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Figurative Language In Tall Tales. Figurative language describes something through the use of unusual comparisons to make things clearer. The result of using this technique is the creation of interesting images in our minds.

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Figurative language describes something through the use of unusual comparisons to make things clearer. The result of using this technique is the creation of interesting images in our minds.

One of the most important elements of tall tales is exaggeration. Figurative language helps writers incorporate exaggeration.

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Two Kinds of Figurative Language

  • Metaphor

A metaphor compares two unlike things by saying one thing is the other.

"My baby sister's a doll," you might say, compares your sister's size and sweetness to that of the perfection of a doll. At another time you might say, "My brother is a rat." This compares your brother to the nastiest little creature you can think of. In both cases you would be making a metaphor - a form of comparison that directly compares two unlike things. A metaphor wastes no time in getting to the point.

  • Simile

A Metaphor compares two unlike things using like and as.

If you said, "My sister is like a doll," or maybe, "My brother's as good as gold," you would be making a simile - a form of comparison in which one thing is compared to another unlike thing by using specific words of comparison like like and as.

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Look at the following passages and notice how the similes and metaphors help the story.

Even from his awkward position, he could see that she was extraordinary-tall as a hickory sapling, with arms as big as a keelboats tiller’s.

~Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind by Mary Pope Osborne

When Pecos Bill was a little baby, he was as tough as a pine knot.

~Pecos Bill by Mary Pope Osborne

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Look at the following passages and notice how the similes and metaphors help the story.

The night John Henry was born the sky was as black as coal, thunder rolled through the heavens, and the earth trembled.

~John Henry by Mary Pope Osborne

He was a tiger running after his prey.

~Hank Quickfire by Mrs. Hatt

His eyes were fireballs that burned holes into his enemies.

~Hank Quickfire by Mrs. Hatt

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Today during writer’s workshop decide where you would like to incorporate some exaggeration and add at least one metaphor and one simile to your story.

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Try this!

Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia is produced by a single word that sounds like the thing it refers to: "Six burgers were sizzling on the grill." "A snake slithered through the grass."

Onomatopoeia is a great way to make your story more exciting. Incorporate it into your writing.