Figurative Language

When you use words or expressions with indirect meanings rather than their literal ones, you are using figurative language.


The white house keeps its silence.

The phrase "White house" doesn't actually try to give us the information that the house is white, but it represents the President.

Figurative language can be classified into seven groups:

  • 1. Smile: uses the words "like", "as"

    • "I fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee" Muhammad Ali

  • 2. Metaphor: uses a comparison between two things.

    • My brother’s room is a disaster area.

  • 3. Personification: gives human qualities to non-humans.

    • All the trees cried after her.

  • 4. Hyperbole: exaggeration

    • I was so hungry that I could eat a horse.

  • 5. Onomatopoeia: imitation of sound

    • The bees buzz furiously when you disturb their hives.

  • 6. Idioms: have meanings that cannot be derived from their dictionary meanings.

    • A penny saved is a penny earned.

  • 7. Alliteration: repetition of the same first letters or sounds.

    • Alice’s aunt ate apples and acorns around August.