USES:  style of writing  To enhance your own personal To make the reader think

To make the reader think more

about your statement



To create writing that is more

pleasurable and entertaining

statement  To create writing that is more pleasurable and entertaining  To convey complex &

To convey complex & abstract ideas

SIMILE:
SIMILE:
SIMILE: Comparing two very different things that have something in common Example : “ Money is

Comparing two very different things that have something in common

two very different things that have something in common Example : “ Money is like fertilizer

Example: “Money is like fertilizer – it’s not any good unless you spread it around.” (Adapted from Francis Bacon)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Methods for Constructing
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Methods for Constructing Similes:

X is not like Y

X is the same as Y

X is like Y

X

is more than Y

X

is less than Y

X

does Z; so does Y

X

is similar to Y

X

resembles Y

X

makes me think of Y

METAPHOR:
METAPHOR:

Comparing two different things by

METAPHOR: Comparing two different things by identifying the subject with the image Example : “The first
METAPHOR: Comparing two different things by identifying the subject with the image Example : “The first

identifying the subject with the image

things by identifying the subject with the image Example : “The first beam of hope that

Example: “The first beam of hope that had ever darted into his mind rekindled youth in his cheeks and doubled the lustre of his eyes.” (Samuel Johnson)

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Methods for Constructing Metaphors: using the subject of life and the image of a river
Methods for Constructing Metaphors:
using the subject of life and the image of a river

life is a river life flows

the river of life swimming upstream in life

life’s river a flowing life

METONYMY:
METONYMY:
METONYMY: Type of metaphor: an associated idea is substituted for the subject idea Example: “The pen

Type of metaphor: an associated idea is substituted for the subject idea

Example:
Example:

“The pen is mightier than the sword.”

(Edward Bulwer-Lytton)
(Edward Bulwer-Lytton)
idea is substituted for the subject idea Example: “The pen is mightier than the sword .”
CATACHRESIS:
CATACHRESIS:
CATACHRESIS: Type of metaphor: substituting an associated thing for the intended idea Example: “I will speak

Type of metaphor: substituting an associated thing for the intended idea

Example:
Example:
substituting an associated thing for the intended idea Example: “I will speak daggers to her, but

“I will speak daggers to her, but use none.”

IRONY:
IRONY:
Example:
Example:

A statement whose hidden meaning is different than its apparent meaning

hidden meaning is different than its apparent meaning “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a

“It is a truth universally acknowledged,

that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

(from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)
(from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)
PERSONIFICATION:
PERSONIFICATION:

Giving human attributes to animals, objects, or ideas Example:

human attributes to animals, objects, or ideas Example : The wind stood up and gave a

The wind stood up and gave a shout.

He whistled on his fingers and

Kicked the withered leaves about And thumped the branches with his hand

And said he'd kill and kill and kill, And so he will! And so he will!

And said he'd kill and kill and kill , And so he will! And so he
(from "The Wind“ by James Stephens)
(from "The Wind“ by James Stephens)
HYPERBOLE:
HYPERBOLE:
HYPERBOLE: An overly exaggerated statement Example: “ Give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred, then

An overly exaggerated statement

Example:
Example:

Give me a thousand kisses, then a

hundred, then another thousand, then a

second hundred. Then still another thousand, then a hundred.”

(Edward Bulwer-Lytton)
(Edward Bulwer-Lytton)
then another thousand, then a second hundred. Then still another thousand, then a hundred.” (Edward Bulwer-Lytton)
AVOID:
AVOID:
AVOID: Clichés  • slept like a log • happy as a clam Overuse  
Clichés
Clichés

slept like a log happy as a clam

Overuse
Overuse

Unclear language

OVERVIEW OF TERMS:
OVERVIEW OF TERMS:


Simile: comparing two very

different things that have something in common

two very different things that have something in common  Metaphor: comparing two different things by

Metaphor: comparing two different things by identifying the subject with the image



Irony: a statement whose

hidden meaning is different than its

apparent meaning

whose hidden meaning is different than its apparent meaning  Personification: giving human attributes to animals,

Personification: giving

human attributes to animals,

objects, or ideas

giving human attributes to animals, objects, or ideas  Metonymy: an associated idea is substituted for

Metonymy: an associated

idea is substituted for the subject idea

an associated idea is substituted for the subject idea  Catachresis: substituting an associated thing for

Catachresis: substituting

an associated thing for the intended idea

 Catachresis: substituting an associated thing for the intended idea  Hyperbole: an overly exaggerated statement

Hyperbole: an overly

exaggerated statement