Figurative language is a tool that an author employs (or uses) to help the reader visualize (or see) what is happening in a story or poem.
Simile A simile compares two very different things that have at least one quality in common, using like or as. While similes are used in poetry principally for artistic effect, in formal writing they serve not only to increase interest but also to clarify an idea in an imaginative way. Example:Even after the avalanche, the climbers remained constantly attentive to their goal, as a sunflower continues to stay focused on the sun. For example: His feet were as big as boats. *We are comparing the size of feet to boats.
Willow and GinkgoEve MerriamThe willow is like an etching,Fine-lined against the sky.The ginkgo is like a crude sketch,Hardly worthy to be signed.The willow’s music is like a soprano,Delicate and thin.The ginkgo’s tune is like a chorusWith everyone joining in.The willow is sleek as a velvet-nosed calf;The ginkgo is leathery as an old bull.The willow’s branches are like silken thread;The ginkgo’s like stubby rough wool.The willow is like a nymph with streaming hair;Wherever it grows, there is green and gold and fair.The willow dips to the water,Protected and precious, like the king’s favorite daughter.The ginkgo forces its way through gray concrete;Like a city child, it grows up in the street.Thrust against the metal sky,Somehow it survives and even thrives.My eyes feast upon the willow,But my heart goes to the ginkgo. What's being compared?
THE METAPHORA metaphorstates that one thing is something else. It is a comparison, but it does NOT use like or as to make the comparison.For example: Her hair is silk. The sentence is comparing (or stating) that hair is silk. Example:Simile: A good book is like a friend.Metaphor: A good book is a friend.
Alliteration Alliteration is formed by repeating the same sound at the beginning of successive words or words related to each other in some way. The most familiar form of alliteration is the repetition of consonants in words pairs. Example: Without alliteration: The late delivery of parts resulted in an unwanted delay in production. With alliteration: The late delivery of parts resulted in a disheartening delay in production.
AnalogyAn analogy, like a simile, compares two different things by identifying points of similarity. The difference is that an analogy usually identifies several points of similarity and is created for the purpose of conceptual clarity.Example: Flash memory chips work like a chalkboard, in that, when information is written on it, the information remains present even when the power is turned off. Only when the information is deliberately erased will it disappear. And like the chalkboard, flash memory can be written on and erased many times.
Allusion a brief reference to a person, event, place,or phrase. The writer assumes will recognize the reference. Example: most of us would know the difference between a mechanic's being as reliable as George Washington or as reliable as Benedict Arnold. **some may require footnotes or endnotes for clarification
HYPERBOLE • Hyperbole is a figure of speech which is an exaggeration. Persons often use expressions such as "I nearly died laughing," "I was hopping mad," and "I tried a thousand times." Such statements are not literally true, but people make them to sound impressive or to emphasize something, such as a feeling, effort, or reaction.
Repetition • Repeating words or word phrases for effect. • Example: evil minds will use evil means.
Rule of “3” • Example: I ask you, is this fair, is it right, is it just? • Using three consecutive statements, words, phrases, separated by a comma, for rhetorical effect.
Anecdote • A short account of a humorous or interesting incident. • Example: "In [Ralph Waldo] Emerson's later years his memory began increasingly to fail. He used to refer to it as his 'naughty memory' when it let him down. He would forget the names of things, and have to refer to them in a circumlocutory way, saying, for instance, 'the implement that cultivates the soil' for plow. Worse, he could not remember people's names. At Longfellow's funeral, he remarked to a friend, 'That gentleman has a sweet, beautiful soul, but I have entirely forgotten his name.' Perhaps most touching was his term for umbrella--'the thing that strangers take away.'" (Reported in Clifton Fadiman, ed., The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, 1985)
IMAGERY • Imagery is the use of vivid description, usually rich in sensory words, to create pictures, or images, in the reader's mind • Use the 5 senses!
ANAPHORA • Anaphora (an-NAF-ruh): Figure of repetition that occurs when the first word or set of words in one sentence, clause, or phrase is/are repeated at or very near the beginning of successive sentences, clauses, or phrases; repetition of the initial word(s) over successive phrases or clauses.
Examples • "That my heart has been troubled, that Ihave not sought this nomination, that I could not seek it in good conscience, that I would not seek it in honest self-appraisal, is not to say that I value it the less. Rather, it is that I revere the office of the Presidency of the United States." -- Adlai Stevenson, 1952 DNC Presidential Nomination Acceptance Address • Click for Audio • "This is radical feminism. The agenda that Clinton & Clinton would impose on America: abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat units. That's change, all right. But that's not the kind of change America needs. It's not the kind of change America wants. And it's not the kind of change we can abide in a nation we still call 'God's country.'" -- Pat Buchanan, Republican National Convention Culture Wars Address • Click for Audio • "To raise a happy, healthy, and hopeful child, it takes a family; it takes teachers; it takes clergy; it takes business people; it takes community leaders; it takes those who protect our health and safety. It takes all of us." -- Hillary Clinton, 1996 Democratic National Convention Address • Click for Audio
Parallel structures • Sentence construction which places equal grammatical construction near each other, or repeats identical grammatical patterns. • Example: “to show kindness is praiseworthy; to show hatred is evil.”
Rhetorical Question • Assertion framed as a question • Example: Can we really expect the school to keep paying from its limited resources?
Contrast • Contrasting two ideas for effect or emphasis. • “Sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind”
Emotive Language • Language utilizing vivid and emotional details for effect. • Example: Imagine being cast out into the street, cold, lonely and frightened.
Idiom • Idioms are groups of words whose meaning is different from the ordinary meaning of the words. • For example: "Put a lid on it." • Our teacher tells us to put a lid on it. She's not really telling us to put a lid on something but to be quiet and pay attention.