EXPRESSION that does not mean exactly what

Figurative Language
• Sometimes a sentence includes a WORD or
EXPRESSION that does not mean exactly what
it says.
• These expressions are examples of figurative
• 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
1.) Idiomatic Expressions (Idioms)
• A phrase that has a different meaning from the
individual words it contains.
• An idiom is a common expression that cannot be
understood by looking at the individual meaning
of words. Instead, the expression has a
meaning all its own
• Example: the idiom: “to get to the bottom of
something” means to find out the complete truthnot to literally find the bottom of something.
More idiom examples:
• “Drop Everything!” This idiomatic
expression means to stop whatever you
are doing so that you can pay attention to
something else-it doesn’t mean to literally
drop whatever you are doing.
• Who can come up with some popular
• Idiom: When you start a new job, pay
careful attention to what you do to ensure
you don’t get off on the wrong foot.
• Meaning: don’t make a bad mistake at the
beginning and so create a poor impression
• Idiom: Malcolm was excited because he
received the green light on his project.
• Meaning: He received permission to go
ahead with his project
2.) Metaphors
• Say that something is something else, even
though not in a literal sense: It does not use the
words “as”, “like”, or “resembles”
• Example: “I rested in the secure harbor of my
• Why?
• Because it states that my bedroom is a safe
• What is the author of the this sentence trying to
communicate to his/her readers? What is
he/she trying to infer without literally saying it?
• This metaphor communicates the idea that my
bedroom feels like a safe and protected place.
More metaphor examples:
More Metaphor examples:
• “Our stay at the mountain cabin was a little
slice of heaven.”
• Why?
• The mountain cabin wasn’t really heaven,
but being there was so wonderful that the
writer used heaven as a metaphor for the
great time he spent there
• Shakespeare wrote: “All the world’s a
• By comparing or equating the world and
stage, Shakespeare is making the pint that
people sometimes behave as if they were
3.) Similes
• States that something is like something else,
and often contains one of the following words:
• Like
• As
• Similar
• Same
• Resembles
• Similes show that something is similar to
something else, especially something that might
be surprising
• Example: “George’s grandmas is as warm
and sweet as the apple pie she bakes
from the apples that grow in their own
small orchard.”
• “I felt like a soaring eagle in my new tree
• “The snowflakes blew around us like
millions of pieces of microwaved popcorn.”
Simile examples:
• “The idea struck me like a flash lightning.”
• By comparing her ideas to a flash of
lightning the writer is creating a colorful
picture of how suddenly an idea occurred
to her.
4.) Analogy
• Is also a comparison that points out a
resemblance between two seemingly dissimilar
• For example: “Trying to understand a genius is
like trying to get to the core of an onion. There
are just so many layers to peel away, and at
times, the subject is so sharp and biting, your
eyes fill with tears.”
• This analogy helps the reader grasp the
writer’s argument-that understanding a
genius can be a difficult and sometimes
painful experience.
I am hungry as a horse.
You run like a rabbit.
She is happy as a clam.
He is sneaky as a snake.
The girl was a fish in the water.
• Oxymoron - two contradictory terms are placed side by side,
usually for an effect of intensity:
• darkness visible (John Milton)
• burning ice
People often enjoy joking sarcastically by declaring certain
pairs of words to be oxymorons:
The clown was a feather floating away.
military intelligence
• Hyperbole (hy per bo lee) is intentional exaggeration
or overstating, often for dramatic or humorous effect:
Your predicament saddens me so much that I feel a
veritable flood of tears coming on:
To compare something that is not human as if it
had human characteristics. Here, animals,
elements of nature, and abstract ideas are
given human qualities.
Example: Homer refers to “the rosy fingers of dawn”
Other examples of personification
– The stars smiled down on us.
– An angry wind slashed its way across the island.
The flowers danced in the wind.
The friendly gates welcomed
The Earth coughed and choked in all of the
Stan the strong surfer saved several
swimmers on Saturday.
• Repeated consonant sounds occurring at
the beginning of words.
• It is used to create melody, establish
mood, call attention to important words,
and point out similarities and contrasts.
• Example: wondering while we wait for
others to waken.
• Example: “Peter Piper picked a peck of
pickled peppers.”
• Repeated vowel sounds
• Example: The fat cat sat on the mat
Tiny Tommy Thomson takes toy
trucks to Timmy’s on Tuesday.
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Words that mimic sounds. They appeal to our sense of
hearing and they help bring a description to life.
• A string of syllables the author has made up to represent
the way a sound really sounds
• Like:
Princess Kitty will kiss
Timmy T. Tippers’s lips
bzzzz or cock-a-doodle-doo.
Oh no, you say? Here it comes!
The pain may drain Drake, but maybe the weight is fake.
Yeeeeee Ahhhhhhhh
• Creating pictures for the senses (through, e.g., similes or
• Language that appeals to the senses. Descriptions of
people or objects stated in terms of our senses.
Swish swish swish
Chug chug chug!!
Glippp Gluppp Gluppp