There are mainly 8 types of figure of speech we will discuss in this post. The list of figures of speech is very long. However, there are only eight that are used most often to embellish the English language. These are the literary tools in the English language that can make the language more effective and engaging. Many of them have existed for 100 years, whereas many of them are being essentially added every day. In this post, we will discuss the main 8 types of figure of speech. However, you need to keep in mind that the types are endless and are used in different forms in the English language. Let’s explore!
What Does Figure Of Speech Mean?
A figure of speech is a word or phrase using figurative language—language that has some other meaning than its usual definition. In other words, figures of speeches rely on implied or suggested meaning rather than a dictionary definition. We express and develop them through hundreds of different rhetorical techniques, from specific types like metaphors and similes to more general forms like sarcasm and slang.
Figures of speech make up a vast portion of the English language, making it more creative, more expressive, and just more interesting!
Types of Figure of Speech
There are countless figures of speech in every language, and they fall into hundreds of categories. Here, though, is a shortlist of some of the most common types of figure of speech:
A simile is a figure of speech that vividly contrasts two separate objects. The aim of a simile is to make an important link in the mind of the reader or listener. One of the most popular types of figurative language is the simile. Similes can be used in a variety of places, including poetry, song lyrics, and even daily conversations.
People often find it confusing to differentiate between Similes and metaphors. The primary distinction between a simile and a metaphor is that a simile draws an analogy using the terms “like” or “as,” while a metaphor clearly states the comparison without using “like” or “as.”
In literature, similes are used to make writing more vivid and strong. Since many widely used phrases or idioms are similes, they can be used to communicate meaning easily and efficiently in everyday speech.
When anyone says, “He’s as busy as a bee,” for example, they are implying that he is incredibly busy, as bees are known to be. “I’m as snug as a bug in a blanket,” someone says, implying that they are very relaxed and warm, or that they are curled up close in bed.
Metaphors are a form of figurative language in which words or phrases have a different meaning than their literal definition. When it comes to metaphors, the literal meaning is often absurd.
One thing is compared to another in a metaphor. It equates those two things for the sake of contrast or symbolism, not because they are exactly the same. If you take a metaphor literally, it will most likely come across as strange. Metaphors are used in art, fiction, and everywhere else where people want to add some flavor to their words.
Famous Examples Of Metaphor
- All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances. – William Shakespeare
- America has tossed its cap over the wall of space. – John F. Kennedy
- Chaos is a friend of mine. – Bob Dylan
- A good conscience is a continual Christmas. – Benjamin Franklin
- You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog, cryin’ all the time. – Elvis Presley
A figure of speech in which an idea or thing is given human characteristics and/or emotions, or is spoken of as if it were human, is known as personification. A personification is a form of metaphor in which nonhuman objects are given human characteristics. By assigning identifiable human actions and feelings to inanimate objects, animals, and even abstract concepts, writers may give them life and motion.
Examples Of Personification
- My alarm shouted at me this morning.
- I like onions, but they don’t like me.
- The sign on the wall insulted my intelligence.
- My phone is not favoring me today.
- That bus is driving too fast.
- My computer works very hard.
What is the definition of hyperbole? A hyperbole is a type of figurative language. Therefore, you should not take hyperbole in its literal meaning. A hyperbole is an overstatement that exaggerates a particular condition for emphasis.
Example of Hyperbole
- I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.
This example of hyperbole exaggerates the condition of hunger to emphasize that the subject of this sentence is, in fact, very hungry.
Imagery is a literary device in which figurative language is used to induce a sensory sensation or to paint an image with words for the reader. Writers appeal to a reader’s senses of sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound, as well as internal emotion and emotions, by using powerful descriptive language and figures of speech. As a result, imagery encompasses not just visual representations or mental memories, but also physical feelings and internal emotions. This one among the list of the 8 types of figure of speech that can evoke your senses deeply.
Examples of Imagery
- The autumn leaves are a blanket on the ground.
- Her lips tasted as sweet as sugar.
- His words felt like a dagger in my heart.
- My head is pounding like a drum.
- The kitten’s fur is milky.
Alliteration is a literary device that represents the repetition of initial consonant sounds in two or more nearby words. Alliteration refers to the repetition of the consonant sound at the beginning of words rather than the recurrence of consonant letters at the beginning of words.
The term “kids’ coats,” for example, is alliterative since the words have different consonant letters that make the same consonant sounds. Similarly, the term “phony people” is not alliterative since, although both words begin with the same consonant, the initial consonant sounds vary. Furthermore, for alliteration to function, alliterative words must be spoken in rapid succession. If there are so many non-alliterative terms between the alliterative words, the literary system isn’t working.
Onomatopoeia is when a word describes a sound and actually mimics the sound of the object or action it refers to when someone says it. Onomatopoeia appeals to the sense of hearing, and writers use it to bring a story or poem to life in the reader’s head. This one is really unique among the list of the 8 types of figure of speech you may see in this post.
There are several onomatopoeia examples for kids that are not only entertaining to tell but also help to clarify and appreciate the definition. The terms that follow explain the noises that different animals make. This includes everything from the many variations of a dog’s bark to a distinct bird’s warble. One of the most common types of onomatopoeia is animal sounds.
The irony is a literary device in which seemingly contradictory claims or situations show a fact that isn’t what it appears to be. In literature, there are several different types of irony. The reader’s perceptions and interpretation of the difference between what “should” happen and what “really” happens in a literary work determine the efficacy of irony as a literary device. This can be in the form of an unforeseen outcome of an event. Alternatively, it can be a character’s something incongruous that is said.
- Telling a quiet group, “don’t everybody speak all at once.”
- Coming home to a big mess and saying, “it’s great to be back.”
- Telling a rude customer to “have a nice day.”
- Stating during a thunderstorm, “beautiful weather we’re having”
The world of figures of speech is fascinating. Besides, reading the examples of these 8 types of figure of speech can surely make you read more about them. If you liked this post, find more in our blog section.