Know about Figures of Speech

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Ophelia is my guardian angel

Figures of Speech are phrases that have a different meaning from their literal definition. These are somewhat like but differ from Idioms. 

On one hand, a Figure of Speech is nonliteral and imaginative language but can be understood by someone who isn’t familiar with that particular Figure of Speech. On the other hand, it’s impossible to understand an idiom without being familiar with that particular idiom. 

In general, Figures of Speech can be metaphors or similes but can fall into other categories as well. Figures of Speech are designed to make comparisons. This is achieved by devices such as alliteration (the repetition of certain sounds) or exaggeration, known as hyperbole. This creates a dramatic effect.

Alliteration in figurative language is fun. For example, you may hear a native English speaker say:

“I bought a box of bricks.” 

The repetitive b sound makes the phrase have a nice ring to it. Not just is the saying alliteration, it’s hyperbolic. 

Hyperbole, one of my favorite types of figurative speech, exaggerates an attribute of something, calling attention to it. In the above example, I didn’t literally buy “a box of bricks.” I bought a faulty product. I called the product “a box of bricks” because it didn’t work correctly. You, in your lifetime, have probably bought “a box of bricks” too, perhaps you purchased a faulty phone. 

Here’s another example of hyperbole: 

“Ophelia is my guardian angel.”

In reality, Ophelia isn’t a mythical creature. But she helps me when I’m in need, and so, I used this hyperbole when discussing her. 

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Examples of Figures of Speech

My brother eats like a pig.

The wind howled the entire night due to the storm.

The world is a stage, you need to perform well.

Let’s practice 

Q1: Try making your own sentence.

Q2: What do you think the statement brave as a lion means? Use it in a sentence.  

Q3: Which figures of speech have you heard before? Which ones are you familiar with?

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