READ: Figurative Language


Whenever you describe something by comparing it with something else, you are using figurative language. Figurative language goes beyond the literal meaning of words in order to furnish new effects or fresh insights into an idea or a subject. The most common figures of speech are simile, metaphor, and alliteration. We will cover simile, metaphor, and hyperbole this week.


A simile is a comparison drawn to how two things are similar. Similes often use "like" or "as" to make the connection between two things. In chapter 1 of Lord of the Flies, SamnEric are described using a simile: "The two boys, bullet-headed and with hair like tow, flung themselves down and lay grinning and panting at Ralph like dogs."

Here are some additional examples of similes:

"That shirt is like a lawn of grass."
"That ball is yellow like the sun."
"He fought like a bear."
"Her face shined like the sun."

Simile can also convey irony. This is done by saying a person or thing is like something, but then comparing them to something that is not like that at all. For example:

"He was as sharp as a bowling ball."
"He was smart as a brick."
"He was as smooth as a cactus."

Some similes are so well known, they have become cliches. These are phrases that many people have heard and are familiar with. It is better to avoid cliches when writing.

"Sharp as a tack."
"Clever as a fox."
"Strong as an ox."

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